Prince Fielder

Brewers finish sweep of Cardinals to move into first place

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Prince Fielder homered in the bottom of the sixth to give the Brewers their first lead of the day, and Milwaukee held on from there, winning 4-3 to complete a three-game sweep of the Cardinals.

With the victory, the Brewers moved a half-game up on St. Louis for first place in the NL Central.

Shaun Marcum was the winner in this one, staying in to pitch seven innings after originally giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.  The Brewers couldn’t touch Jake Westbrook until the bottom of the sixth, when they scored all four of their runs.

Kameron Loe and John Axford pitched scoreless innings after Marcum came out.

The Brewers moved into sole possession of first place in the NL Central for the first time since July 9, 2009.

Fielder’s homer was his eighth in 10 games and 19th overall.  He’s one behind Matt Kemp for the NL lead in homers.  He is tops with 58 RBI, with Kemp two back in second place.

The slumping Cardinals fell out of first place for the first time since May 19.  They were swept in Milwaukee for the first time since April 30-May 2, 2007.

The good news for them is that they’re about to get a couple of key players back.  Kyle McClellan (hip) will return from the disabled list to start Wednesday’s game against the Nationals, and Matt Holliday is expected to be activated on Thursday.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.