Reds beat Pirates on grand slam from Ramon Santiago; Cardinals’ magic number down to one

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Thanks to some rare power from Ramon Santiago, the Cardinals’ magic number is down to one to clinch the National League Central. Santiago hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning this afternoon to give the Reds a 10-6 win over the Pirates at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The game was a thrilling back-and-forth affair. The Reds scored three runs in the first inning off Francisco Liriano before the Pirates chipped away and eventually took the lead in the fifth inning on a two-run single from Neil Walker. The Reds immediately tied things up on an RBI single from Ryan Ludwick, but the Pirates took the lead right back in the seventh with an RBI single from Andrew McCutchen and an RBI triple from Walker. It didn’t last long, as Todd Frazier hit a game-tying two-run homer off John Holdzkom in the bottom-half of the frame. Both bullpens then kept things in check until John Axford issued a leadoff walk to Todd Frazier to begin the bottom of the 10th.

While Axford retired the next batter Devin Mesoraco on a line out to center field, he then allowed a single to Chris Heisey and walked Ryan Ludwick to load the bases. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle turned to Bobby LaFromboise to face pinch-hitter Brayan Pena, who flew out to shallow right field for the second out. However, Santiago followed with the improbable game-winning blast over the left field fence. It was his second career walk-off home run and his first ever grand slam.

With the Pirates now 1 1/2 games back in the National League Central, the Cardinals can clinch the division tonight with a win over the Diamondbacks. If it happens, the Cardinals figure to scratch Adam Wainwright tomorrow while the Pirates will likely hold Gerrit Cole back for Wednesday’s Wild Card game against the Giants.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”