Cubs Beat Cardinals 5-1 To Clinch NL Central

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Published on September 28 2017 6:31 am
Last Updated on September 29 2017 6:10 am

By ESPN

The last time the Cubs went to the postseason three straight years was in 1906-08. The World Series champions won the National Central for the second straight year with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

Under .500 and trailing Milwaukee in the division race at the All-Star break, the Cubs turned things around with a stellar second half.

"It was tough," starter John Lackey said. "It's always a challenge and we got a lot of people's best shots. We played well and we're back in the playoffs and we'll see what happens."

Addison Russell hit a three-run homer and Lackey pitched six strong innings for Chicago.

The Cubs are the first defending World Series champion to win their division the next season since the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies and the first defending champion to reach the playoffs the next season since the Cardinals won the wild card in 2012.

"It's fun to be a team that people want to beat," Cubs infielder Kris Bryant said. "We embrace that and we're going to go with that for as long as we can. It feels good right now knowing they (the Cardinals) always beat up on us before and now we're able to kind of get of a taste of that, too."

The Cubs became the second visiting team to celebrate a title at Busch Stadium III. The 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers won the NLDS at St. Louis.

"It's a blessing to be in a situation to win a World Series on a team and win a division in a tough division the very next year," Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward said. "That's not my plan. That's someone else's plan there. It just happened to be here. Fans, rivalry, whatever, it is what it is, but I know we had a lot of fun competing."

Lackey (12-11) retired the final 10 batters he faced. The former Cardinal and three-time World Series winner struck out three and gave up two hits and two walks.

"I've got to keep telling these kids (young Cubs players) `Don't take anyone of these for granted. You never know if it's your last one," Lackey said. "If you start thinking this is something easy, it's time for you to go home."

Six Cubs relievers combined for three scoreless innings.

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha needed just 60 pitches to cruise through the first six innings, striking out eight, before running into trouble in the seventh. Anthony Rizzo and Bryant started the inning with singles and Russell drove a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

Wacha (12-9) was chased after allowing the first six Cubs to reach base in the seventh. Heyward and Tommy La Stella had RBI doubles as the Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate against three St. Louis pitchers.

Paul DeJong's single scored Jedd Gyorko to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the second.

Former Cub Dexter Fowler came to the plate with the bases loaded as the tying run in the eighth, but Carl Edwards Jr. got him to fly weakly to right field, ending the Cardinals' threat.

The loss drops the Cardinals elimination number to one.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn't watch the Cubs' celebration.

"Usually when I watch we don't have any more games to play," Matheny said. "We're getting ready for tomorrow. When I watch in the playoffs it's because our season was over. Our season is not over."

The Cubs will draw Washington in the NLDS, but Lackey isn't focused on the Nationals yet.

"I think we're going to have a good time tonight," Lackey said. "I don't really care about the Nationals."

 

White Sox 6, Twins 4

 After hitting his first walk-off homer since high school, Nicky Delmonico was beaming in the White Sox clubhouse.

The Minnesota Twins had to be smiling too.

Delmonico lofted a two-run shot in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Chicago a 6-4 victory Wednesday night that eliminated the Los Angeles Angels from playoff contention. Minnesota, which lost 4-2 at Cleveland, got the second AL wild card berth.

Los Angeles lost for the eighth time in 10 games -- and the Angels are out of the playoffs.

"There's not a guy in that room that doesn't feel it," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Unfortunately, we didn't quite get there. The Twins played great down the stretch. They earned it."

Angels slugger Mike Trout struck out four times and walked in five plate appearances.

"We were grinding all the way to end," Trout said. "It's tough, but we're headed in the right direction."

Delmonico, a pleasant surprise since being called up from Triple-A on Aug. 1, said he couldn't "describe it in words."

"But to be able to do that is something you dream about in the backyard."

Delmonico said he last hit a game-ending homer to give Farrugut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee a state championship in 2010. He wasn't sure the drive that ended the Angels' playoff hopes would go out.

Delmonico, who had three hits and three RBI, connected for his ninth homer to right field on a 2-1 pitch from Blake Parker (3-3), the fifth Angels reliever, after Avisail Garcia had led off the inning with a double.

"I got something soft and I ended up elevating it," said Delmonico, who is hitting .267 and has 26 RBI in 41 games with Chicago. "It was just one of those where you just hope it goes out."

Jose Abreu continued his hot late-season hitting with two hits, and Tim Anderson and Willy Garcia both had an RBI. Danny Farquhar (4-2) the fourth White Sox reliever pitched 2/3 innings for the win.

Kole Calhoun crushed his 18th homer, a three-run shot that tied the game 3-all in the fifth. Andrelton Simmons had two hits and an RBI as the Angels battled back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth.

White Sox rookie Reynaldo Lopez started strong, striking out the side in the first and retiring 14 of the first 16 hitters. But the 23-year-old righty couldn't hold a 3-0 lead and got a no-decision as he allowed four runs in six innings.

Angels starter Garrett Richards lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs in his fifth start since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 5. The right-hander had been sidelined since suffering a right biceps strain in his first start this season, at Oakland on April 5.

Richards retired nine of the first 11 batters, but didn't survive the fourth when Chicago jumped ahead 3-0.

Delmonico's double to the warning track in right center drove in Abreu with Chicago's first run. After the White Sox loaded the bases with one out, Willy Garcia's groundout drove in a second run, then Tyler Saladino raced home from third on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

Los Angeles touched Lopez for three runs with two outs in the fifth when Lopez hit C.J. Cron with a pitch, Martin Maldonado singled and Calhoun lined his 18th homer to straightaway center tie it at 3.

"The homer was my mistake because I was dominating him with my fastball, and then I tried to throw him a changeup," Lopez said.

The teams each scored a run in the sixth to make it 4-4.


Wednesday, September 27 Scoreboard

Houston 12, Texas 2

Colorado 15, Miami 9

Oakland 6, Seattle 5

Arizona 4,  San Francisco 3

Chicago Cubs 5, St. Louis 1

New York Yankees 6, Tampa Bay 1

Philadelphia 7, Washington 5

Pittsburgh 5, Baltimore 3

Boston 10, Toronto 7

Cleveland 4, Minnesota 2

New York Mets 7, Atlanta 1

Chicago  White Sox 6, Los Angeles Angels 4 (F/10)

Cincinnati 6, Milwaukee 0

Kansas City 7, Detroit 4

Los Angeles Dodgers 10, San Diego 0


Thursday, September 28 Schedule (All Times Central)

Minnesota at Cleveland, 11:10a.m.

Cincinnati at Milwaukee, 3:10 p.m.

Tampa Bay at New York Yankees, 6:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Washington, 6:05 p.m.

Houston at Boston, 6:10 p.m.

Atlanta at Miami, 6:10 p.m.

Chicago Cubs at St. Louis, 6:15 p.m.

Oakland at Texas, 7:05 p.m.

Los Angeles SAngels at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Detroit at Kansas City, 7:15 p.m.


Friday, September 29 Schedule (All Times Central)

Toronto at New York Yankees, 12:05 p.m.

Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs, 1:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Washington, 6:05 p.m.

New York Mets at Philadelphia, 6:05 p.m.

Houston at Boston, 6:10 p.m.

Chicago White Sox at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

Atlanta at Miami, 6:10 p.m.

Baltimore at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m.

Oakland at Texas, 7:05 p.m.

Detroit at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado, 7:10 p.m

Arizona at Kansas City, 7:15 p.m.

Milwaukee at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m.

Seattle at Los Angeles Angels, 9:07 p.m.

San Diego at San Francisco, 9:15 p.m.


Friday, September 29 Schedule (All Times Central)

Toronto at New York Yankees, 12:05 p.m.

Cincinnati at Chicago  Cubs, 1:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Washington, 6:05 p.m.

New York Mets at Philadelphia, 6:05 p.m.

Houston at Boston, 6:10 p.m.

Chicago White Sox at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

Atlanta at Miami, 6:10 p.m.

Baltimore at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m.

Oakland at Texas, 7:05 p.m.

Detroit at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado, 7:10 p.m.

Arizona at Kansas City, 7:15 p.m.

Milwaukee at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m.

Seattle at Los Angeles Angels, 9:07 p.m.

San Diego at San Francisco, 9:15 p.m.


Saturday, September 30 Schedule (All Times Central)

Houston at Boston, 12:05 p.m.

Toronto at New York Yankees, 12:05 p.m.

Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs, 3:05 p.m.

San Diego at San Frnacisco, 3:05 p.m.

Milwaukee at St. Louis, 3:15 p.m.

Baltimore at Tampa Bay, 5:10 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Washington, 6:05 p.m.

New York Mets at Philadelphia, 6:05 p.m.

Chicago White Sox at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

Detroit at Minnesota, 6:10 p.m.

Atlanta at Miami, 6:10 p.m.

Arizona at Kansas City, 6:15 p.m.

Oakland at Texas, 7:05 p.m.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado, 7:10 p.m.

Seattle at Los Angeles Angels, 8:07 p.m.


Sunday, October 1 Schedule (All Times Central)

Houston at Boston, 2:05 p.m.

Toronto at New York Yankees, 2:05 p.m.

Oakland at Texas, 2:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Washington, 2:05 p.m.

New York Mets at Philadelphia, 2:05 p.m.

San Diego at San Francisco, 2:05 p.m.

Seaettle at Los Angeles Angels, 2:07 p.m.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado, 2:10 p.m.

Chicago White Sox at Cleveland, 2:10 p.m.

Detroit at Minnesota, 2:10 p.m.

Atlanta at Miami, 2:10 p.m.

Baltimore at Tampa Bay, 2:10 p.m.

Arizona at Kansas City, 2:15 p.m.

Milwaukee at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.