Marlins uphold perfect post-season series record with upset sweep of Cubs
Padres advance in playoffs for 1st time since 1998 with win over Cardinals
Garrett Cooper homered against Yu Darvish in a two-run seventh, hard-throwing rookie Sixto Sanchez dominated for five innings and the Miami Marlins won their first playoff series in 17 years, beating the Chicago Cubs 2-0 Friday to complete a two-game wild card series sweep.
Led by manager Don Mattingly and CEO Derek Jeter, the Marlins remained unbeaten in all seven post-season series they have played following triumphs in the 1997 and 2003 NL Championship and World Series.
And this time, in empty Wrigley Field, they didn't need a hand from a fan. In Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, fan Steve Bartman deflected Luis Castillo's foul ball as Cubs left fielder Moises Alou tried to make a leaping catch, which led to an eight-run, eighth-inning rally.
Miami had T-shirts with "Bottom Feeders" in its dugout Friday, a reference to a remark by Ricky Bottalico, a former Phillies pitcher and current NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst, after the Marlins' opening-day win in Philadelphia.
"We're here and the Phillies are at home, so I think the `bottom feeders' is a good mantra to live on," Cooper said.
Chicago, the NL Central champion, went 3 for 27 (.111) with runners on base in the series. Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo combined to go 0 for 12 Friday and finished the series 1 for 24. The trio is 19 for 142 (.134) with 52 strikeouts and six walks in the post-season since the 2016 World Series title as Chicago has lost nine of 13.
Padres blank Cardinals to advance
Craig Stammen and eight fellow relievers combined on a four-hitter in a brilliant, record-setting effort that sent the San Diego Padres over the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 Friday night in the deciding Game 3 of their NL wild-card series.
The Padres won a post-season series for the first time in 22 years and advanced to face the NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series at Arlington, Texas, starting Tuesday.
With starters Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet unavailable due to injuries suffered in their final regular-season starts, rookie manager Jayce Tingler was forced to tap the Padres' already-stressed bullpen and it came through magnificently. San Diego became the first team in baseball history to use eight or more pitchers in three straight post-season games.
Trevor Rosenthal, who started his career with the Cardinals, struck out the side in the ninth and the Padres began to celebrate in empty Petco Park.
It's the first post-season series win for the Padres since they beat Atlanta in the 1998 NLCS and only the second time they've won a playoff game at Petco Park, which opened in 2004. The Padres lost to St. Louis in the division series in 2005 and 2006, the last time the Padres were in the post-season. The Cardinals also eliminated the Padres in 1996.
All four division series feature matchups between division rivals. All seven Central teams lost in the first round, with the Cardinals joining Cincinnati, the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota.
Fernando Tatis Jr., who homered twice and drove in five runs in Thursday night's wild 11-9 victory, doubled into the left-field corner off losing pitcher Jack Flaherty with one out in the fifth and scored on Eric Hosmer's two-out double to right-centre.
The Padres added on against reliever Alex Reyes in the seventh, on a bases-loaded walk to Hosmer and Manny Machado's fielder's choice and an error on third baseman Tommy Edman.
With spectators watching from balconies on buildings surrounding the outfield and on a big-screen TV in a nearby parking lot, the Padres rewarded their long-suffering fans by winning one of the most meaningful games of any kind in San Diego in a long time. The city's only major professional championship remains the San Diego Chargers' 1963 AFL title. The Chargers left for Los Angeles after the 2016 season, leaving the Padres as the only pro team in San Diego, which lost NBA teams to Houston and Los Angeles.
The Padres lost 4-1 to the Detroit Tigers in the 1984 World Series and were swept by the New York Yankees in the 1998 Fall Classic.