On Wednesday, Leonys Martin caught the final out in center field as the Cubs clinched the NL Central with a 5-1 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. On Thursday, Martin again caught the final out, this time robbing Paul DeJong of a game-tying solo home run, eliminating the Cardinals out of NL Wild Card contention in the process.
The Cubs scored first as Ian Happ drilled a solo home run off of Lance Lynn in the first inning. Dexter Fowler tied the game at one apiece in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI ground out. The game remained knotted at 1-1 into the 11th inning until the Cubs’ Taylor Davis knocked in a run with a double.
In the bottom of the 11th, Cubs reliever Jen-Ho Tseng got two quick outs, getting Fowler to strike out and Jose Martinez to fly out to Martin in center. Tseng then threw a 1-1 93 MPH fastball to DeJong, who crushed it to straightaway center field, but Martin tracked the ball and timed his leap to bring the ball back from beyond the fence to seal the Cubs’ 2-1 victory. Tough to have your playoffs dashed in a more heartbreaking way.
The Brewers beat the Reds 4-3 on Thursday, gaining a half-game on the idle Rockies for the second NL Wild Card slot. They’re two games behind with three games left in the regular season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will take on the Nationals in the NLDS.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.