The Braves were leading the Cardinals 3-1 going into the bottom of the 9th yesterday. That scenario has been pretty much automatic this year. Craig Kimbrel comes in, strike out 1-2 guys with 96+ mph gas, and Atlanta fans leave happy. Especially recently, as Kimbrel just set the major league record for the longest streak of scoreless games (since 1919, at least) – a stretch of 38 appearances (he hasn’t allowed a run since June 11th. His ERA was 1.55. Strike-out rate? 14.9 K/9. Just absolutely dominant. So how did the 9th in St. Louis go?
Single-Groundout-Strikeout-Walk-Walk-(ohnothebasesareloadedforAlbertPujols)-Game tying two run single, with Ryan Theriot getting thrown out going home by maybe 15 feet.
Scoreless streak over. Kimbrel has done a nice job improving his control this year, getting his walk rate down to 3.6 BB/9. But it bit him yesterday, as guys like Rafael Furcal and Theriot were given free passes to bring up the man who will perhaps go down as the greatest right-handed hitter of all time. Probably not a good call.
With the game tied at 3-3, the team went to extras. After a scoreless top of the 10th, the Cardinals got to new reliever Scott Linebrink to pick up the walk-off victory to move a little closer in the NL Wild Card race. And given who they beat, they definitely earned it.
Also last night: Jeremy Guthrie outduels Brett Cecil as the O’s beat the Jays 2-0; on the other coast, Clayton Kershaw beat Tim Lincecum and the Giants 2-1; the Angels kept close in the West with a walk-off win against the Yankees; and much more.
What to watch tonight: Jeff Locke makes his major league debut for the Pirates, pulling Anibal Sanchez as his opponent; Jeremy Hellickson tries to inch the Rays closer to the Red Sox in the Wild Card race; and CC Sabathia faces off against Dan Haren in the day’s best pitching match-up. Full schedule with probable pitchers here.