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Chris Carpenter hurls shutout and Braves continue collapse as St. Louis captures Wild Card

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Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter defined the term “ace” Wednesday night in Houston, limiting the Astros to just two hits over nine scoreless innings. He issued only one walk and struck out 11 batters, throwing 76 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

Every member of the St. Louis starting lineup netted a hit as the Redbirds rolled to an 8-0 victory.

Down in Atlanta, the failures continued.

The Braves took a 3-1 lead in the third inning courtesy of a two-run Dan Uggla homer and starter Tim Hudson yielded just two runs over 6 1/3 innings, but the Phillies kept their regular position players active throughout and rallied to a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth against red-faced rookie closer Craig Kimbrel.

Over an hour later, in the top of the 13th, Hunter Pence blooped an RBI single to the right side of the infield for the go-ahead run. The Braves could not counter, and ended their historic collapse with a 4-3 loss.

What a night for Major League Baseball. And what a night for the Wild Card champion Cardinals.

St. Louis will open the NLDS on Saturday against the Phillies. The Diamondbacks will face the Brewers.

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.