The Giants are in. The Reds are in. Now we wait for the rest of the postseason picture to fully develop.
The Cardinals took a step toward the National League’s second Wild Card spot on Saturday at Wrigley Field, bouncing back from a crushing Friday loss to capture a 5-4 extra-innings victory over the Cubs. Adam Wainwright was shaky, yielding four runs in seven frames, but the bullpen registered zeros and Jason Motte earned his 39th save.
Carlos Beltran hit his 30th homer — a game-tying shot in the top of the ninth inning that sent a charge through the stadium filled mostly with red. The Cardinals’ big free agent acquisition is now batting .286/.375/.446 in September after slumping through August.
St. Louis enters play Sunday with a 2 1/2-game lead over the Brewers in the Wild Card hunt.
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Athletics 9, Yankees 10 (14 innings)
Cardinals 5, Cubs 4 (10 innings)
Brewers 4, Nationals 10
Orioles 9, Red Sox 6 (12 innings)
Marlins 3, Mets 4
Twins 0, Tigers 8
Dodgers 0, Reds 6
Braves 8, Phillies 2
Pirates 1, Astros 4
Indians 3, Royals 5
Blue Jays 5, Rays 11
Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 7
Rangers 0, Mariners 1
White Sox 2, Angels 4
Padres 4, Giants 8
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.