2008 first-round pick Ike Davis hit a long grand slam in the bottom of the eighth Thursday as the Mets beat the Cardinals 17-11 in early Grapefruit League action.
The bomb made up for an error the previous half-inning that helped the Cardinals score four times and get within one run of the Mets in 11-10.
It was already the second error for Davis this spring, as he failed to get in front of a grounder today. On Tuesday, he let a throw get by him at first base. Davis, though, has gone 4-for-6 with two walks at the dish as he attempts to give the Mets something to think about at first base. Daniel Murphy is currently penciled in at the position.
The game also featured homers from David Wright and the Cards’ Ryan Ludwick. It was a sloppy contest, with Omir Santos at one point getting credit for a two-run single after a 35-foot popup down the first-base line. Of the 10 pitchers used by the teams, just one, the Mets’ Sean Green, is slated to begin the season in the majors, and he was actually charged with four runs — two earned — in two-thirds of an inning.
– Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia turned in two scoreless innings apiece as the Phillies and Yankees faced off in a much-hyped World Series rematch.
OK, that’s probably stretching it. The Phillies won 3-2 after both teams scored two runs in the ninth. Wilson Valdez had the infield single in the bottom of the ninth that ended it.
– The Astros beat a Nationals split-squad 15-5 behind a pair of homers from Hunter Pence. He also doubled, and he finished with four RBI.
– The Marlins topped the Nats’ other split-squad 10-4, with a couple of prospects playing key roles. Bryan Peterson homered and scored three times, while first-base hopeful Logan Morrison tripled in three runs.
– The Rays, avenging a 12-2 loss on Wednesday, edged the Orioles 6-5, with Sean Rodriguez hitting his second homer in as many days. Orioles starter Brian Matusz fanned four, but those were the only outs he recorded as his pitch count caused him to be lifted in the second. He allowed two runs, one of which was earned.
– Young catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a tiebreaking homer in the top of the ninth as the Jays prevailed over the Tigers 9-7. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t televised, because it would have been really nice to see how Tigers pitchers Rick Porcello (perfect for 2 IP), Max Scherzer (3 ER, 6 H in 2 IP), Dontrelle Willis (0 R, 2 K in 2 IP) and Armando Galarraga (4 ER in 1 IP) looked in their spring debuts.
Also notable is that Austin Jackson, who is slated to lead off for the Tigers, had a very nice game, with a single and two walks in three plate appearances.
– The Braves defeated the Pirates 4-2, even though Jason Heyward went 0-for-2 with a HBP to send his average plummeting from .667 to .400. Then again, he still outshined fellow top prospect Pedro Alvarez, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts for the Pirates.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.