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Leonys Martin robs Paul DeJong of a game-tying home run, eliminates Cardinals from NL Wild Card race

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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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.