Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox Lose Regular Season Finales


Published on October 2 2017 6:20 am
Last Updated on October 2 2017 6:21 am


The Milwaukee Brewers' season is over, but they took some satisfaction from challenging the Cubs in the NL Central and staying in contention until the final weekend.

For the Cardinals, 2017 fell short of the franchise's always lofty expectations.

Aaron Wilkerson took a perfect game into the sixth inning, Brett Phillips hit a three-run homer and the Brewers beat St. Louis 6-1 on Sunday, closing out their near-miss of a season with the best record of any team that did not make the playoffs.

Jesus Aguliar added a two-run homer in the eighth for the Brewers, who finished 86-76, 13 games ahead of last year's pace. They were in first place or tied for the top spot in the NL Central for 65 days, but ultimately they were eliminated from wild-card contention with a loss on Saturday.

"It's still a season that we're proud of," shortstop Eric Sogard said. "We'll keep our heads held high and we'll be excited about the future for this team."

St. Louis finished 83-79, three games worse than last year. The Cardinals failed to make the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 2007-2008.

"No matter what happens, if you don't make the (playoffs) it's not a good year," said catcher Yadier Molina, who missed the last six games with concussion-like symptoms.

Herman Perez had hoped to make a different kind of history in the meaningless game by playing all nine positions, just as Andrew Romine did Saturday night for the Tigers, but manager Craig Counsell nixed the idea after a couple innings.

"I rained on the parade," Counsell said. "I wanted to win the game."

Perez, known for his utility skills, started the game at third base and moved to shortstop for the second. That's when Counsell stepped in.

"I respected his decision," Perez said. "Maybe I can do it another time."

Perez, who was hoping to become the sixth player in major league history to play every position in a game, would have had a tough time bouncing Wilkerson (1-0) off the mound.

Making his second start of the season, Wilkerson allowed one run on two hits over seven innings. He set down the first 17 hitters before Jose Martinez delivered a pinch-hit single to right with two out in the sixth.

"I just stuck with the game plan," Wilkerson said. "To have a start like this at the end of the season bodes well going into spring training."

Counsell was impressed with the rookie.

"The big thing was he just pounded the strike zone," Counsell said. "He threw a ton of strikes. He was very efficient."

Phillips, a September call-up, highlighted a four-run first inning with his fourth homer of the season.

"He's a player that's made us maybe change the way we think about things this offseason." Counsell said.

Randal Grichuk homered in the seventh for the Cardinals, who lost four of their last five.

"There are a lot of positives," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "And there are things we've got to get better at."

Jack Flaherty (0-2) gave up five hits and four runs over five innings.

The Cardinals drew 3,447,937 fans, the fifth-highest attendance in franchise history. It was their 14th successive season of 3 million-plus.

Reds 3, Cubs 1

The cheering slowly increased as the crowd of 40,971 recognized the significance of the Chicago Cubs flag on the videoboard at Wrigley Field. The banner on top of the pole for the NL Central standings rippled in the breeze as the cheering turned into an appreciative roar.

The regular season is over. Next up for Chicago is the Washington Nationals.

Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant each had a light day of work as the Cubs prepared for the playoffs by playing much of their roster during a 3-1 loss to Deck McGuire and the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Most of Chicago's starting lineup was gone by the fifth inning. Rizzo flied out leading off the first, and then was replaced in the field by Taylor Davis. Bryant and shortstop Addison Russell were pulled after the NL Central champions batted in the fourth.

Chicago (92-70) is trying to become the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000. It will open the NL Division Series at the Nationals on Friday.

"They're a deep team. So are we, so it'll be a fun series," Rizzo said.

McGuire (1-1) pitched five sparkling innings for his first major league win in his second big league start. The right-hander also picked up his first RBI when he drove in Phillip Ervin with a grounder in the fifth.

"It's been a really long journey," he said. "I pitched well, they played unbelievable defense behind me and Tucker (Barnhart) did a great job behind the plate."

Raisel Iglesias allowed Albert Almora Jr.'s one-out homer in the ninth before finishing for his 28th save in 30 chances.

Cincinnati finished last in the NL Central for the third straight season. It also went 68-94 last year.

"A ton of really good things here, and that's what gets us excited moving forward," manager Bryan Price said. "Now we have to get our pitching in a position where we move from the bottom to more towards the top."

Chicago, a runaway winner in the NL Central last season with a 103-58 record, has some decisions to make about its rotation against the Nationals, but appears to be in good shape heading into the playoffs. The Cubs closed the season with 15 wins in 19 games.

Mike Montgomery pitched three scoreless innings for Chicago before John Lackey (12-12) allowed Adam Duvall's run-scoring double in the fourth in his first relief appearance since the 2013 World Series with Boston. The right-hander could work out of the bullpen in this year's playoffs.

"I mean he gave up a run, whatever it was, but I thought he had a really good slider coming out of the pen and his velocity was normal," manager Joe Maddon said. "So I thought he looked actually pretty good."

Scooter Gennett added an RBI single in the sixth for Cincinnati. Joey Votto doubled twice and led the majors by reaching base 321 times this year, breaking his own team record set in 2015.

"I think as a complete package, this was the best year of my career," said Votto, who won the NL MVP award in 2010.

Indians 3, White Sox 1

The Indians had already locked up the best record in the AL, captured the Central Division title and compiled the second-longest winning streak in baseball history.

With one last victory, now it's back to the playoffs.

Josh Tomlin pitched into the sixth inning and Jay Bruce drove in a pair of runs, leading Cleveland to a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday to close out the regular season.

It was the Indians' 102nd victory -- second most in franchise history -- and gave them 33 wins over their final 37 games dating to Aug. 24, when it began an AL-record 22-game winning streak.

"You obviously want to take a step forward going into the playoffs, and we were able to do that today," said Tomlin, who is penciled in as the fourth starter in the postseason.

"Now, I think I speak for everyone in the clubhouse when I say, `It's time to get to work.' We're all pulling the same ropes, trying for the same goal of winning the World Series."

Cleveland begins its playoff quest in an AL Division Series against the winner of the wild-card game between the Yankees and Twins. It lost the 2016 World Series in seven games to the Chicago Cubs.

"It's been a special regular season," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We were talking about that today as a staff, how proud we are of these guys. Now, we're going to embrace the next challenge, whatever that may be."

Tomlin (10-9) tossed 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, striking out six and giving the club five pitchers with double-digit victories. Cody Allen worked a perfect ninth for his 30th save as Cleveland set a majors' season record with 1,614 strikeouts.

Bruce's two-run single in the first gave him 100 RBI for the second time in his career and helped the Indians take a 3-0 lead. Cleveland acquired the 30-year-old slugger in an Aug. 9 trade with the Mets.

White Sox right-hander Chris Volstad (1-2) walked Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez to begin his day -- all of them scored -- before settling down. He allowed three hits over six frames in his second start in the majors since 2012.

Ramirez went 2 for 2, including his AL-high 56th double, and Carlos Santana added a sacrifice fly. Rob Brantly hit a leadoff homer in the fifth off Tomlin for Chicago's lone run.

"We finished the season in a good place and I'm excited, so happy to be in the playoffs again," All-Star shortstop Lindor said. "We put ourselves in this position and I can't wait for it to start. I'm looking forward to the whole experience."

Sunday, October 1 Scoreboard

Houston 4, Boston 3

Toronto 2, New York Yankees 1

Oakland 5, Texas 2

Pittsburgh 11, Washington 8

Philadelphia 11, New York Mets 0

San Francisco 5, San Diego 4

Los Angeles Angels 6, Colorado 3

Clevleand 3, Chicago White Sox 1

Minnesota 5, Detroit 1

Atlanta 8, Miami 5

Tampa Bay 6, Baltimore 0

Arizona 14, Kansas City 2

Milwaukee 6, St. Louis 1

Cincinnati 3, Chicago Cubs 1

Monday, October 2

No games scheduled

Tuesday, October 3 Schedule (Time Central)

Minnesota at New York Yankees, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, October 4 Schedule (Time Central)

Colorado at Arizona, 7 p.m.

Thursday, October 5 Schedule (Time Central)

Boston at Houston, 3 p.m.

Friday, October 6 Schedule (Time Central)

Boston at Houston, 1 p.m.

Chicago Cubs at Washington, 6:30 p.m.