Alex Bregman drove in the Astros' runs and Charlie Morton worked into the sixth inning of a 3-2 win over the Red Sox. He did not allow a run in 1 1/3 very important innings of a game where starting pitcher Rick Porcello was shelled and the Red Sox suddenly had the New York Yankees breathing down their necks for the AL East title. If they ever lost that game, they'd have to start someone else in NY on Monday in the AL East tie-breaker, with the loser hosting the Twins in the wild card round.
The Astros came in one game behind the Cleveland Indians for the league's best record, a deficit that was in reality two games because Cleveland owned the tie-breaker thanks to a 5-1 season series win, and remained one game back after the Indians' 10-1 win over the White Sox on Friday. The Cardinals took the first game 4-2 as Howie Pollet held the Dodgers to two hits, a homer and an RBI single by Howie Schultz. But with the Fenway Park crowd rooting for a rally, Rafael Devers grounded out to end it.
Four losses in five games later, we have reached DEFCON 2. For the Astros, Jose Altuve is 6-for-14 (.429) and Jake Marisnick 4-for-12 (.333) with two homers off Pomeranz, who is 1-2 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 games, six starts, against the Astros lifetime.
While the AL East is still up for grabs, so is the final NL wild-card spot.
The victory reduced the Rockies' magic number to one as they closed in on the post-season for the fourth time in their 25 seasons of play.
The Sox have been in sole possession of first place since the end of play on August 1, but the AL East is the only division still undecided, and last night suggested quite a gap between the East and West. The Phillies are 35-37 since the All-Star break, but they own the National League's second-worst record at 64-95 and have clinched last place in the NL East.
Cubs 5, Reds 4: Ian Happ slugged his 24th home run, a three-run shot in the eighth inning that helped Chicago to a come-from-behind victory over Cincinnati. The current Red Sox roster only has 43 at-bats against McCullers, with 13 hits, for a.302 average.
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Working on regular rest, Sabathia (14-5) pitched a four-hitter, struck out six and didn't walk anyone over 5 2/3 shutout innings in what could be his last game in pinstripes.
Lorenzen (8-4) took the loss after working two-thirds of an inning as the Reds (67-93) dropped their ninth in 10 games.
From there, Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout for his 22nd save. Ehire Adrianza added two hits, including a double that went off the top of the left-field wall, narrowly missing a home run for Minnesota, which is already set as the American League's second wild-card team. If they win with rookie German Marquez pitching against the Dodgers, or Milwaukee loses at St. Louis, the Rockies claim a berth and will play at Arizona in the NL wild-card game Wednesday. Four relievers combined to blank Boston on one hit.
Vogt was 2-for-4 for the Brewers, delivering their first three runs. He'll carry a 5.68 ERA in the month of September into his final start of the season Friday night.
The concept of a bullpen game in the postseason may seem far-fetched but so is expecting to win with Porcello or Fister.
A Yankee for nine seasons, the 37-year-old left-hander will become a free agent after the season.