NEW YORK -- Pure domination is the best way to describe right-hander Max Scherzer during the second game of a doubleheader against the Mets on Saturday night. Scherzer put himself in the record books, pitching his second no-hitter of the season as the Nationals blanked the Mets, 2-0.
Scherzer became the sixth pitcher with two no-hitters in the same season (including the playoffs): Roy Halladay (2010) was the last pitcher to have that distinction. Scherzer had a perfect game until the sixth inning, when third baseman Yunel Escobar committed an error on a ground ball off the bat of Kevin Plawecki. After that, Scherzer was untouchable, striking out nine of the next 12 batters he faced. He had a total of 17 strikeouts, a new Nationals record and a personal career high.
ARLINGTON -- The Angels stunned the Rangers with five runs in the top of the ninth inning and rallied for an 11-10 victory on Saturday afternoon at Globe Life Park to keep their American League Wild Card playoff hopes alive.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Friday night's loss put the Twins down. Saturday's? Out. The Twins were officially eliminated from postseason contention with a 5-1 loss to the Royals at Target Field. A Lorenzo Cain roller up the first-base line plated the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and prolonged an ugly frame that effectively ended Minnesota's season.
"A curtain came down so to speak, but it was a pretty good show. Some of the acts were a little sketchy at times and we tried to move onto the next scene, but the body of work was good," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of the season. "They left it out there and we'll be better in the long run for it."
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
What's at stake for NYY, HOU, TEX, LAA tonight
By Chad Thornburg
The Yankees lost both ends of a doubleheader to the Orioles today. A win on Sunday in Baltimore, or an Astros loss vs. the D-backs either tonight or Sunday, would assure the American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser would be played at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Rangers blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning against the Angels earlier today, losing, 11-10. They have already clinched at least a Wild Card spot, but they can still clinch the AL West tonight if Houston loses to Arizona, or with a win over the Angels or a Houston loss on Sunday.
The postseason expansion that arrived in 2012 has brought added drama, added intrigue and, yes, added confusion to the stretch run of the season. With 10 teams in the postseason race -- sometimes on dual fronts (division and Wild Card) -- the math can get a little messy.
Somehow, we've gotten through three seasons of having 10 playoff teams and only required one tiebreaker game -- the 2013 tilt between the Rays and Rangers to decide the second American League Wild Card slot. But plenty of tiebreaker possibilities exist.
LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke earned the National League ERA title and the Dodgers clinched home-field advantage in the NL Division Series by beating the Padres, 2-1, on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, in Greinke's career-best 19th win.
The Dodgers will face the Mets in the NLDS, with Game 1 scheduled for Oct. 9.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates announced the answer to one of the easiest questions in baseball: Gerrit Cole will start against the Cubs on Wednesday night in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser (8 p.m. ET on TBS).
The Bucs entered Saturday needing one win or a Cubs loss to earn home-field advantage for the Wild Card Game, but Pittsburgh lost, 3-1, to Cincinnati shortly after the Cubs edged the Brewers, 1-0. The Cubs hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series. The Pirates' final regular-season games are available to stream free out of market on MLB.TV, presented by AT&T. Blackout restrictions apply.
By Barry M. Bloom and Brittany Ghiroli
BALTIMORE -- If the Yankees are going to clinch home-field advantage in Tuesday's American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, it may have to wait until the final day of the regular season on Sunday.
The Yanks lost both ends of Saturday's split day-night doubleheader to the Orioles, dropping the nightcap, 4-3, when reliever Dellin Betances tossed a wild pitch in the eighth inning that scored Paul Janish with the winning run. Betances had come on to relieve Luis Severino, who threw seven innings of five-hit ball, but allowed Baltimore's first three runs.
Despite a 3-1 loss to the Reds, and the Cubs' 1-0 victory over the Brewers, the Pirates still control their own destiny in the fight for home-field advantage in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, to be played on Wednesday. With a win on Sunday, the Pirates will host the Wild Card Game. The Cubs can only earn home-field advantage in that game with a win and a Pirates loss, by virtue of winning the season series between the two teams.
Both teams will face rookie starting pitchers on Sunday. The Pirates will face Reds right-hander Josh Smith (0-3, 7.22 ERA), with J.A. Happ (10-8, 3.74) taking the hill, while the Cubs will face Brewers right-hander Jorge Lopez (1-0, 5.40), making his second career start. Dan Haren (10-9, 3.67) goes for Chicago. Both games begin at 3:05 p.m. ET and are available to stream free out of market on MLB.TV, presented by AT&T. Blackout restrictions apply.
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers reinstated outfielder Yasiel Puig on Saturday from the disabled list. Puig had been hampered by a right hamstring strain. Puig has been out of the lineup since Aug. 27, and he has played in only 77 games this season due to a variety of injuries.
He's hitting .256 this season with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs. Puig was in the lineup on Saturday but will not be in the starting lineup on Sunday.
Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Fans get chance to say farewell to Yogi Sunday
By Marty Noble
LITTLE FALLS, N.J. -- A final farewell to Yogi Berra and another celebration of his remarkable life will come Sunday at the museum that bears his name on the campus of Montclair State University.
Beginning Sunday at noon ET, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center will open its doors for five hours, affording the public an opportunity to immerse itself in the legend, legacy and likability of the baseball icon who died Sept. 22 and whose death prompted an outpouring of affection comparable to that of any sports figure and to all but a few American luminaries.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The surprising Twins' postseason hopes came to an end on Saturday in the penultimate game of the season, as their 5-1 loss to the Royals ended their late push for the second American League Wild Card spot.
The Twins fell 2 1/2 games back of the Astros -- pending Houston's game against Arizona on Saturday evening -- with one game left in the regular season, closing out their hopes of making the postseason for the first time since 2010. But it was still an impressive turnaround for a franchise that had lost at least 92 games in each of the last four years.
By Gregor Chisholm and Bill Chastain
MLB.com |@gregorMLB |
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tim Beckham hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Rays stole a victory away from the Blue Jays with a 4-3 win on Saturday night at Tropicana Field. The loss dropped Toronto to one game behind Kansas City for the best record in the American League, with home-field advantage throughout the postseason on the line.
Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna immediately got into some trouble in the ninth when he allowed a leadoff double to Grady Sizemore. The rookie reliever battled back by retiring the next two batters he faced, but then ran into some command issues as he walked the next two batters to load the bases. Beckham then delivered the big blow with a single to left on an 0-1 fastball that was up in the zone.
PITTSBURGH -- Reds manager Bryan Price will return to the club next season, general manager Walt Jocketty announced Saturday.
Price has one year remaining on the three-year contract he signed following the 2013 season, when he was promoted from pitching coach to replace Dusty Baker. Speculation about Price's future had loomed throughout the season as Cincinnati struggled. The Reds snapped a 13-game losing streak with Saturday night's 3-1 win over the Pirates to improve to 64-97.
NEW YORK -- On a cold, soggy Saturday in Flushing, home-field advantage continued its slow slide away from the Mets.
Bryce Harper's two-run, upper-deck homer off Addison Reed snapped an eighth-inning tie at Citi Field, where the Nationals scored a 3-1 victory over the Mets in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader. The Mets' loss dropped them a full game behind the Dodgers, their National League Division Series opponent, in the race for home-field advantage. Both teams have two games remaining, one apiece on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon; if they finish with identical records, the Mets hold the tiebreaker due to their 4-3 head-to-head record.
MILWAUKEE -- Earlier in the day, Jake Arrieta was simply "dad," buying his two kids warm jackets to handle the early autumn chill. Friday night, the Cubs right-hander switched gears and became the most unhittable second-half pitcher in Major League history.
The Brewers were no match for Arrieta, who threw six shutout innings in the Cubs' 6-1 victory at Miller Park. It was his final start before the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, which will be Wednesday against the Pirates. If the two teams finished tied, the game will be played at Wrigley Field due to Chicago's 11-8 record vs. the Bucs in head-to-head meetings this season.
MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Twins gave Torii Hunter a one-year contract last offseason, it seemed like the right fielder might have been coming back for one final curtain call.
But a productive 2015 season individually has given Hunter something to think about. Hunter was noncommittal about his future before Saturday's game against the Royals, but he didn't close the door on a return.
Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
64 years of 'Shot Heard 'Round the World'
By Chris Landers |
There are certain moments in the history of the game so iconic, they hardly need context. Just a couple of words is enough: "The Catch," "The Flip," "Rally Squirrel." But maybe most famous of them all is the "Shot Heard 'Round the World," Bobby Thomson's walk-off home run to win the final game of a three-game playoff that gave the Giants the 1951 National League pennant over their archrival Dodgers.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Diehard Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld joined the Mets television and radio broadcasts Saturday to call a few innings of New York's 2-0 loss to Washington, and to reveal some of his favorite moments of the 2015 season.
"It's Nirvana for me," said Seinfeld, a Long Island native and Mets fan since the 1960s. "Obviously, if it ends soon it'll be a little bit of a disappointment. But the team itself has just been fantastic."
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Braves fan's celebration could inspire a town
By Michael Clair |
After Daniel Castro homered to left field in the bottom of the third on Friday night, the ball bounced around for a moment in the stands before rolling to Elijah, a Braves fan from Alabama. And when Elijah got it, well, I guess you could say he got the ALABAMA SHAKES. (Get it?)
NEW YORK -- Despite the reports that he is going to be dismissed as manager of the Nationals, Matt Williams said nobody in the front office has talked to him about his status with the club. He said he is focusing on the final three games of the season against the Mets.
"Nobody has spoken to me at this point and, frankly, it's not a concern of mine right now," Williams said. "We have a guy [Bryce Harper] who is a potential MVP on our team and we have three games to play. That's what I'm concentrating on. That's what I know right now. As of today, I have a job to do a couple of times and we'll go from there."
NEW YORK -- Mets pitcher Steven Matz received an injection Friday to relax the muscles in his upper back, according to manager Terry Collins, with an eye toward throwing 90-100 pitches in an instructional league game Wednesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
As of Saturday morning, the Mets still had little idea if Matz would take to the injection quickly enough to complete that assignment, which Collins considers a prerequisite for making his postseason roster. The Mets' preference is still to have Matz start Game 4 of the National League Division Series if he is healthy, but they will use Bartolo Colon in Matz's place if he is not.
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates had to come from behind to stay ahead. They did that in dramatic fashion Friday night, when Starling Marte's two-run homer in the 12th inning gave them a 6-4 win over the Reds at PNC Park, after the Bucs trailed, 4-0, into the bottom of the third.
Pittsburgh's 11th walk-off win trimmed to one its magic number over the Cubs to clinch the home field for Wednesday night's National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser. Another win by the Pirates or loss by Chicago will make PNC Park the Wild Card site for the third straight October. However, the Cubs own the tiebreaker over the Pirates so the game will be at Wrigley Field if the teams end up with the same record. Saturday's game at 7:05 p.m. ET is available to stream free out of market on MLB.TV, presented by AT&T. Blackout restrictions apply.
NEW YORK -- Longtime Met and current team ambassador Rusty Staub suffered a heart attack en route from Ireland to New York City earlier this week, the Mets confirmed on Saturday. Staub's plane was diverted back to Ireland, where Staub is now "resting comfortably in a hospital," according to a team news release.
"The prognosis is good and Rusty and his family ask that we respect his privacy during this period," the release continued. "He is in the thoughts and prayers of the Mets organization."
PHOENIX -- The Astros hit four home runs in support of left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who recorded his 20th win, as Houston moved a step closer to its first postseason berth in 10 years with a 21-5 rout of the D-backs on Friday night at Chase Field.
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers missed out on a chance to clinch the American League West, as the Angels pulled out a 2-1 victory in the ninth inning on Friday night.
The Rangers need one more win in their final two games, or one more Astros loss, to wrap up the division title. The victory keeps the Angels alive for the second Wild Card spot, although they still need the Astros to lose to the D-backs at least once this weekend.
Blue Jays rally in a hurry, close in on home field
By Gregor Chisholm and Bill Chastain
MLB.com |@gregorMLB |
ST. PETERSBURG -- Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin homered while Mark Buehrle picked up win No. 15 with 6 2/3 innings as the Blue Jays inched closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the postseason with an 8-4 victory over the Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field.
The Blue Jays remained tied with the Royals for the best record in the American League after Kansas City came away with a 3-1 victory over Minnesota. Toronto owns the tiebreaker because of a better head-to-head record, which means its magic number to clinch the top spot is at two with two games to play.
CHICAGO -- The single-season White Sox strikeout record officially moved to Chris Sale's already stacked resume when he fanned James McCann for the first out of the second inning in a 2-1 victory over the Tigers Friday night.
It was a 3-2 slider that caught the outside corner for Sale's third strikeout of the night and his 270th of the season, breaking Ed Walsh's franchise mark of 269 set in 1908. So what were Sale's thoughts immediately after the pitch, with his teammates applauding on the top step of the dugout and the U.S. Cellular Field crowd giving a standing ovation?