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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 09/02/2011

Leading Off: Giants face must-win series against the Diamondbacks

Game of the day: Arizona at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m. On the strength of their current nine-game winning streak, the Diamondbacks have suddenly jumped six games ahead of the Giants in the National League West. Six head-to-head games remain, but Arizona can all but seal a division title with a strong series this weekend. Left-hander Joe Saunders (9-11) will start the series opener for the Diamondbacks, looking for his first win against the Giants this season in his third time facing them. Right-hander Matt Cain (10-9) is the scheduled starter for San Francisco, aiming for just his second win in his last seven starts.

Other game to watch: Chicago White Sox at Detroit, 7:05 p.m. Chicago sits 5 ½ games behind Detroit in a second-place tie with Cleveland in the American League Central, and 10 of the White Sox’ next 14 games are against the Tigers and the Indians. They will have their work cut out for them Friday when they face Tigers ace Justin Verlander (20-5), who has won eight straight starts and 16 of his last 18. The White Sox have won left-hander John Danks’ (6-9) last four starts, and Danks has a solid 3.00 ERA in two starts this season against Chicago.

Games you should have seen:

New York Yankees 4, Boston 2 . It took nearly 4 1/2 hours, but the Yankees finally finished off the Red Sox to earn a series win and close to within a half-game of first place in the AL East. Russell Martin’s two-run double was the key blow for New York in a three-run seventh inning that also included an RBI single by Eric Chavez. Dustin Pedroia homered for the Red Sox, who will host Texas over the weekend as they try to cling to first place.

Toronto 8, Baltimore 6. Brett Lawrie broke a 6-6 tie with a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Blue Jays past the Orioles. Toronto had squandered a 6-3 lead when Vladimir Guerrerro hit a two-run double to make it 6-5 in the sixth, then added an RBI groundout to tie the game in the seventh. Guerrerro and Matt Wieters both homered for the Orioles, who clinched their 14th-consecutive non-winning season by losing for the 81st time this season.

Stat you should know: 41. Games over .500 (87-46) the Phillies find themselves after their 6-4 win completed a four-game sweep of Cincinnati. Philadelphia was last 41 games over .500 in 1976, and has never been 42 games over in franchise history.

Star of the night: Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols went 4 for 4 with two home runs, five RBI and three runs scored in St. Louis’s 8-4 win over the Brewers. The Cardinals’ three-game sweep brought them to within 7 ½ games of Milwaukee, keeping their dim hopes alive in the NL Central.

Chatter: “Literally never — never in my whole life. I didn’t really know how to go about it. Obviously, you throw it to the glove, but it didn’t happen that way.” — Kansas City pitcher Danny Duffy, who said he had never intentionally walked anybody before Thursday, when he threw a wild pitch in the third inning of an 11-8 win over Detroit trying to do it.

By Greg Schimmel  |  07:00 AM ET, 09/02/2011

Categories:  Baseball Insider

 
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