As the calendar rolls toward fall, contenders are increasingly looking to their clutch role players to propel them through the dog days of summer and into the playoffs.
That's certainly the case in Atlanta, New York and Tampa Bay, where Omar Infante, Evan Longoria and Robinson Cano put up monster weeks at the plate to walk away with Bank of America's Player of the Week honors and put their teams one step closer to October.
Cano, who split the American League award with Longoria, is certainly doing his part for the Yankees, especially with Alex Rodriguez currently on the shelf. The Yankees' second baseman continued his MVP-caliber campaign this past week while sliding into the cleanup spot for the injured star.
"We've been without Alex, and Robbie's stepped up," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's stepped up all year for us."
Cano led the league with 13 RBIs, hitting .333 on the week. The 27-year-old also homered in three consecutive contests against Detroit. On Sunday, Cano finished his week with a flourish against the Mariners, tallying a career-high six RBIs.
"It's a good week," Cano said of his last few games. "Just forget about what happened in the past and keep moving forward."
But if Longoria has anything to say about it, the Yankees won't be moving too far ahead in the weeks to come. Longoria batted .393 last week, posting three multihit games and three multi-RBI games. In a big series against the AL West-leading Rangers, Longoria shined, leading his club to a sweep.
"He had a great series," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We couldn't stop him from the first game on."
Longoria knows that hot streaks usually follow slumps.
"I go into slumps or times where I'm getting pitches I know I can hit, but I'm not hitting them," Longoria said. "Then you get into a series like this last one, where it seems like every time I swing the bat, I'm hitting it on the barrel and it's finding a gap or finding a hole. It's just one of those parts of the game where you've got to take them as they come."
With Braves third baseman Chipper Jones out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, the Braves' offense was in need of a boost last week, and Infante -- the National League honoree -- delivered.
The All-Star infielder took over at second base while Martin Prado was on the disabled list and has remained there since Prado moved to third in Jones' absence.
While hitting .433 on the week, Infante carried the Braves' offense. Infante, 28, tallied four multihit games and is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak. The versatile infielder also clubbed three home runs, including two that came in Sunday's blowout of the Cubs.
"I was surprised and I'm appreciative," Infante said through an interpreter. "I wasn't keeping up with what I was doing every single day. I was just trying to play hard every day and help the team win."
Bailey Stephens is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.