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Rockies capitalize on Brewers’ loss to secure a wild card spot

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Thanks to the Cardinals’ timely 7-6 win over the Brewers on Saturday, the Rockies will return to the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Brewers fell out of postseason contention despite an impressive run on Saturday, putting up five runs in the third inning to secure a two-run lead over the Cardinals.

Orlando Arcia got things started for the Brewers with a sac fly in the second, but was left stranded when Brett Phillips flew out to end the inning. Things weren’t so easy for Cardinals’ rookie Luke Weaver in the third inning. Ryan Braun clubbed an RBI double, his 27th of the season, while Shaw collected an RBI single and scored on Domingo Santana‘s first-pitch, two-run blast:

Leading 6-0 in the bottom of the third, it looked like the Brewers were poised to hang on for at least another day (barring a Rockies’ win on Saturday night, that is). The Cardinals had other ideas. Paul DeJong and Jose Martinez cut Milwaukee’s advantage down to two runs with a pair of doubles, and Stephen Piscotty returned in the eighth to tie it up with a two-run single.

Harrison Bader took care of the rest, plating Piscotty for the go-ahead run while Juan Nicasio effectively quashed the Brewers’ attempt to rally in the ninth. Following the Cardinals’ win, the Rockies will advance to the wild card tiebreaker against the Diamondbacks next Wednesday. The winner will go up against the Dodgers in the NLDS, who entered Saturday’s contest against the Rockies with a league-best 102-58 record.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.