Much of the focus has been on the American League Wild Card, and understandably so given that the Red Sox are involved, but the Wild Card race in the National League is becoming more intriguing by the day.
The Cardinals won again last night, 4-2 over the Phillies in 11 innings, giving them their third straight victory and their eighth in their last nine. Meanwhile, the Braves were hammered by the Mets 12-2 at Turner Field.
The surging Cardinals now find themselves 3 1/2 games back of the Braves for the Wild Card and just three games back in the loss column. Just to show you how quickly things have tightened up here, the Braves held an 8 1/2 game lead on September 5.
So here’s the deal: The Braves’ magic number to clinch the Wild Card remains at nine. The Braves have 11 games left on the schedule while the Cardinals will play 12 more. I don’t want Craig to be miserable or anything, but some late-September drama would be a lot of fun.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig‘s one-game suspension has been rescinded. Instead, he will make a charitable donation. The alternative “punishment” was agreed to by Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association.
Puig was suspended one game two weeks ago after flipping off some hecklers at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Puig showed remorse after the game, saying, “I stooped to their level.”
Entering Tuesday night’s action, Puig was batting .251/.331/.458 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI in 287 plate appearances.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre picked a good time to hit his 450th home run. With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Beltre took the first pitch he saw from closer Cody Allen for a ride, sending it into the left field seats at Progressive Field to break the tie.
The Rangers would go on to win 2-1. Beltre finished 2-for-4. He now has 2,969 career hits, leaving him 31 shy of becoming the 31st member of the 3,000 hit club.
On the season, Beltre is hitting .303/.373/.562 with five home run sand 22 RBI in 102 plate appearances.