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Stay For a Nightcap - Imminent Collapse Edition

Orioles 6, Red Sox 3

- Josh Beckett (13-7), who has been so good this year, failed the Red Sox in their time of need, giving up six runs in six innings, the big blow a three-run inside-the-park home run by Robert Andino. With the loss, the Sox fell into a tie with the Rays for the Wild Card lead. Beckett gave up seven hits and four walks while striking out five.
- Tommy Hunter did just enough to hold the potent boston offense down on the other side, allowing two runs (one earned) in five innings. He walked more (three) than he struck out (two) and he gave up seven hits, but hey, it was good enough. Not good enough to win, but good enough. Troy Patton (2-1) got his second MLB win in relief – and his second in his last three appearances.
- Vladimir Guerrero's single gave him the lead for career hits by a Dominican-born player – 2,587. He could stick around a few more years yet and hit 3,000. The one-time speedster also stole his second base of the season.
- Andino's in-the-parker (5) went off Jacoby Ellsbury's glove at the wall in center, giving him plenty of time to scamper all the way around.
- The increasingly productive Matt Wieters hit his 21st homer.
- Jed Lowrie, finally healthy and coming on a bit late in the year, hit his sixth homer.
- Matt Angle got on base twice as the leadoff hitter for Baltimore (hit, walk) and stole a base (11), but is still a .177 hitter. Just thought you should know that, Orioles management team.

Tigers 14, Indians 0

- Doug Fister (11-13) has simply been a different pitcher as a Tiger. Never much to strike out a lot of batters, all he's done is come to Detroit and, well, look dominant. Another eight shutout innings. Another nine strikeouts, giving him 57 in 70.1 innings with Detroit – a 7.3 K/9 that far exceeds anything he did with the Mariners in '09, '10 or '11, and in fact is better than several marks he posted in the minors.
- Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4 with the Indians, 10-13 overall) gave up six runs in five innings, putting the finishing touches on a nightmare season. He'll bounce back next year, right?
- On a day of many hits, Delmon Young delivered the game's only homer, a three-run shot and his 11th of the year – seventh with Detroit. Not that he's exactly been a revelation as a Tiger.

Phillies 4, Braves 2

- Cliff Lee (17-8) tuned up for the playoffs with six solid innings, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out six without a walk. He's just gotten better and better this year after a somewhat slow start, and this game was a microcosm of that, as he looked iffy early, then locked it down.
- Randall Delgado did what he could against a tough lineup, giving up just two runs in five innings, though he didn't manage a strikeout. Only gave up five hits and a walk, though. Cristhian Martinez (1-3) lost it for him in relief, helping to continue Atlanta's brutal fall from grace.
- Ryan Madson worked around a hit for his 32nd save, striking out two.
- Jimmy Rollins picked up a couple hits, including his 15th homer.
- Chipper Jones homered (18) in the first inning off Lee. As a Mets fan, I can't wait 'til that guy retires.

Nationals 6, Marlins 4

- Neither Tom Milone, who couldn't get out of the fifth inning, nor Anibal Sanchez, who gave up 10 baserunners in his five innings, pitched well in this one, and neither received a decision. Milone was tagged for seven hits (but had a favorable 4:1 K:BB), while Sanchez walked five (but also struck out five).
- Michael Morse continued his breakout season with a big homer for No. 30, a three-run blast in the top of the ninth that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.
- Morse's homer came off fill-in closer Edward Mujica (9-6), who gave up four hits, a walk and three runs in an inning of work, and made a winner of Atahualpa Severino (1-0) – his first MLB victory.
- Henry Rodriguez collected his second save, presumably because Drew Storen pitched each of the last two days.
- Logan Morrison slugged his 23rd homer as well as a double, both off Milone.br>
- Ian Desmond (25), Jayson Werth (18) and Danny Espinosa (16) all took advantage of John Buck's arm, stealing a base each.

Reds 6, Mets 5

- This was Chris Heisey's day, as the Reds outfielder hit a three-run homer (18) to give Cincy the lead, and he added on a couple singles and a steal (6).
- The starters weren't too interesting. Homer Bailey gave up four runs on nine hits in five innings, though he struck out seven, and Chris Schwinden gave up three (two earned) in five, though he struck out five. Neither was involved in the decision.
- Winner: Logan Ondrusek (5-5). Loser: Tim Byrdak (2-1), who gave up hits to both batters he faced.
- Francisco Cordero gave up a hit and hit a batter, but pitched around it for his 36th save.
- Jose Reyes had a big game, going 3-for-4 with a double (he was thrown out trying to stretch it), two RBI and a steal (38). At .334, he's dead even with Ryan Braun for the NL batting title.
- Dave Sappelt, starting in left, had a hit and collected his first MLB steal.

Rays 5, Yankees 2

- James Shields (16-12) came through in the clutch for Tampa, missing his 12th complete game of the season by a single out. He gave up two runs on six hits and three walks, though he struck out just four, and wow, what a turnaround this year was from last year. Speaking of turnarounds, now the Rays are tied with the Red Sox.
- Kyle Farnsworth got one out for his 24th save.
- Hector Noesi (2-2) lasted only two innings in his second start (both against Tampa; he's appeared in relief 28 times) of the season (and his career), allowing seven baserunners (five hits, two walks), but just three runs. (Here's an extra parenthetical statement, just because.)
- Robinson Cano had two hits, including his 28th homer.
- Kelly Shoppach, still hitting .181, did contribute his 11th homer.
- B.J. Upton had a couple doubles, drove in two, scored two, and stole third (34).

Astros 5, Cardinals 4 in 10

- Jaime Garcia struggled in his biggest start of the year, putting the Cards behind early by allowing four runs in four innings. He did strike out five, so that's nice. Octavio Dotel (3-3) took a hard loss in the 10th on a run-scoring bunt single by Angel Sanchez, squandering the Cards' chance to pull even with Atlanta in the Wild Card.
- Wandy Rodriguez somehow picked his way through 6.1 innings of two-run ball despite allowing 11 baserunners (eight hits, three walks) and striking out just two. He had the lead blown for him by Wesley Wright in the eighth; closing revelation Mark Melancon (8-4) ended up tossing two scoreless innings in relief for the win.
- Albert Pujols had two hits and stole a base (9). .301, 37 homers, nine steals – this is a bad season by his standards.
- Matt Holliday also had a couple hits and a steal (2).

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3

- Dylan Axelrod (1-0) turned in a stunning performance for his first MLB win, striking out six over six shutout innings against a good offense. He gave up just three hits (two singles and a double) and two walks. In 18.2 innings across four appearances this year, he's struck out 19 batters. Sleeper alert.
- Dustin McGowan (0-2) got the loss hung on him. He lasted only four innings, throwing just 39 of 73 pitches for strikes, and was charged with three runs on four hits and three walks.
- Tyler Flowers started at first base for the first time in his short MLB career and hit his fourth home run, a three-run blast.
- Alejandro De Aza continued his fantasy-relevant second half with his 12th steal.
- Mike McCoy went hitless as the Toronto leadoff hitter, falling to .200, but drew a walk and stole two bases (12).
- Sergio Santos somehow was allowed to struggle through a 44-pitch ninth inning in which he gave up two runs on two hits, walked three batters and threw a wild pitch. But he got his 30th save! Hooray!

Royals 7, Twins 3

- Felipe Paulino (4-10 for the season, 4-6 with KC) delivered a classic Felipe Paulino line – six innings, three runs, six hits, two walks, nine strikeouts. As a Royal this year, he struck out 119 batters in 124.2 innings.
- Kevin Slowey (0-8)... ouch. He gave up 10 hits and five runs in 5.2 innings, but hey, he didn't walk anyone! So that's nice. But he finishes the season having given up 78 hits in 59.1 innings. Sometimes, you've just gotta walk more batters.
- Mike Moustakas had been red-hot before posting 0-fers in his last two games, but he came back with a double and a homer (5) in this one.
- Salvador Perez had two hits and drove in two, and is carrying a .333 batting average in what's growing into a halfway decent sample size.
- Jarrod Dyson, yet another Mendoza-or-worse leadoff hitter, stole two bases (11).
- Billy Butler got in on the running action, too, stealing just his second of the year. He also had two hits, an RBI and a run.
- Michael Cuddyer hit his 20th homer, a two-run job off Paulino.
- Melky Cabrera went 2-for-3 to push himself over 200 hits for the season – perhaps the most unlikely 200-hit year in the last decade. If you have a stronger candidate for that prize, I'm listening.

Pirates 9, Brewers 8

- Charlie Morton and Shaun Marcum both got rocked, with Morton giving up five runs in five innings and Marcum seven runs in 4.2, but neither factored in the decision, as both offenses kept on chugging after the starters came out. Daniel McCutchen (5-3) ended up with the win and Takashi Saito (4-2) was stuck with the loss.
- Joel Hanrahan got the save despite allowing a hit and throwing two wild pitches. When you have 40 saves, a 1.83 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, you can have a free pass on both those wild pitches.
- Yuniesky Betancourt hit two doubles, one of the one-run variety and one of the three-run variety, for a season-high four RBI.
- Alex Presley had a very nice day out of the leadoff spot, driving in three runs and collecting three hits, including leading off the game with his fourth homer.
- Ryan Braun doubled a run in as a pinch-hitter to stay even with Jose Reyes in the NL batting race (.334).
- Pedro Alvarez had two hits and drove in three runs. That's not a typo. He hadn't had two hits in a game since August 3.
- Chase d'Arnaud stole his 12th base of the season, and Pedro Ciriaco collected his second.

Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 2

- Dana Eveland (3-2) turned in a wonderful effort, throwing 5.2 shutout innings and striking out five without allowing a walk. He gave up just five hits to a tough Arizona offense, in Arizona. Impressive.
- Daniel Hudson (16-12) found himself on the losing end, but he's had himself a great season. It's not like he was extremely bad – he gave up four runs on only five hits and a walk in seven innings, striking out five.
- Javy Guerra kept it clean for his 21st save.
- Matt Kemp did most of the damage against Hudson with a three-run homer (38) in the first inning. What a spectacular season he's had – if he can find a way to hit two more homers, he'll go 40-40 while hitting well over .300. In fact, if he can get a whole ton of hits and Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun choke badly, he could win the Triple Crown.

Rangers 4, Angels 3

- C.J. Wilson pitched only two innings in his final tune-up for the playoffs before giving way to apparently inedible pitcher Mark Hamburger (1-0), who earned his first MLB win with 3.2 innings of one-run ball.
- Dan Haren (16-10) gave up four runs (three earned) in eight innings on the other end. He struck out eight, allowing nine hits and a walk. Once again, it was a story of two halves for Haren, who is traditionally worse in the second half and was again this year. That's not to say he's been bad – just not as good.
- Erick Aybar had a couple hits and reached 30 steals for the first time in his career.
- Mike Trout had an RBI single and stole his third base.
- Neftali Feliz worked around two hits and an error in the ninth, giving up an unearned run, but recording his 31st save.
- Adrian Beltre socked his 31st homer, a two-run bomb off Haren.
- David Murphy had two hits and his 11th steal.

Padres 2, Cubs 0

- It's been a long year for Mat Latos (9-14), but he ended it on a high note, striking out nine and giving up only two hits and a walk in seven shutout innings. He took a no-hitter into the sixth. Love him for next year? I do.
- Casey Coleman (3-9) struck out seven in his 5.2 innings and allowed just two runs, but that's enough when there's a shutout on the other end. That's 15 strikeouts in his final two starts for the typically useless Coleman. He also hit a triple – bonus!
- Heath Bell nailed down his 43rd save with a clean inning.
- Will Venable hit his eighth homer to account for the Pads' first run.
- Jesus Guzman stole his ninth base and had a couple hits.
- Starlin Castro (22) and Carlos Pena (2) stole bases for the Cubbies.

Mariners 4, Athletics 2

- Jason Vargas (10-13) reamed out the A's lineup, striking out a career-high 10 batters over eight innings of five-hit, one-run ball. No walks, either. Nice finish.
- Brandon McCarthy (9-9) delivered his fifth complete game of the year, but was charged with four runs on eight hits in eight innings. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter, meaning he finishes the season with a sick 123:25 K:BB.
- Brandon League picked up his 37th save despite allowing a couple hits and a run.
- Justin Smoak, who's been pretty hot in September, hit a three-run homer (15) and Miguel Olivo a solo homer (19), accounting for all the runs off McCarthy.
- Coco Crisp went 1-for-4 with two steals (48).

Giants 3, Rockies 1

- Ryan Vogelsong (13-7) ended his comeback season on a high note, striking out four and allowing just a couple singles and a couple doubles in seven shutout innings. He hadn't gone a game without a walk since April. He finishes up with a stunning 2.71 ERA in 179.2 innings.
- Jhoulys Chacin (11-14) had a decent game, giving up just two runs on eight hits and a walk over his seven frames, but he lost anyway. He struck out just three, punctuating a season that saw a large drop in his strikeout rate – after he averaged a K per inning last year, he struck out just 150 in 194 innings this year.
- Mark Ellis stole his sixth base.
- Santiago Casilla got two outs for his sixth save, as Brian Wilson (elbow) has been shut down.
- This is my last nightcap blog of the season. Hope you had fun.