The Brewers die a very appropriate death

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It has to be over for the Brewers now. They just lost 2-1 to the Reds, dropping them four back in the wild card race pending the outcome of tonight’s games.  It was a thin hope they had before — probably no real hope — but even the optimists have to jump ship now.

The thing about that loss: what killed them today in Cincinnati is what has killed them all year: The bullpen.

Up 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, Jonathan Axford came in to lock it down.  He retired the first two batters, striking them both out. Then gave up a homer to Todd Frazier, a single to Jay Bruce and a walkoff triple — triple! — to Dioner Navarro.

There’s no real shame in blowing a 1-0 game. It’s a tough save as far as those things go.  But when you think of just how many games the Brewers’ pen blew this year — and realize that it’s way, way more than the margin by which they will fall short of the wild card — you just have to kick yourself if you care about their fortunes.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.