The Cardinals had a three-run lead over the Pirates in the 7th inning, which was plenty enough and late enough to assume that baby was over. But those plucky Pirates! A Cardinals bullpen implosion later and the Pirates actually wound up thumping the Cardinals.
I agree that six-run innings are fun, especially when the scoring starts with two outs and an 0-2 count:
— Pirates (@Pirates) September 7, 2019
Thank goodness for that, as the Cubs stay 2.5 games back of the Cardinals for now. Any time the Cubs lose when the team they’re chasing also loses, people lament that the Cubs didn’t take advantage … but really, we’re still far enough away from the end of the season that mostly they’re independent events. It’s bad that the Cubs lost a game. It’s good that the Cardinals lost a game. Some days those things will happen the same night, sometimes they won’t. Whatever. I’m just glad the Cardinals lost a very winnable game.
As for the Wild Card race, the Nationals also lost last night, so the Cubs are still 2.0 games behind the Nats for the top spot.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are no longer the team closest to the Cubs in the Wild Card race, having been passed by a smoking hot Diamondbacks club. The Phillies’ latest loss, which also saw Bryce Harper leave after taking a pitch to the hand, was of the shrimp variety:
Ball 4… GAME OVER… Mets win!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 7, 2019
Even worse for the Phillies, that was immediately after the Mets had blown a lead. Talk about a double dong punch.
The Diamondbacks, who beat the Reds, are 2.5 games back of the Cubs, and boy is their schedule friendly the rest of the way. Of their 21 remaining games, 14 are against the Reds, Marlins, and Padres. If the Cubs are going to get bounced from the Wild Card race entirely, it might be the surprising Diamondbacks that do it. (I am already eyeballing their September 23-25 series against the Cardinals, though.)
The Brewers, Mets, and Phillies are all 4.0 games back of the Cubs at this point.