Matt Carpenter
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The Cardinals still have a shot at the postseason

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The Cardinals are still in the mix for a playoff spot after downing the Cubs 2-1 on Saturday. In order to secure their spot in the NL Wild Card Game, however, they’ll need the Giants to rally from a disheartening 3-1 defeat on Friday and win their final two games against the Dodgers, who currently have a 1.5-game leg up in the wild card race.

Things were looking up for the Cardinals on Saturday following one of Miles Mikolas‘ strongest starts of the year. The right-hander went eight strong, limiting the Cubs to just one run and five hits and striking out six of 28 batters faced. With the win, his record now sits at 18-4, a personal best over four seasons at the major-league level.

At the plate, the Cubs were the first to strike after a routine pop-up deflected off of Yairo Munoz‘s glove in the first inning, giving Ben Zobrist just enough time to sprint around the bases and score the first run of the afternoon. Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Paul DeJong singled in the tying run in the fourth and Matt Carpenter came through with the winning run in the fifth after lacing a line drive up the middle. In the ninth, Carlos Martinez shut the door with a five-pitch inning, retiring Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo on back-to-back groundouts and inducing a game-ending fly out from Javier Baez.

While the scales could still tip in the Cardinals’ favor this weekend, there’s also the potential for chaos. Should the Cardinals and Dodgers tie for the second wild card slot, they’ll play a tie-breaker in St. Louis to determine which team will face off against the no. 1 wild card holder… which might be the Brewers or the Cubs, depending on how the rest of the weekend shakes out.

After Saturday’s win, Cardinals skipper Mike Shildt had only this to say:

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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