Hafner Reaches 100 RBIs For Indians
Monday, October 1st 2007, 7:10 am
By: News On 6
Travis Hafner and the Cleveland Indians prepared for their postseason matchup against New York with a tidy victory on the final day of the regular season.
The Yankees also enjoyed a fun one against the Baltimore Orioles.
Hafner drove in two runs to reach 100 RBIs for the fourth straight year and the Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Sunday.
Cleveland won the AL Central and will host New York in Game 1 of their division series Thursday. The Indians will send C.C. Sabathia to the mound to face Yankees right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.
``Obviously, they've got a lot of playoff experience, more than we've seen,'' Hafner said. ``But it's a five-game series and we feel good about our team. We've played pretty well the last month. It's as good as we've played this year. We're excited, we're ready to go.''
At Baltimore, Alex Rodriguez singled in a run in the first inning to raise his major league-leading total to 156 RBIs and the Yankees enjoyed a 10-4 victory over the Orioles.
``Everybody had a pretty good time today,'' said Joe Torre, who made catcher Jorge Posada manager for the day.
In other AL games, it was: Minnesota 3, Boston 2; Oakland 3, Los Angeles Angels 2; Detroit 13, Chicago White Sox 3; Seattle 4, Texas 2; and Tampa Bay 8, Toronto 5.
Hafner, who hit only .228 in May and .218 in June, is batting .373 in his last 17 games with three homers and 13 RBIs.
``He's been hitting the baseball, impacting the baseball the way you expect Travis Hafner to do,'' Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. ``And it couldn't happen at a better time for us.''
It was the final game for Royals manager Buddy Bell, who announced in August that he would step down to spend more time with his family. He finished his time in Kansas City with a 174-262 record.
Aaron Laffey (4-2) went five innings to get the win, giving up four hits and one run. Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his AL-best 45th save.
Hafner put Cleveland in front 2-0 with a two-run double in the third off Luke Hochevar (0-1), the top overall pick in the 2006 draft who was making his first major league start.
Bobby Abreu drove in two runs to help the Yankees finish with a win. Abreu wound up with 101 RBIs, reaching 100 for the fifth straight time and sixth overall.
``That's another year with 100 RBIs. I was looking for that for a week or two,'' he said. ``I just feel happy about it. It's very important. I want to keep the streak of seasons with 100 RBIs. I didn't want to end it.''
The Yankees, like Abreu, closed with a flourish. New York was 21-29 on May 29 before coming back to finish 94-68 _ their fewest wins since 2000.
Chase Wright (2-0) got the win, pitching two innings of relief after starter Sean Henn allowed one run and one hit in three innings.
Brian Burres (6-8) gave up six runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings for the Orioles.
Twins 3, Red Sox 2
Torii Hunter's RBI double started a three-run first inning and visiting Minnesota held on against the Red Sox backups.
Despite the win, the Twins (79-83) are heading home after missing the postseason for just the second time in six years. They finished with a losing record for the first time since they went 69-93 in 2000.
The Red Sox are heading for a first-round playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Angels, starting Wednesday at Fenway Park. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 37th save.
Athletics 3, Angels 2
Kurt Suzuki blooped a game-winning single to shallow right with one out in the ninth inning, and Oakland ended a five-game skid with a win over AL West champion Los Angeles.
Kendry Morales tied it on a solo homer with one out in the ninth for the visiting Angels.
Huston Street (5-2) blew his fifth save, allowing his first earned run in 11 September outings on Morales' fourth homer.
Mike Piazza singled off Chris Bootcheck (3-3) to start the Oakland ninth, then was lifted for pinch-runner Shannon Stewart, who scored the winning run.
Tigers 13, White Sox 3
At Chicago, Magglio Ordonez got three more hits and won his first AL batting title. The 2006 AL champions finished 88-74, while the 2005 World Series champion White Sox went 72-90.
Ordonez raised his average three points to .363 and easily beat out Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.
Carlos Guillen hit a two-run homer in the third for Detroit. It was his 21st of the season and gave him 100 RBIs.
Chicago got three singles off Nate Robertson (9-13), the third one by Jermaine Dye, in the fourth to make it 3-1.
Jose Contreras (10-17) gave up nine hits and five runs in 6 1-3 innings and finished tied for the second-most losses in the majors.
Mariners 4, Rangers 2
At Seattle, Felix Hernandez held Texas to four hits in 8 2-3 innings as the Mariners closed their up-and-down season on a high note.
Hernandez (14-7) yielded to All-Star closer J.J. Putz with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. Putz earned his career-high 40th save.
Jamie Burke hit his first career home run and drove in another with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt.
Devil Rays 8, Blue Jays 5
Carlos Pena hit his 46th homer, Jason Hammel won for the first time in five starts and Tampa Bay finished up another dismal season.
The Devil Rays finished with a 66-96 record, leading the majors in losses for the second straight year and finishing in last place in the AL East for the ninth time in their 10 seasons.
Hammel (3-5) allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings to win for the first time since Sept. 2 at New York.
A.J. Burnett (10-8) gave up seven runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings for host Toronto.