Here’s where we stand:
- The Cubs lost their sixth in a row, which, holy crap, the Brewers won and the Nationals lost, which means that the Nats and Brewers are in a virtual tie in playoff position for the NL Wild Card while the Cubs are a full four back;
- The Cardinals are the ones who beat those Cubs, clinching themselves a playoff slot and putting them up three in the NL Central;
- The A’s and Rays lost and the Indians won, putting the A’s up two and the Rays and Indians in a dead tie for the second Wild Card in the AL;
- The Twins won to give them a four-game lead in the AL Central.
All of which is to say: things are clearing up and it sucks for the Cubs in a major way.
Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Cardinals 3, Cubs 2: What can you say at this point? The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the ninth and, with Craig Kimbrel gassed, ineffective, and probably unhealthy if I had to guess, Joe Maddon let Yu Darvish work into the ninth. He had been fantastic to that point, sure, but I’m guessing you don’t let him start the ninth if you have faith in your pen. In the event, obviously, it did not work. Darvish gave up a leadoff triple to José Martínez and a sac fly tied it up. Another baserunner reached, he stole a base to get into scoring position, and scored on a Paul Goldschmidt double before Maddon came and got Darvish but by then it was too late. The Cardinals complete a four-game sweep at Wrigley. They win their fifth in a row. The Cubs lose their sixth in a row. Just a full-blown disaster for the Cubbies.
Astros 13, Angels 5: George Springer hit three homers and drove in four while he and his mates rattled off 15 hits. All of which was plenty of firepower to back Justin Verlander who won his 20th on the season. In so doing the Astros clinched their third straight AL West crown and, because I am old, I still find it weird to think of the Astros as an American League team. I can’t remember yesterday sometimes but I can recall a baseball status quo from decades ago like I was Bernstein in “Citizen Kane” remembering that girl on the New Jersey ferry back in 1896. She didn’t see me at all, but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.
Brewers 4, Pirates 3: Eric Thames hit two homers and Orlando Arcia went deep as well. A bunch of Brewers pitchers took a perfecto into the seventh in a bullpen game. That didn’t pan out as the Buccos scored three in the eighth, but Milwaukee got the win all the same. Milwaukee has won eight of nine, are 17-4 in September and are, somehow, 10-2 since losing Christian Yelich. I’d call them some sort of juggernaut, team-of-destiny kind of deal, but I also remember how the Rockies rolled into the playoffs once and got bounced early so I no longer believe in momentum heading into October. Still winning your way into the postseason beats backing in.
Yankees 8, Blue Jays 3: Luis Severino struck out nine over five scoreless innings so he seems ready for the postseason. Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and D.J. LeMahieu went deep. This was their last game at home in the regular season but they’re guaranteed to have home field advantage in the ALDS and are a game behind Houston in the loss column to guarantee a home ALCS.
Orioles 2, Mariners 1: Four pitchers were used in the entire game. Who knew it could still be done? The best one here was John Means, who allowed one run and scattered seven hits over seven innings, outdueling Marco Gonzalez who allowed two over seven but only three hits. The runs count more than the hits, though, of course. Chris Davis‘ seventh inning homer put the O’s over. Which means that Chris Davis is still alive. Again, who knew?
Red Sox 7, Rays 4: Nate Eovaldi went six innings, allowing three runs against his old mates, Christian Vazquez hit a three-run homer and J.D. Martinez drove in two to help the Sox to victory. It’s a wraparound affair so they play again today.
Tigers 6, White Sox 3: Willi Castro, Jeimer Candelario, Gordon Beckham and Victor Reyes hit homers for the Tigers to help them avoid the sweep at home. They have three home games left this year. They need to win one of them to avoid tying the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most home losses in a season with 59. Of course the Browns played fewer home games than the Tigers will this year so I suppose they’re still worse regardless of what happens.
Mets 6, Reds 3: The Mets jumped out with a four-run first inning, thanks mostly to a Michael Conforto three-run homer and they’d never trail in the game. J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo went deep later. The Mets had nine hits on the afternoon. Eight went for extra bases not too shabby.
Marlins 5, Nationals 3: The Nats bullpen melted down in the seventh inning, giving up four runs, turning a 3-1 lead into a 5-3 deficit. They seem to be pretty set for the postseason but imagine where they’d be right now if they had a halfway competent pen.
Giants 4, Braves 1: Logan Webb allowed only two hits and one run in six innings to help the Giants avoid the sweep. Even Longoria and Joey Rickard each drove in two. Freddie Freeman left this one with an aggravated elbow and won’t join the Braves for their two-game jaunt to Kansas City. I suppose that elbow is worth watching in the next week or so before the playoffs.
Twins 12, Royals 8: Miguel Sanó homered twice, Nelson Cruz homered too — his 400th on his career — as the Twins jumped out to an early lead, almost blew it, but didn’t, and then poured more on late. The Royals joined Baltimore, Detroit and Miami with 100 losses. It’s only the second time in major league history there have been four 100-loss teams in one season. Viva tanking.
Dodgers 7, Rockies 4: Huyn-Jin Ryu allowed three runs over seven but he also hit a solo homer in the fifth to tie the game up. A Cody Bellinger grand slam later that inning put the Dodgers ahead for good, as they took their 100th game of the season. In so doing they join the Yankees and Astros at 100 wins. It’s the third straight year that there have been three 100-win teams, but it was only the eighth time it’s ever happened in big league history. Again, Viva Tanking.
Rangers 8, Athletics 3: Willie Calhoun hit two homers and Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara all homered as the Rangers salvage one in the three-game series. The Rays loss makes this matter less for Oakland, of course.
Padres 6, Diamondbacks 4: The Snakes took an early 4-0 lead but the Padres tied it up by the sixth. On to extras where, in the bottom of the tenth, Seth Mejias-Brean hit a walkoff two-run shot to give Padres interim manager Rod Barajas his first win. The Dbacks have yet to be officially eliminated but the reaper is almost here.
Indians 10, Phillies 1: Oscar Mercado hit a three-run home and Yasiel Puig hit a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double as the Tribe wins in a romp. The Indians have won six of seven and, though they’ve experienced so many injuries and have had so many stretches of underachievement this year, will not go away and are, once again, tied for Wild Card position in the AL. It’s gonna be a photo finish in that race.