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Last Build Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:34:44 PDT

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Pirates out to spoil Cardinals' wild-card bid (The Associated Press)

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:34:44 PDT

Back in April when the season started, it was easy to expect the Pirates' season-ending trip to Busch Stadium meaning something for both Pittsburgh and the St. Louis Cardinals. Instead, all Pittsburgh can do when it closes the season is play the role of spoiler against a Cardinals team trying to make its sixth consecutive National League playoff appearance. St. Louis starts the Friday night series opener fresh off the year's most controversial win, a 4-3 decision Thursday night over the Cincinnati Reds that was decided by Yadier Molina's two-out RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Baseball-Highlights of Thursday's MLB games (Reuters)

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:28:01 PDT

(Adds later games) Sept 29 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Thursday: Orioles 4, Blue Jays 0 Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one hit in 6-2/3 scoreless innings and the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Blue Jays to tie Toronto for the first American League wild-card spot. The Orioles (87-72) victory eliminated Houston and the New York Yankees from wild-card contention.

Cardinals top Reds on Molina's disputed double in 9th inning (The Associated Press)

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:36:53 PDT

There was no dispute the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn't have won on Yadier Molina's double. A game with playoff implications turned on a missed call Thursday night when Molina got credit for a winning double with two outs in the ninth inning to beat the Reds 4-3. ''I just kept my head down and kept running,'' Molina said.

Orioles beat Blue Jays to set up potential weekend wild-card drama (Big League Stew)

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:33:44 PDT

The powerful Baltimore Orioles’ first two runs came courtesy of a sacrifice fly and an RBI fielder’s choice. Not how you would expect the team that leads the major leagues in home runs to generate its offense, but as long as they scored more runs than the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night it was good enough. Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez – he of the 5.71 ERA on the season, but 3.17 ERA in the second half – shut out Toronto over 6 2/3 innings and Baltimore’s lights-out bullpen did the rest in a 4-0 win at Rogers Centre where the home team managed just one extra-base hit.

Orioles down Blue Jays to bolster playoff pursuit (AFP)

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:10:00 PDT

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one hit in 6 2/3 scoreless innings as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Blue Jays 4-0 to tie Toronto for the first American League wild card berth. The Orioles took the rubber match of the three-game series in Toronto after the Blue Jays took the opener. Baltimore's victory eliminated the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees from wild-card contention.

Nats open series vs. Marlins with eye on home field (The Associated Press)

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:05:20 PDT

There will be plenty of raw emotion at Nationals Park on Friday when the Miami Marlins begin a three-game series against the Washington Nationals. The series opener comes a day after a memorial service in Florida for Jose Fernandez, the ace of the Marlins who died in a boating accident Sunday. Among those on hand for the Thursday service was Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who grew up in the Miami area and like Fernandez has Cuban heritage.

Cubs-Pirates stopped by rain, first tie in majors since 2005 (The Associated Press)

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:31:38 PDT

The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates played to the first tie game in the major leagues since 2005 when rain forced the teams to stop in the sixth inning Thursday night with the score 1-all. The Cubs and Pirates aren't scheduled to play again this season, and the game won't be made up because it doesn't affect postseason positioning. Willson Contreras had two hits and scored for the NL Central champion Cubs, who have already clinched the best record in the majors.

Baseball-Highlights of Wednesday's MLB games (Reuters)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 23:20:55 PDT

(Adds late games) Sept 28 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Wednesday: Yankees 5, Red Sox 3 Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the New York Yankees rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox, who clinched the AL East Division title. The Red Sox learned they secured their eighth divisional title before Craig Kimbrel threw a pitch when the Baltimore Orioles secured a 3-2 win in Toronto.

Cards ask rookie Reyes to keep them afloat (The Associated Press)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 23:12:46 PDT

Their National League wild-card hopes growing slimmer by the day, the St. Louis Cardinals turn to their least experienced starter to help keep them alive Thursday night. Alex Reyes gets the call as St. Louis (82-76) tries to salvage a split of its four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds in Busch Stadium. The 22-year old right-hander, who will make his fifth major league start, is coming off his third win against the Chicago Cubs in a six-week span.

Pirates, Cubs close out season series (The Associated Press)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:38:06 PDT

The Pittsburgh Pirates play their final home game of the season Thursday, and it's a proposition welcomed by them only because they won't play the Chicago Cubs again until 2017. For the first time since 2012, there will be no autumnal postseason baseball in Pittsburgh that Pirates fans like to refer to as Buctober, and the Cubs are greatly the reason why. The Pirates will wrap up an unsatisfying 2016 season at PNC Park, where they are 38-42, including a 5-17 record in their last 22 home games.

Jaso hits for cycle as Pirates beat Cubs 8-4 (The Associated Press)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 20:30:41 PDT

Coming around second base in the seventh inning of the Pittsburgh Pirates' 8-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, John Jaso stumbled. Ninety feet later, Jaso was safe at third base with a triple to become the first player to hit a cycle in the 16-year history of PNC Park. The triple off reliever Pedro Strop clinched the Pirates' first cycle since 2004.

John Jaso completes first-ever PNC Park cycle in dramatic fashion (Big League Stew)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 20:21:37 PDT

With Jake Arrieta pitching for the Cubs on Wednesday night, many were probably anticipating a quiet night from the Pirates offense. Instead, Pittsburgh erupted for seven runs on 10 hits in five innings against the reigning National League Cy Young award winner, and the night culminated with John Jaso hitting for the first cycle in the history of PNC Park. Jaso did most of his damage against Arrieta.

Cubs OF Coghlan leaves after running into outfield wall (The Associated Press)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:47:30 PDT

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Chicago Cubs left fielder Chris Coghlan has left a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a mild ankle sprain after crashing into the outfield wall.

Lefty Solis could make difference for Nationals vs. Dodgers (The Associated Press)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:19:39 PDT

When the Washington Nationals face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series, they'll see a steady diet of left-handed hitters throughout the lineup. Late in games, they believe that makes Sammy Solis the left man for the job. The lefty reliever returned Tuesday from a five-week stint on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and threw a perfect seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Final Volume: Ranking 2016 (Rotoworld)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 08:53:00 PDT

With five days to go, Brad Johnson looks back at the top closers of the 2016 MLB season.

Cubs' Arrieta out to maintain dominance of Pirates (The Associated Press)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:52:56 PDT

Jake Arrieta, last season's NL Cy Young Award winner, goes into his final start of the regular season Wednesday night with a 2.85 ERA that would be the best of any starter on 26 other teams. With the Chicago Cubs -- owners of baseball's best record for the first time since 1945 -- he ranks only third behind Kyle Hendricks (1.99) and Jon Lester (2.28). Against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team Arrieta defeated in last season's NL wild card game, he has certainly been the Cubs' ace -- going 9-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 14 starts.

Baseball-Highlights of Tuesday's MLB games (Reuters)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:44:57 PDT

(Adds later games) Sept 27 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Tuesday: Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1 Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 in six innings, Josh Donaldson and Ezequiel Carrera homered and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles. Carrera and Donaldson each had two RBIs for the Blue Jays (87-70) who have moved two games ahead of the Orioles (85-72) in the race for the first wild-card spot in the American League.

Cubs continue dominance of Pirates in 6-4 win (The Associated Press)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:31:53 PDT

John Lackey fielded phone calls from plenty of interested teams in the offseason. ''I had some pretty good offers from other people and I chose this one for a reason,'' Lackey said. Lackey worked through five innings, Chris Coghlan hit a three-run triple and the Cubs held off the staggering Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 on Tuesday night.

Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:02:22 PDT

Washington Nationals All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season, manager Dusty Baker announced Tuesday. Ramos suffered the injury on Monday, two days after the Nationals clinched the National League East title. Ramos recently turned down a contract offer from the Nationals and appears headed to the free-agent market.

Nationals' Cole suspended 5 games for throwing at Kang (The Associated Press)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 16:48:23 PDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Washington Nationals pitcher A.J. Cole has been suspended for five games and fined for throwing a pitch near the head of Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Saturday.

Cubs win 100th game of the season in grand fashion (Big League Stew)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 23:11:30 PDT

The Chicago Cubs once again proved something that’s been obvious the entire season: They are far and away the best team in baseball. With a 12-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cubs became the first club to reach 100 wins this year. With the team leading by one run in the fourth inning, the Cubs offense went to work.

Cubs, Pirates might mix and match players in last week (The Associated Press)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:44:37 PDT

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle substituted freely and often as Pittsburgh's game against the Chicago Cubs wore on Monday night. Pittsburgh's "tragic number" for being eliminated from the National League wild-card race was reduced to two, meaning the Pirates could be out of a shot for the playoffs as early as Tuesday night when the teams play the second of a four-game series at PNC Park. At that point, like a lot of other teams, Pittsburgh could be reduced to looking at several players who might help them in the future -- a future that will come next year, not in October.

Baseball-Highlights of Monday's MLB games (Reuters)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:21:41 PDT

(Adds late games) Sept 26 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Monday: Indians 7, Tigers 4 Coco Crisp hit a two-run home run and Roberto Perez added a solo shot plus an RBI single and Cleveland's bullpen pieced together five relief innings to help the Indians defeat the Detroit Tigers and clinch their eighth American League Central Division title. Crisp and Rajai Davis singled with two out in the eighth before Perez lined a single to center to give Cleveland a 6-4 lead.

Cubs rout Pirates 12-2 for 100th win behind Baez's six RBIs (The Associated Press)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:53:03 PDT

Joe Maddon was proud that his Chicago Cubs reached 100 wins for the first time in 81 years. Javier Baez hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs while major league ERA leader Kyle Hendricks pitched six scoreless innings as the Cubs got win No. 100 by routing the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-2 on Monday night. Baez helped the National League Central-champion Cubs reach triple digits in victories for the first time since 1935.

LEADING OFF: Marlins home for 1st game since Fernandez death (The Associated Press)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 01:28:10 PDT

A look at what's happening all around the majors today:

Mets-Marlins Preview (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 22:29:31 PDT

Jose Fernandez was on the mind of virtually everyone in South Florida on Sunday, especially those who follow the Miami Marlins. The New York Mets, who will visit the Marlins on Monday to start a three-game series that is sure to be emotional, showed on Sunday that Fernandez was on their minds, too. Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who like Fernandez was born in Cuba, hung up a jersey with his friend's name and his No. 16.

Ross helps Cubs edge Cardinals 3-1 (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 22:10:35 PDT

David Ross got fired up when Cubs manager Joe Maddon walked to the mound with two out in the seventh inning, ready to argue for Jon Lester to stay in the game. Maddon and Lester had a different plan. ''Joe looked at him and said 'Have you ever been a part of where the catcher gets taken out of the game before the pitcher?''' Lester said, describing the scene with a big grin.

Pirates have their work cut out against Cubs (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:41:07 PDT

Neal Huntington was asked on his weekly radio show Sunday whether the Pittsburgh Pirates might want to scale their hopes back this season from making the playoffs to simply finishing with a winning record. The team's general manager hedged big-time, declining to buy into such a change in scope, although he did begin to talk about the offseason in a way that suggested the Pirates might not be able to claw their way into a National League wild-card spot. Realistically, finishing over .500 is probably the better target, but hardly an easy one, especially considering that the Chicago Cubs come to PNC Park to start a four-game series Monday, followed by a trip by Pittsburgh to St. Louis next weekend to close the regular season.

Baseball-Highlights of Sunday's MLB games (Reuters)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 20:42:10 PDT

(Adds final game) Sept 25 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Sunday: Cubs 3, Cardinals 1 Jon Lester allowed three hits in 6-2/3 innings and the Chicago Cubs set a franchise record for victories at Wrigley Field in a season as they beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Lester earned his league-leading 19th victory and retiring catcher David Ross homered as the National League Central champions went 57-24 at home this season. Chicago won 56 games at the ballpark in 1933 and 1935.

Nationals return home to face D-backs (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 19:25:47 PDT

The Washington Nationals return home to play Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks following a three- city road trip to Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh. The Nationals were 4-5 during the trip and clinched the National League East title on Saturday night with a 6-1 win in Pittsburgh. Washington (91-64) can now turn its attention to holding down the second-best record in the National League.