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Cardinals walk off in 10th inning of Game 4 to send NLDS to rubber match

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The Cardinals rallied late twice against the Braves’ bullpen, in the eighth and 10th innings, to stave off elimination and send the NLDS to a decisive Game 5.

Dallas Keuchel started on short rest for the Braves and wasn’t great, surrendering three solo home runs including two to Marcell Ozuna. At least they were solo homers. Paul Goldschmidt and Ozuna hit back-to-back solo shots with two outs in the first inning and Ozuna followed up with another one in the fourth.

Keuchel gave up the three runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings. Luke Jackson got the final two outs of the fourth inning as the bullpen carousel started powering up.

The Braves got on the board against Dakota Hudson in the third inning when Ozzie Albies hit a sacrifice fly. Hudson — and the Cardinals’ defense — faltered in the fifth. Dansby Swanson hit a one-out double, moved to third base on a passed ball, and scored when Matt Carpenter misplayed an Adam Duvall grounder. Later in the inning, with the Braves trailing 3-2, Albies smacked a two-run homer just over the fence in right field to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina kept the Cardinals’ hopes alive in the bottom of the eighth as Goldschmidt hit a one-out double and Molina poked a single to right field to bring home the game-tying run, knotting the game at 4-4.

The Braves, throwing away a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the seventh, wasted a leadoff ground-rule double by Ronald Acuña Jr. off of Carlos Martínez in the ninth.

In the 10th inning, Braves manager Brian Snitker brought in Julio Teheran. Teheran, you may recall, was left off the original NLDS roster and only added when Chris Martin went down with an oblique injury. He showed why on Monday.

Kolten Wong led off with a ground-rule double to left field. Goldschmidt was intentionally walked to bring up Ozuna. Ozuna hit a grounder to the left of the mound. Teheran, a good defensive pitcher, quickly got to the ball and fired a perfect strike to second base for the force out, but Ozuna was able to just barely beat the throw to first base, putting the winning run on third base with one out. Molina, the reason the Cardinals were still alive, lifted a deep fly ball to left field. Duvall put all of his might behind his throw home but Wong scored easily for the walk-off 5-4 win.

The NLDS will be decided on Wednesday in Atlanta. That game is scheduled for a 5:02 PM ET first pitch and will be broadcast on TBS.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: