UPDATE: The Cardinals added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh and now lead it 8-1. Yadier Molina delivered an RBI double off Guillermo Mota while Pete Kozma later had an RBI single against Jeremy Affeldt.
10:33 PM: The Cardinals are starting to pour it on against the Giants in Game 4 of the NLCS. After tacking on two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cardinals just added two more in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-1 lead.
Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma reached on singles against George Kontos before Adam Wainwright sacrificed them over to second base. Jose Mijares then replaced Kontos and gave up a two-run double to Jon Jay. Matt Carpenter flew out against Mijares before Guillermo Mota got Matt Holliday to pop-up, so Jay ended up being stranded on second base, but the Cardinals have built themselves a pretty commanding lead.
Adam Wainwright is back out there for the top of the seventh inning. He’s been excellent aside from the solo homer by Hunter Pence in the second inning, allowing just four hits while striking out four and walking none.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.