If you missed the end of this one, don’t feel bad. This was one for the die-hards.
After the start of last night’s game was delayed two hours and 20 minutes due to rain, the Brewers and Cardinals ended up playing a four-hour and 30-minute marathon which didn’t end until 3:05 AM ET.
The Brewers grabbed a two-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth, but Yadier Molina tied it up with a two-run shot off Jim Henderson. The bullpens then matched zeros all the way until Ryan Braun launched a solo homer off Lance Lynn in the top of the 13th to give the Brewers a 5-4 lead. John Axford worked around a walk to Lance Berkman to secure the save.
Braun’s solo shot gave him 38 homers for the year, surpassing his previous career-high of 37 from last year. As for the Brewers, well, they aren’t dead yet. Winners of 14 out of their last 18 games, they now sit at 68-70 on the year, six games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. They’ll try to keep chipping away over the next two days.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.