Fernando Tatis Jr. has logged on.
Wil Myers, too.
On Thursday in Game 2 of their Wild Card Series, the Padres fell behind the Cardinals 4-0 early for the second straight day. This time, they stormed back to even the series.
Tatis struck out with two on in the third inning and again with the bases loaded in the fifth, adding to his LOB woes in the series. He made up for it in a big way in the sixth, though, lining a hanging Giovanny Gallegos slider over the left field wall for a three-run homer to cut the Cards’ lead to one. Manny Machado then made it back-to-back with a game-tying shot.
Tatis wasn’t done.
Myers gave the Padres their first lead of the series when he led off the bottom of the seventh with a blast off of Daniel Ponce de Leon. Tatis came back up with two outs and went deep again, this time to the opposite field. An epic bat flip followed.
It was Myers’ turn again in the eighth, when he launched one over the boards in center for a two-run shot to give the Padres some breathing room. They needed it, as it turned out, after Paul Goldschmidt led off the ninth with a solo shot before Trevor Rosenthal eventually escaped a jam to strand the tying run on base.
Amazingly, it’s only the second time in postseason history that a team has had two players with a multi-homer game in the same game. The other time it happened was back in 1932, when some guys named Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig did it (or, as Myers calls them “great players”).
It’s also the first time in postseason history that a team has hit five home runs from the sixth inning on in a game. They didn’t even need the ninth inning to accomplish that feat.
The momentum certainly would appear to be on the Padres’ side here, whatever that’s worth. Unfortunately for them, they remain without Mike Clevinger (elbow) and Dinelson Lamet (biceps) and they needed 13 2/3 innings out of their bullpen in the first two games. When asked after Thursday’s game who was going to pitch in Game 3, manager Jayce Tingler said "I have no idea."
Youngster Luis Patino hasn’t appeared in either of the first two games and seems like a good bet to eat some innings Friday. The Cardinals will counter with Jack Flaherty, a guy who was their presumptive ace entering the season but who had some rocky outings down the stretch. The winner of Game 3 gets the Dodgers next Tuesday at Globe Life Field.
Braves Leave Reds Red-Faced
The Reds were one of baseball’s hottest teams coming into the postseason. That’s usually a good recipe for October baseball.
Turns out, you need to score some runs to make a playoff run.
The Reds were shut out for the second straight day Thursday in Atlanta, falling to the Braves 5-0 as they were bounced from the postseason. They managed just two singles over nine innings in Game 2 after picking up 10 singles and a double over 13 innings in Game 1.
It’s the first time in Major League history that a team was eliminated from a playoff series without scoring a single run (not including one-game series). The Reds’ 22 scoreless innings to open a postseason set a new record, breaking a 99-year mark set by the 1921 New York Giants.
Cincinnati’s starting pitchers did more than enough. After Trevor Bauer’s masterpiece in Game 1, Luis Castillo followed up in Game 2 with seven strikeouts across 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Aside from an uncharacteristically shaky outing from closer Raisel Iglesias on Thursday, the Reds’ pitching was nearly spotless.
Unfortunately, their offense did next to nothing and it didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. The Reds were dead last in the majors this season with a lowly .212 average. It’s just the third time ever that a team finished last in hitting and reached the postseason. They ranked 28th in baseball with just 4.05 runs per game.
As for the Braves, they rode some brilliant pitching of their own and managed to scrape together enough offense.
Following Max Fried’s seven shutout frames in Game 1, rookie Ian Anderson spun six shutout innings while fanning nine batters in Game 2. The Braves’ bullpen was also up to the task with nine shutout frames over two games, notching 14 strikeouts against just three walks.
Atlanta’s offense didn’t do much in the series aside from two-run homers from Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall in the eighth inning of Game 2. They did get three hits – including an RBI double – and a stolen base from superstar Ronald Acuna on Thursday.
Anderson’s superb showing Thursday was a continuation of his outstanding six-start run for the Braves after he was called up in late August. The rookie put up a microscopic 1.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 41/14 K/BB ratio across 32 1/3 innings.
Atlanta’s rotation was hit hard by injuries this season between Mike Soroka’s torn Achilles and Cole Hamels missing basically the entire year with arm issues. Many were surprised they didn’t go out and acquire a big starter at the deadline (no, Tommy Milone doesn’t count), and that’s fair. However, Fried and Anderson at least look like they’re capable of matching up with just about anyone if they’re firing on all cylinders.
The Braves will take on the winner of the Marlins-Cubs series. They were rained out Thursday and will now play on Friday and Saturday (if necessary).
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The Athletics entered Thursday’s Game 3 against the White Sox having lost an MLB-record nine straight winner-take-all games. That streak did not reach 10.
The A’s overcame an early three-run deficit Thursday to beat the White Sox 6-4 to advance to the ALDS against the Astros. It’s Oakland’s first ALDS berth since 2013 and their first playoff series win since 2006.
We didn’t find out until Thursday morning that the A’s were starting Mike Fiers in Game 3. The veteran right-hander didn’t last long, getting yanked after allowing one run on five hits and one walk over just 1 2/3 innings. Yusmeiro Petit followed him and was worse, yielding a couple runs on three hits across 1 1/3 frames.
Oakland’s bullpen took care of business from that point forward, permitting just one run over six innings of work. Liam Hendriks was back out there one day after throwing 49 pitches in Game 2, and he nailed down the victory with a scoreless frame, striking out three and touching 100 mph in the process.
The White Sox also waited until Thursday morning to announce their starter Dane Dunning. In reality, though, Dunning was just an opener, as he was pulled after allowing a couple hits in two-thirds of an inning. Chicago’s bullpen didn’t fare as well as Oakland’s.
Codi Heuer, Carlos Rodon, Matt Foster and Evan Marshall combined to walk seven batters and yield five runs over 3 2/3 frames. It was a particularly brutal outing for Foster, who entered with the bases loaded and two out in the decisive fourth inning and walked two runs in. The White Sox have an exciting collection of young relief weapons, but they didn’t have it in this one.
In addition to a couple bases loaded walks in the fourth, the A’s also got a two-run homer in the frame from catcher Sean Murphy. The biggest hit of the day came from a guy who didn’t even start the game, as Chad Pinder delivered a two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning which proved to be the winning runs.
The A’s will take on the Astros in the ALDS, with Game 1 coming on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers Dancing to DS
Clayton Kershaw’s occasional struggles in the postseason are well documented. He was determined not to write another chapter in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series on Thursday.
Kershaw was brilliant against the Brewers, tossing eight shutout innings while setting a new postseason career high with 13 strikeouts in the Dodgers’ 3-0 victory. He allowed just three singles and one walk on the night and induced 24 whiffs. Twenty of those swings and misses came on his slider, which was a career high.
Brandon Woodruff matched Kershaw for the first four innings, striking out eight while yielding just one base hit. The hard-throwing right-hander ran into trouble in the fifth, though, permitting an RBI single to Austin Barnes and a two-run double to Mookie Betts before getting pulled.
That was all of the offense the Dodgers could muster in this one, and in two games they managed just 12 hits and seven runs. The only hit they got from their 2-5 hitters in the two contests was Corey Seager’s solo home run in Game 1. The good news is the Brewers’ offense did even less, and the Dodgers are headed to the NLDS again.
The winner of Friday’s Game 3 between the Cardinals and Padres will face off against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS next Tuesday.