Monday, September 12, 2011
Yankees come back to increase AL East lead
With their 6-5 come-from-behind win against the Angels Sunday, the New York Yankees increased their lead in the AL East to 3 ½ games in front of the Boston Red Sox. Mariano Rivera picked up his 40th save this season and 599th of his career. He's now one save away from joining Trevor Hoffman as the only players with 600 saves.
Prior to Sunday, the Yankees’ biggest lead in the AL East at the end of any day’s play this season was three games and their largest deficit was also three games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no major-league team has ever gone through an entire season without either leading or trailing in its division (or league before 1969) by more than three games at the end of any day’s play. Since 1900, no other team had done that as far into a season as this year’s Yankees.
The Tampa Bay Rays completed a sweep of the Red Sox after B.J. Upton blew the game open with a grand slam in the fifth inning. With Justin Upton having hit a bases-loaded homer on July 23, Elias also tells us the Uptons became the tenth pair of brothers to hit grand slams in the major leagues in the same season. The Molinas are the only other brothers to do that over the last ten seasons (Bengie and Jose in 2004, Bengie and Yadier in 2010). All three DiMaggio brothers (Joe, Dom and Vince) hit grand slams in 1941.
After 14 straight wins when Vance Worley has started, the Philadelphia Phillies finally lost Sunday with Worley on the mound, 3-2 to the Brewers. According to Elias, the 14 straight wins matched the longest such single-season streak for a rookie pitcher in the Live Ball era. The 1970 Reds won 14 straight behind Wayne Simpson, as did the 1944 Cardinals behind Ted Wilks.
Finally, in our nation's capital, Ian Desmond, Rick Ankiel and Ryan Zimmerman homered back-to-back-to-back as Washington beat the Astros 8-2. It was the first time the Nationals accomplished that feat since July 2009. Stephen Strasburg lasted just three innings and got another no-decision, the shortest start of his career.