Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Three

NLCS Game 3 Live Blog: Brewers vs. Cardinals

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11:20pm: Thanks for hanging out. Game 4 of the NLCS is scheduled for Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET.

11:19pm: McGehee also chases a high fastball from Mote. Game over.

11:18pm: The Brewers will pinch-hit for Lucroy with Casey McGehee.

11:16pm: Betancourt chases high heat. Two down.

11:14pm: Hairston grounds out to shortstop. One down.

11:11pm: Furcal strikes out. The Brewers will send Hairston, Betancourt and Lucroy to the plate in the top of the ninth inning, down one run. The Cardinals can take a 2-1 NLCS lead if Motte closes it out.

11:07pm: Punto strikes out to open the frame, then Fielder makes a nice play on a tough hop to retire Descalso. The Cardinals are back to the top of their order, but they have two outs here in the eighth.

11:03pm: Motte strikes out Weeks, hitting 99 mph with his out-pitch. To the bottom of the eighth…

11:00pm: The Cardinals bring in closer Jason Motte for a four-out save.

10:57pm: Rzep fans Fielder. TBS’ Ron Darling calls his last slider the “biggest pitch Marc has ever thrown.”

10:54pm: Freese has been replaced by the more defensively adept Daniel Descalso.

10:53pm: Lynn stays in the game and retires Braun on a groundout to second base. The Cardinals will bring in left-hander Marc Rzepczynski to face Fielder, then probably a right-hander to face Weeks.

10:49pm: Freese grounds into an inning-ending double play. The Cards hold a mere one-run lead and the Brewers have Braun, Fielder and Weeks set to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Huge inning for Milwaukee.

10:46pm: Molina flies out to right field. Freese, who is 3-for-3, steps to the dish.

10:44pm: The Brewers bring in Takashi Saito, who plunks Berkman with his first delivery.

10:39pm: Hart also flies out to center, then Kotsay flies to right. Lynn sets ’em down in the top of the seventh.

10:35pm: Morgan flies out to center field. More boos from the St. Louis faithful.

10:33pm: Lance Lynn enters and will face pinch-hitter Nyjer Morgan. Big boos from the crowd.

10:30pm: Holliday strikes out again with two batters on. He’s 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored so far in this NLCS Game 3. The Cardinals still lead the Brewers 4-3 as the top of the seventh inning arrives.

10:26pm: Pujols is intentionally walked. The pressure is on Holliday yet again.

10:24pm: Jay flies out to left field. Pujols steps in with a man on second base.

10:20pm: Furcal bunts Craig over to second base. Jay and Pujols are coming up.

10:18pm: Allen “Wrench” Craig singles to left field as a pinch-hitter to open the frame.

10:17pm: Gallardo is also finished after five innings. He allowed eight hits and walked five, but the Cardinals were only able to score those four first-inning runs. The right-hander tossed 95 pitches (48 strikes). The Brewers’ first reliever of the night will be veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins.

10:14pm: Salas quickly retires all three batters in the top of the sixth. To the bottom half we go.

10:12pm: The Redbirds’ first reliever is Fernando Salas.

10:10pm: Carpenter is done for the night. He allowed six hits and three earned runs over five innings, issuing three walks against three strikeouts. Carp threw 89 pitches, 48 of which went for strikes.

10:08pm: Gallardo strikes out Punto. Let’s head to the sixth.

10:04pm: Berkman pops up on a first-pitch swing to open the bottom of the fifth, then Molina is retired on a fly ball in foul territory. But Freese stays hot with his third hit of the night, a single to right field.

9:59pm: Carp fans Weeks to escape the danger. To the bottom of the fifth we go.

9:55pm: Fielder is issued an intentional pass after Carpenter falls to a 3-0 count.

9:53pm: Light rain has begun falling at Busch Stadium.

9:51pm: Braun flies out to the right-field warning track, but Kotsay tags and advances to second base.

9:50pm: Hart strikes out, Kotsay walks. The Brewers have a runner on with Braun and Fielder coming up.

9:44pm: Holliday chases high heat and strikes out. Gallardo escapes a big jam. The Cardinals lead 4-3 as we head to the top of the fifth inning. Carpenter is at 67 pitches and Gallardo is up to 82.

9:42pm: Pujols advances to second base on a ball in the dirt.

9:40pm: Gallardo intentionally walks Pujols, bringing up Holliday with runners at first and third.

9:39pm: Jay swings on the first pitch and grounds into a double play. Ugly at-bat.

9:38pm: Furcal walks. Gallardo has now thrown 71 pitches, just 35 for strikes.

9:35pm: Carpenter leads off the bottom of the fourth inning with a hot shot to shortstop, where Betancourt couldn’t make a play. The Cardinals now have the top of their batting order coming up.

9:31pm: Gallardo grounds out to end the top of the fourth.

9:29pm: Punto snags a hard-hit line drive from Lucroy for the second out of the fourth inning. Betancourt was almost doubled up at first base, but Pujols couldn’t keep his back leg on the bag.

9:26pm: Holliday makes a sliding catch on a Hairston pop-up for the first out of the fourth inning, then Betancourt reaches when Freese can’t complete a diving stop at the hot corner. One on, one out.

9:21pm: Punto grounds out to second to end the threat. This NLCS Game 3 heads to the fourth inning. The Cardinals still lead 4-3, but Gallardo appears to be settling in faster than Carpenter.

9:18pm: Berkman grounds out to second base to open the bottom of the third, then Molina flies out to center field. But Freese keeps the inning alive with a ground-rule double over the head of Braun.

9:12pm: Weeks grounds out to end the top of the third. The Cardinals will bat with a one-run lead.

9:11pm: Furcal turns an impressive double play on Fielder, who broke his bat on contact.

9:10pm: Braun bloops a broken-bat single to right. He’s 5-for-9 in this series and 14-for-27 this postseason.

9:08pm: Kotsay, who made two bad mistakes in the first inning, just sent a no-doubt home run into the right field bullpen at Busch Stadium. The Brewers are down only one run with Braun and Fielder coming up.

9:07pm: Pitch counts through two innings: Carpenter 45, Gallardo 47.

9:05pm: Holliday grounds out to short. The Cards still lead 4-2 as we move to the third inning.

9:03pm: Albert advances to second base on a wild pitch by Gallardo. Holliday is at the plate.

9:01pm: Pujols remains ridiculously hot, punching a single through the right side of the infield.

8:59pm: Furcal and Jay are both retired on groundouts. Two quick outs for Gallardo.

8:55pm: Hart strikes out looking to end the frame, but the Brewers are back in this. Carpenter is suddenly up to 45 pitches and is leaving balls up in the zone. We head to the bottom of the second.

8:52pm: Gallardo scores Hairston with a sacrifice fly. Two outs. Cardinals 4, Brewers 2.

8:51pm: Lucroy flies out to right field. Brewers have runners at first and third, one out.

8:47pm: Betancourt adds another single, scoring Weeks from second base. Cardinals 4, Brewers 1.

8:46pm: Hairston also singles to right. The Brewers have life again here in the second inning.

8:43pm: Weeks laces an inning-opening line drive to right field. Up comes Hairston.

8:40pm: Carpenter grounds out to end the frame. Gallardo threw 33 pitches, 16 for strikes.

8:38pm: Punto is given an intentional walk after the count climbs to 3-0. Carpenter is now batting.

8:36pm: Freese launches a ball to deep right field that gets over the glove of Hart. Holliday scores, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead in the first inning. The Brewers seem a bit shell-shocked at the moment.

8:35pm: Molina grounds into a double play, but another run crosses the plate. Cards lead 3-0.

8:32pm: Berkman draws another walk. The bases are loaded, no outs. Molina is coming up.

8:28pm: Holliday draws a walk. There are still no outs. Gallardo looks to be in serious trouble.

8:26pm: Pujols golfs a ball to the base of the left-center field wall, scoring Jay. Cardinals lead 2-0.

8:23pm: Furcal advances to second base on a ball in the dirt, then scores when Kotsay can’t come up with a diving catch in center field. Jay is awarded a double and an RBI. He’s at second base.

8:20pm: Furcal leads off the Cardinals’ half of the inning with a single up the middle.

8:16pm: Fielder flies out to center field, and Kotsay is caught creeping too far off the second base bag for a double play. That’s what we call a momentum-changer. To the bottom of the first inning…

8:14pm: Carpenter plunks Braun in the arm after beginning the at-bat with two consecutive strikes. Fielder is coming up, looking to do a little early damage with one out and two men on.

8:12pm: Kotsay draws a one-out walk.

8:09pm: Carpenter retires Hart to lead off the game after the at-bat goes to a 3-2 count. We’re expecting a pitcher’s duel, but expecting anything in baseball’s postseason is often foolish.

******************

The sky has looked threatening all day long in the St. Louis area, but the city has avoided rain drops thus far and this NLCS Game 3 is going to start on time. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

We’ll be live-blogging the action all night, even if play needs to be stopped for thunderstorms (or squirrels). It’s Brewers vs. Cardinals. The seven-game series is tied 1-1. Here are your starting lineups:

   MILWAUKEE BREWERS            ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Corey Hart, RF            1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Mark Kotsay, CF           2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF            3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B        4. Matt Holliday, LF
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B          5. Lance Berkman, RF
6. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B    6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS   7. David Freese, 3B
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C        8. Nick Punto, 2B
9. Yovani Gallardo, RHP      9. Chris Carpenter, RHP

Updates will read bottom-to-top. Consider the comments an open thread. Let’s have some fun.

Report: Chase Utley’s family received death threats from Mets fans after controversial slide

DENVER, CO - APRIL 22:  Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up onthe on deck circle as he prepares to take an at bat against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 22, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Dodgers 7-5. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Even before Chase Utley broke former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada‘s leg with a slide during the playoffs last year, the second baseman was persona non grata in New York. Utley, playing for the rival Phillies, made the right field corner his — literally — with his performance at Citi Field. He was booed during his introduction at Yankee Stadium before the 2009 All-Star Game, prompting him to say audibly, “Boo? F— you.”

The slide put New York’s hatred of Utley into overdrive. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports that after Utley broke Tejada’s leg, his family received death threats from angry Mets fans. In order to protect himself and his family, Utley didn’t stay at the team hotel after Game 2 of the NLDS.

His teammate, Clayton Kershaw, wasn’t happy with the way Utley was treated. He said, “Chase was playing the game the way he’s always played. Obviously you never want anybody to get hurt. The game being in the playoffs, and all that stuff, magnified everything. But there’s been a whole lot of slides a lot worse than that over the course of baseball [history] . . . Some of the stuff he had to go through, it wasn’t fair.”

The Mets host the Dodgers for a three-game series beginning on Friday. As McCullough notes, the two clubs didn’t get into any retaliation business when they played each other in Los Angeles earlier this month.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday evening’s action

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15:  Joe Ross #41 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on May 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Early Thursday afternoon treated us to a pair of games: Diamondbacks/Pirates and Marlins/Rays. We have an abbreviated slate from the late afternoon onwards, with only six contests.

Let’s use this opportunity to talk about Nationals starter Joe Ross, who will take on the Cardinals in the opener of a four-game home series beginning at 7:05 PM EDT tonight. Ross will oppose Mike Leake.

With Stephen Strasburg off to a great start and having signed a seven-year, $175 million extension, and with Max Scherzer having authored just the fifth nine-inning 20-strikeout game, it’s understandable why Ross hasn’t made headlines. The brother of Padres starter Tyson Ross, Joe has put up a 2.70 ERA with a 37/15 K/BB ratio in 46 2/3 innings spanning eight starts thus far. Only 19 qualified starters across baseball have put up a better ERA than Ross.

Ross was rated one of baseball’s top-100 prospects entering last season and he proved why, as he pitched well in 13 starts and a trio of relief outings following his promotion on June 6. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, featuring a fastball that averages 92 MPH. He compliments that with a slider and a change-up. Ross has good command of the strike zone and mixes up his pitches well enough to keep hitters off balance. He turned 23 years old last Saturday, so he has plenty of time to get even better.

The Cardinals, though, will be a hard match-up for Ross. They’re averaging 5.43 runs per game, a mark bested only by the Cubs (5.61) and one which is more than a full run per game above the league average (4.28).

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia), 4:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Mike Leake) @ Washington Nationals (Joe Ross), 7:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman) @ Houston Astros (Lance McCullers), 8:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez) @ Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy), 8:15 PM EDT

Major League Baseball issues a statement about the Padres national anthem thing

SAN DIEGO - APRIL 06:  The grounds crew works on the field before the start of the game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres during Opening Night at Petco Park on April 6, 2007 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
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I figured the last word on the Padres National Anthem thing came the other day when everyone seemed to apologize to everyone else and ask for fired people to be rehired and all of that stuff. But no, it appears that there is more.

A coda anyway. From Major League Baseball which apparently used its Department of Investigations to suss everything out about the whole affair. And here you thought all they did was walk a questionable ethical line when investigating drug use.

Anyway, here is their statement. One more false ending to this thing and I’ll feel like we’re in a sequel to the movie “Clue.” Which is massively underrated, by the way. Tim Curry’s second-best movie, easily, and Lesley Ann Warren’s absolute best.

The statement:

Major League Baseball announced today that it has completed its investigation into the unfortunate events of Saturday, May 21st, when members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus had been scheduled to perform the Star-Spangled Banner before the Padres’ “Pride Night” home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park.  The review, which was conducted by MLB’s Department of Investigations, included a dozen interviews with individuals who were involved in the situation.

The Department of Investigations has concluded that the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus has performed the Star-Spangled Banner multiple times before a Padres game; that Saturday’s regrettable situation was a product of human error; that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that the lead entertainment supervisor was involved in a car accident on Friday night and thus was unable to work on Saturday and handle his typical responsibilities; that employees involved in the matter were handling new duties with which they were insufficiently familiar; and that the employees involved had no malicious intentions and, in fact, universally relayed contrition for how the incident unfolded and the adverse impression that it created.

MLB received the full cooperation of Padres management, which expressed its deepest apologies.  MLB believes that the Padres’ efforts to remedy the situation, including its invitation to the Chorus to return to a future game to perform the National Anthem, are appropriate and has every expectation that the Club’s longstanding record of inclusion will be evident in the future. 

 

A-Rod off the disabled list and back in the Yankees lineup

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez watches his RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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Alex Rodriguez has been activated from the disabled list and will be batting fifth in his return to the Yankees lineup this evening.

A-Rod has been on the DL since May 4 with a strained right hamstring. He was off to a slow start this year but began to slowly heat up just before going down with the injury. Overall he’s He’s hitting .194 with five home runs in 20 games.

It’s hard growing old. Partially because of the injuries. Partially because jerks remind you of things like the fact that you went 3-for-5 with a solo homer in a loss against the Royals on the day the Dodgers starting pitcher for tomorrow night’s game was born.

Anyway, welcome back A-Rod.