Here’s where we stand:
- The Cardinals beat the Cubs in pretty dramatic fashion to take a four-game lead over them in the NL Central;
- That Cubs loss, plus the Brewers’ win, puts Milwaukee a game ahead of Chicago for the second Wild Card;
- The Phillies lost too, dropping them four back. The idle Mets are three and a half out;
- The Indians and the Twins won, keeping Minnesota’s margin in the AL Central at four while Cleveland’s win pulls them into a tie with the idle Rays for the second Wild Card. Both trail Oakland by two.
Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Cardinals 5, Cubs 4: Some early dramatics here, as Anthony Rizzo made a wildly unexpected return to the Cubs lineup despite spraining his ankle on Sunday and wearing a walking boot all week. He homered too, blasting one out in the third inning to tie things up. Some late dramatics happened as well, with the Cubs mounting a three-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth to tie things up at four and force extra innings. But then another guy who wasn’t supposed to be there last night — Matt Carpenter, who entered the game after Kolton Wong strained his hamstring — came up big as well. Carpenter homered in the top of the tenth to put St. Louis back on top and they held on in the bottom half to win. The homer came off of Craig Kimbrel, making his first appearance since coming off the injured list. Just a gut-punch of a loss for the Cubs. And one that knocks them out of playoff position for the first time since April.
Brewers 5, Padres 1: Jordan Lyles only went four and two-thirds here but he only allowed one run and his bullpen held San Diego scoreless the rest of the way. Ryan Braun doubled in a run, Lorenzo Cain homered and Trent Grisham hit a little league homer that, in the scorebook, went down as a double and then a two-base error that allowed him to come home to score. Milwaukee also got a run a strikeout/wild pitch combo, which suggests to me that the Pads weren’t exactly playing the most crisp baseball possible. In any event, the Brewers keep on winning. Indeed, they have won 12 of 14 and 15 of 19. With this one they’re in sole possession of the second Wild Card.
Yankees 9, Angels 1: New York clinches the AL East with an easy win over the Angels. Masahiro Tanaka allowed only one run over seven while D.J. LeMahieu, Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier all hit bombs. It has been an impressive as hell season for the Yankees, overcoming injuries and hitting moon shots all damn year.
Braves 5, Phillies 4: Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th homer and is now three steals away from joining the 40/40 club. Austin Riley went deep as well and a two-run Freddie Freemen single put the Braves ahead in this one for good. Atlanta’s magic number is now one. One is the magicest number that you’ll ever do. Two can be as magic as one, it’s the magicest number since the number one.
Mariners 6, Pirates 5: Seattle led 4-0 after the top of the second, the Pirates tied it at four in the bottom half and took a one-run lead in the fifth. The M’s tied it via an Austin Nola RBI single in the seventh and went ahead in the top of the 11th when Nola grounded into a run-scoring double play. It might not have been a run-scoring double play if Pirates second baseman had flipped the ball to the shortstop for a normal 4-6-3 deal. Instead he threw the ball to first to retire the batter then got the guy on first base in a rundown and he was eventually tagged out. All that nonsense let Shed Long score from third with may more time than if he otherwise would’ve had. I’m pretty done thinking hard about the Pirates this year — my mind simply can’t take that kind of misery — so go ask one of your Pennsylvania friends why they do what they do.
Red Sox 5, Giants 4: Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts each had two RBI singles in the first two innings, scoring five runs in all. Eduardo Rodríguez made that hold up, going six, allowing only an unearned run and striking out ten. The Giants threatened big in the ninth, loading the bases and scoring one on a bases-loaded walk but Brandon Workman managed to strike out three guys amidst that damage to allow the Sox escape.
Blue Jays 8, Orioles 4: The outcome doesn’t matter all that much here as these are two bad teams playing out the string, but check this home run robbery from Austin Hays, which came after the Jays hit back-to-back homers:
I suppose preventing back-to-back-to-back homers is good and there’s no denying that it was a great catch, but to see Hays’ reaction you’d think the O’s just clinched the pennant or something.
Indians 7, Tigers 0: Mike Clevinger pitched six scoreless and Franmil Reyes homered as the Tribe pulls into a tie with Tampa Bay for the second Wild Card. Cleveland finishes the season 18-1 against the Tigers, winning the final 17 matchups against them this year. Imagine if Detroit actually fielded a major league team.
Twins 8, Royals 5: Nelson Cruz hit two homers and drove in five and Miguel Sanó and Mitch Garver each went deep as well as the Twins came from behind twice in this one before pulling away. They had fallen behind the Yankees in team home runs earlier in the evening but by the end of the night were back on top with 293 on the year. More importantly, they lead the AL Central by four with nine games to go.