Craig Kimbrel gave up a single, two walks and then a sacrifice fly to Chase Utley, allowing the Phillies to tie the Braves 3-3 in the top of the ninth.
Kimbrel remained in afterwards, but he was pulled after another walk, this one to Hunter Pence, loaded the bases. Kris Medlen, making just his second appearance back from Tommy John surgery, got Michael Martinez to pop-up to end the top of the ninth. Martinez previously entered the game as a pinch-runner for Ryan Howard.
The Braves will send up Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and maybe Jack Wilson in the bottom of the ninth. With the Cardinals up seven, the Braves will almost certainly have to win tonight in order to force a playoff.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.