Andy Dirks

Trailing by six runs in ninth, Tigers score six, win in 12

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Trailing 6-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers rallied for six runs against the White Sox bullpen to send the game into extra innings. They pushed across a bases-loaded run for the walk-off win in the 12th inning, reducing their magic number over the Indians in the AL Central to two.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello was solid through six innings, matching White Sox starter Chris Sale with zero after zero. In the top of the seventh, however, the White Sox pushed across two runs on a Jeff Keppinger double and a Gordon Beckham single. The Sox continued to tack on runs. Paul Konerko put his team up 3-0 in the eighth with an RBI single. In the ninth, Bryan Anderson hit a two-run double to center, and Marcus Semien followed up with an RBI ground-rule double to bring the score to 6-0.

White Sox reliever Nate Jones, who relieved Sale in the bottom of the eighth, took the hill in the bottom of the ninth looking for a quick exit against the division rival Tigers, but the Tiger offense had other ideas. Torii Hunter led off with a triple and promptly scored on Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single to center. Prince Fielder singled to put runners on first and second and no outs for Victor Martinez. Martinez doubled to right, knocking in Cabrera to make it 6-3. With Jones still in the game, Andy Dirks drove a fly ball to right-center for a three-run home run, putting the Tigers within a run at 6-5.

Finally, Jones was replaced with Addison Reed. Unfortunately for the Sox, Reed couldn’t find the strike zone. Omar Infante walked, then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Reed then walked Alex Avila and Austin Jackson to load the bases. Hunter lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to push across the tying run. Reed then walked Cabrera to re-load the bases before being pulled for lefty Donny Veal. Veal retired Fielder to escape the jam.

In the 12th, walks continued to hurt the White Sox bullpen. Don Kelly, pinch-hitting for Cabrera who left with an injured groin, walked to lead off the inning against Jake Petricka. Fielder grounded out, but moved Kelly to second in the process. Petricka intentionally walked Martinez, then unintentionally walked Dirks. Finally, Infante reached on an infield single to push across Kelly for the walk-off 7-6 victory. Quite an exhilarating final four innings, as you can see in the game graph on FanGraphs.

Red Sox set a new major league record with 11 strikeouts in a row

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox works the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.

The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.

For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dodgers clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.

The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.

Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.

It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.