Hells Bells: Trevor Hoffman notches 600th career save

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Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Cardinals tonight to pick up his 600th career save in front of the home crowd in Milwaukee.
Hoffman lost the closer job after struggling mightily early this season and his ERA is still north of 6.00, but he’s quietly pitched well for the past few months while picking up the odd save here and there.
After the third out was recorded on a ground ball to 40-year-old shortstop Craig Counsell the Brewers reacted as if Hoffman had thrown a no-hitter, which says a lot about how well-liked he is in the clubhouse. In a postgame interview, he thanked the fans and his teammates for sticking with him.
He may get another save chance or two down the stretch, but it might be nice to end his career with an even number like 600. Mariano Rivera at 555 is the only other pitcher in baseball history with more than 480 saves and no other active pitcher is over 420.
Not bad for a former minor league shortstop who converted to pitching at age 23 because he couldn’t hit and hasn’t cracked 90 miles per hour with his fastball in at least a decade.

Video: Dexter Fowler robs Asdrúbal Cabrera of three-run homer

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Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler made a critical catch in the eighth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against the Nationals. With the Cardinals leading 5-1, the Nationals were threatening with runners on first and second with one out against lefty Andrew Miller. Asdrúbal Cabrera worked a full count before serving a 3-2 outside slider to right field. The ball had home run distance, but Fowler tracked it, leaped at the wall, and robbed Cabrera of a three-run home run.

Carlos Martínez relieved Miller, getting Victor Robles to ground out to end the inning. The Cardinals would go on to win 5-1.

The game had playoff implications on both sides. The win bumped the Cardinals’ hold on first place in the NL Central to 2.5 games while the Nationals’ lead over the Cubs and Brewers for the first NL Wild Card shrinks to just one game.

The Nationals will close out their final road trip of the regular season with three games against the Marlins before hosting the Phillies for five games and the Indians for three. The Cardinals, meanwhile, begin their final road trip of the regular season with four against the Cubs followed by three against the Diamondbacks before closing out the season at home with three games versus the Cubs.