Here’s where we stand:
- The Brewers won, and are now one game behind the idle Cardinals in the NL Central with three games left to play for each club. St. Louis’ magic number to win the division outright is three, meaning any combination of Cardinals wins and Brewers losses that add up to three clinches it for them by Sunday. Anything less than a Cards sweep of the Cubs opens up at least the possibility of a tiebreaker game in St. Louis on Monday or an outright Brewers division title;
- The Nationals win keeps them ahead of Milwaukee by one for the top spot in the Wild Card hunt. They still have home field advantage in the Wild Card game to play for, be it against the Brewers or the Cards;
- The Indians lost and the Athletics won. The Rays were idle. So, in the AL Wild Card, the A’s lead the Rays for the top spot by one and the Indians trail the Rays for the second spot by two. Cleveland’s goose is almost cooked;
Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Brewers 5, Reds 3: The Brewers fell behind early on an Aristides Aquino home run but a bases-loaded and bases-clearing double from Orlando Arcia in the fourth put them up 3-1. The next batter up, Ben Gamel, doubled in Arcia to make it 4-1. Manny Piña doubled home a run the following inning and the Reds could only score two more the rest of the way. That’s 18 of 20 for Milwaukee.
Twins 10, Tigers 4: Jonathan Scoop’s homer in the seventh gave the Twins 300 dingers on the year. Willians Astudillo‘s homer in the eighth made it 301. Crazy. Scoop drove in three on the day, Astudillo had four hits and drove in two and Jake Cave knocked in a couple himself. The Twins, basically, went with a Triple-A lineup the day after their champagne and beer celebration and still housed the Tigers. As I said last week, relegation would not be the worst thing we could do for baseball, even if it’s impossible logistically.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 5: The big controversy here was when Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzmán intentionally avoided catching a foul ball in the ninth inning that would’ve retired Chris Owings in order to let his pitcher, Mike Minor, record his 200th strikeout on the year. Which he did. Apparently that was bad sportsmanship or the elevation of personal statistics over competitive integrity or what have you. Which I couldn’t care less about. Hey Alex Cora: I bet if this game mattered and either of these teams were playing for anything, Guzmán doesn’t mess around like that, so try sucking less next year and being in the playoff hunt and this kind of thing won’t happen.
As for the game itself, eh, pass. I’m not gonna devote mental energy to a game in which someone gave a Red Sox player a gift — another chance to hit off a pitcher who, frankly, didn’t have much yesterday, rather than record the out — and they acting like some horrible injustice had befallen them. Go read the gamer if you wanna know the gory details.
Dodgers 1, Padres 0: Clayton Kershaw tossed six shutout innings and four Dodgers relievers completed the blanking. A Max Muncy RBI single was the game’s only scoring. Kershaw is 13-0 in his last 19 starts against San Diego. He hasn’t lost to the Padres since June 21, 2013. He owns them so thoroughly that he should be the guy who picks the Padres next manager.
Giants 8, Rockies 3: Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubón homered and Dubón knocked in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth to break a 2-2 tie and give the Giants a lead they’d not relinquish. Giants starter Tyler Beede had a no-hitter going into the fourth but strained his oblique and had to leave the game. Which sucks for sure, but if you have to get injured it’s best to (a) get the sort of injury which does not typically require surgery; and (b) do it in what would’ve been your last start of the season regardless.
Nationals 6, Phillies 3: Washington completes a five-game sweep of the Phillies, who have mailed it in on such a grand scale this week that they should investigate purchasing a bulk postage meter. Stephen Strasburg allowed one over six and struck out ten. Michael Taylor and Asdrúbal Cabrera homered. Bryce Harper went 0-for-4 and struck out three times so I imagine he heard even more heckling last night than he did the night before. Here’s hoping, if he did, that people left his wife and child out of it because, Jesus people, what the hell is wrong with you? Fandom can be so toxic sometimes.
Pirates 9, Cubs 5: The Cubs have lost nine straight times. Nine times? Nine times. Melky Cabrera, José Osuna and Pablo Reyes each had three hits for the Pirates. Joe Musgrove pitched a decent six and when he was taken out of the game gave his cleats to a kid in the stands. That’s pretty spiffy. Cubs starter José Quintana gave up seven runs — five earned — on 12 hits. He finishes his year having allowed 23 runs in 13.1 innings in his last four outings. That’s not spiffy.
Marlins 4, Mets 2: Zack Wheeler made what could very well be his last start as a Met, went eight innings and, as auditions for free agency go, it was a good one for seven innings. In those first seven frames he allowed two hits and blanked the Marlins. He even [all together now] helped his own cause by singling in the Mets first run to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh. Mickey Callaway should’ve taken him out after that but instead let him go out there in the eighth where he promptly gave up dingers to Tyler Heineman and Curtis Granderson and saw his 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 hole which tagged him with the loss. Austin Dean would add an insurance run on a homer in the ninth.
White Sox 8, Indians 0: Losing two in a row to the White Sox when your back is up against the wall in the season’s final days is no way to live, but don’t let me question the Indians’ life choices. Here they faced a rookie pitcher making his first start in what was a bullpen game for the Sox and got four-hit. Indians pitchers surrendered not one but two homers to Daniel Palka of all people. The same Daniel Palka who entered the game 7-for-77 on the season. When it’s not meant to be it’s not meant to be. Maybe not having your number one and number two starters miss the vast majority of the season do to injury would’ve been a good thing for Cleveland. Maybe spending a bit more for some more depth last winter would’ve helped. As it is now, they have to sweep the Nationals on the road this weekend and hope for the Rays to get swept by the Blue Jays for their season not to end on Sunday.
Angels 4, Astros 3: Can’t believe I’ve gone all year and sixteen matchups between these two teams before mentioning, as I do most years, that “Angels and Astros” sounds like the title to some 1990s magical realism film from Miramax or something about a young girl with a rich fantasy life that takes her, sometimes literally, to the heavens. The girl is played by some newcomer who enchants the critics but then disappears. Her mother is, I dunno, Juliette Binoche? But I digress.
The Angels won this via a walkoff E-3 by Kyle Tucker that allowed Kaleb Cowart score on a two-out Andrleton Simmons grounder in the bottom of the 12th. Tucker had homered earlier but all things end badly, otherwise they’d never end. Wait, that’s a total non-sequitur quote of a 1980s movie. Am I going back in time?
Athletics 3, Mariners 1: An era ends as Félix Hernández, once the game’s best pitcher and the best pitcher in Seattle Mariners history, makes what is almost certainly his final start with the Seattle Mariners. He pitched into the sixth, giving up three runs and taking the loss, but no one really cared about that. They cared about saying goodbye to a man who gave them 15 seasons and 419 usually electrifying performances. And when he was lifted in the sixth inning, they roared for him:
Not a dry eye in the house.