MLB

Streaking Cardinals sweep Padres, Blue Jays extend lead over Yankees

By Sports Desk September 19, 2021

The St Louis Cardinals scored five runs in the first inning and held on to defeat the slumping San Diego Padres 8-7 on Sunday as they solidified their hold on the final National League (NL) Wild Card spot. 

It was the eighth win in a row for the Cardinals (79-69) and their 10th in the last 11 games, all against teams in MLB postseason contention. 

At the conclusion of play on September 7, the Cardinals were 69-68 and three and a half games adrift of the Padres for the second Wild Card position. The teams have now swapped places as the Padres (76-73) have gone 3-8 over the same span. 

Sunday's meeting at Busch Stadium saw Padres starter Jake Arrieta leave the game with a groin strain after recording just one out among the six batters he faced, leaving San Diego a deficit they could not overcome. 

All eight of the Cardinals' starting position players recorded at least one hit as the offence scraped together enough runs to give J.A. Happ and five relievers the cushion they needed to come away with the win. 

The Cardinals have 14 games remaining – seven against the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers and seven against the struggling Chicago Cubs – with a four-game series in Milwaukee set to begin on Monday.

 

Blue Jays expand edge over Yankees

The Toronto Blue Jays also scored five runs in the first inning and that was all they needed in a 5-3 defeat of the Minnesota Twins that left them one and a half games up on the New York Yankees for the final American League (AL) postseason slot. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had three more hits for Toronto and Bo Bichette slugged his 26th home run for the Blue Jays as former Twin Jose Berrios pitched 6.2 innings to earn the win. The Blue Jays (84-65) are 15-3 in September and 19 games above .500 for the first time since August 31, 2016.    

The Yankees fell 11-1 to the Cleveland Indians, surrendering 22 runs the last two games after shutting out Cleveland in Friday's series opener. Gerrit Cole matched a season high in allowing seven earned runs over 5.2 innings as Jose Ramirez went four-for-four and hit his 35th home run for the Indians. 

The Oakland Athletics withstood a late Los Angeles Angels rally to win 3-2 in 10 innings on Jed Lowrie's walk-off sacrifice fly and keep pace in the AL Wild Card race, two games back of Toronto. Solo homers by Yan Gomes and Matt Chapman off Angels starter Shohei Ohtani were the difference until the ninth as Oakland's Frankie Montas limited LA to just one hit in his seven innings. The Angels finally added three more hits in the final frame to score twice and force extras but could not finish the job. 

The New York Mets dealt a blow to the Philadelphia Phillies' playoff hopes by rallying for a 3-2 victory thanks to Dominic Smith's two-run double in the fifth and Jeff McNeil's solo homer in the seventh. With the loss, the Phillies fall to three and a half games back of the Cardinals. 

 

Reds' playoff hopes continue to fade

The Cincinnati Reds lost 8-5 to the Los Angeles Dodgers, marking their eighth successive series defeat as their hopes to earn a Wild Card berth continue to dim. The Reds are 8-16 over that span, which dates to August 24, and with Sunday's loss have fallen three games behind the Cardinals for the final NL postseason spot. 

 

Rosario's cycle helps Braves snap skid

Eddie Rosario hit for the cycle the hard way, saving the single for last as he became the eighth Atlanta Braves player to single, double, triple and homer in the same game. Even better, the Braves' 3-0 win over the San Francisco Giants snapped a four-game losing streak that including three one-run defeats (two of them in extra innings) and a two-run loss. 

 

Sunday's results 

Cleveland Indians 11-1 New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox 8-6 Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 Cincinnati Reds
Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Minnesota Twins
Washington Nationals 3-0 Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers 2-0 Tampa Bay Rays
Miami Marlins 6-5 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago White Sox 7-2 Texas Rangers
Houston Astros 7-6 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 7-1 Kansas City Royals
Chicago Cubs 6-4 Milwaukee Brewers
St Louis Cardinals 8-7 San Diego Padres
Atlanta Braves 3-0 San Francisco Giants
Oakland Athletics 3-2 Los Angeles Angels
New York Mets 3-2 Philadelphia Phillies

 

Blue Jays at Rays

The Toronto Blue Jays (84-65) send Robbie Ray to the mound as they open a critical three-game series at Tropicana Field against the Rays (92-58), who will give top pitching prospect Shane Baz his MLB debut. 

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    "That was my first one [curtain call]," Taylor said. "Anytime you do something cool, when you do it at Dodgers Stadium it makes it that much sweeter.

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    The Dodgers had trailed the Braves 3-1 in last season's NLCS, before triumphing in the next three games and ultimately winning the World Series.

     

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    The 2019 American League run leader hit .269 with 14 home runs and 33 RBIs across 55 games for Atlanta after his trade deadline deal from the Kansas City Royals.

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