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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.

Mookie Betts, Javier Baez leading off the All-Star lineups

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I can’t imagine what it’s like to fill out the lineup card for an All-Star team. Most of the guys are 1-4 hitters on their own teams, but you gotta slot most of them someplace lower. Egos are probably a consideration. Strategic stuff. “Which top of the order or middle of the lineup hitter is batting eighth?” is both a difficult and thankless question.

Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch have to do it anyway, and today they released the All-Star lineups. Seeing Bryce Harper batting sixth and Manny Machado batting seventh is just not part of the usual baseball experience:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Mike Trout, CF
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Jose Ramirez, 3B
6. Aaron Judge, LF
7. Manny Machado, SS
8. Jose Abreu, 1B
9. Salvador Perez, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Javier Baez, 2B
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH
4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
5. Matt Kemp, LF
6. Bryce Harper, CF
7. Nick Markakis, RF
8. Brandon Crawford, SS
9. Willson Contreras, C

Not that this is gonna hold for long what with all of the substitutions.