The battle for the National League Central wages on.
Cincinnati fell to St. Louis in the first game of this important weekend series on Friday night at Great American Ball Park but rallied back to even up the three-game set on Saturday, tagging Cardinals rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons for four runs on one walk and six hits en route to a 4-2 victory.
Jay Bruce hit a solo blast to deep right field in the bottom of the second inning — his 10th home run of the year — then Devin Mesoraco added a solo shot to right-center in the bottom of the fifth. The Reds tacked on two more runs in the sixth and Aroldis Chapman earned his 16th save in his ninth (with the help of an iffy final-out call at first base).
The Reds — along with the Pirates — are three games back of the Cardinals in the division standings. The Reds and Cards will wrap up their series this evening on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Angels 9, Red Sox 5 (Game 1)
Rangers 3, Blue Jays 4 (18 innings)
Marlins 2, Mets 1 (20 innings)
Pirates 6, Cubs 2
Twins 4, Nationals 3 (11 innings)
Indians 4, Tigers 6
Athletics 1, White Sox 4
Yankees 3, Mariners 1
Orioles 0, Rays 8
Astros 2, Royals 7
Phillies 3, Brewers 4
Cardinals 2, Reds 4
Padres 4, Rockies 2
Angels 2, Red Sox 7 (Game 2)
Braves 2, Dodgers 1
Giants 10, Diamondbacks 5
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.