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Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 09/20/2011

Leading off: Dodgers’ Kershaw tries to stop Giants’ eight-game winning streak

Game of the day: San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Even with an eight-game winning streak entering this week’s series at Dodger Stadium, the Giants need a lot of wins and a little luck in the season’s last nine days if they hope to catch the Diamondbacks (N.L. West) or Braves (N.L. wild card) and earn a playoff berth. But with the pitching matchup on tap for the series opener, this one might have a playoff atmosphere anyway. Giants ace Tim Lincecum — a two-time Cy Young Award winner — has struggled to keep his record above .500 this season despite a 2.59 ERA. The right-hander is 13-12 overall but 12-2 when the Giants score at least two runs to support him. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (19-5) has two starts left to state his case for this season’s N.L. Cy Young Award. The left-hander has thrived against the Giants this season, going 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five starts, including three wins opposite Lincecum.

Other game to watch: Tampa Bay at New York Yankees, 7:05 p.m. The Yankees would like to keep winning and quickly punch their ticket to the postseason, while the Rays continue to put the heat on the Red Sox in the American League wild-card race. Tampa Bay — fresh off taking three of four in Boston — sends right-hander Wade Davis (10-9) to the Yankee Stadium mound for his first start against New York this season. Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova (15-4) may not have won his last two starts, but he still hasn’t dropped a decision since June 3.

Games you should have seen

Florida 6, Atlanta 5: Marlins shortstop Emilio Bonifacio kept hope alive with a two-out infield single off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and second baseman Omar Infante followed it up with a two-run walk-off home run. It was Infante’s sixth home run of the season and the seventh blown save for Kimbrel, who has established a new rookie record for saves already this season. With the loss, Atlanta’s lead in the National League Wild Card race dropped to just 2.5 games over St. Louis.

Toronto 3, Los Angeles Angels 2 (10 innings): Toronto’s Mike McCoy slid home safely with the game-winning run on Adam Lind’s 10th inning grounder. McCoy reached on an error and advanced to third on a single and a fielder’s choice. The Angels — who fell five back of Texas in the American League West with the loss — brought right fielder Torii Hunter into the infield in an effort to cut down McCoy at the plate. Playing between first and second, Hunter fielded Lind’s grounder, but his throw home was off the mark, ending the game.

Stat you should know: 9 Runs scored by Seattle in the top of the third inning of Monday’s rain-shortened 12-6 win at Cleveland. The sometimes-punchless Mariners set a season-high for runs in an inning thanks to a big frame from young slugger Mike Carp. He got the inning started with an RBI double and closed the scoring with a 455-foot grand slam off reliever Chad Durbin. Six hits, two walks and one Cleveland error fueled Seattle’s offensive outburst.

Star of the day: Yankees right-hander Mariano Rivera cemented his legacy as the top closer in baseball history when he struck out Minnesota first baseman Chris Parmalee to finish a 6-4 win for New York on Monday afternoon and earn his record-breaking 602nd career save. Rivera, who passed Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list, pitched a perfect ninth for his 43rd save of the season. The 41-year-old’s 602 saves have come in 674 chances.

Chatter: “Thank God it’s over, too. Because I was getting a little uncomfortable.” — Rivera on passing Trevor Hoffman into the top spot on baseball’s all-time saves list with his 602nd. The veteran, who tied the mark Saturday in Toronto, blew a kiss and doffed his cap to the home crowd after ending the win with a strikeout. He accepted congratulations from both teams and remained alone on the diamond for a short time as the Yankees faithful continued to cheer.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 09/20/2011

 
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