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Yelich's historic bi-cycle vs. Reds fuels Crew

Both milestones come against same club, a Major League first
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Father and son Jeff and Michael Richter of Oak Creek thought they'd scored a nice souvenir after an usher flipped them Christian Yelich's home run ball in the fifth inning Monday at Miller Park. An inning later, they were holding part of baseball history.

Asked how he came to that realization, Michael smiled and pointed to his dad.

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MILWAUKEE -- Father and son Jeff and Michael Richter of Oak Creek thought they'd scored a nice souvenir after an usher flipped them Christian Yelich's home run ball in the fifth inning Monday at Miller Park. An inning later, they were holding part of baseball history.

Asked how he came to that realization, Michael smiled and pointed to his dad.

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"When he yelled, 'CYCLE!'" Michael Richter said.

Video: Must C Cycle: Yelich makes history with his 2nd cycle

It was a bi-cycle for Yelich, who padded his National League MVP resume in the Brewers' 8-0 win over the Reds by becoming the fifth player in Major League history to hit for the cycle twice in the same season, and the first to do it twice against the same team.

Yelich also hit for the cycle as part of a six-hit night in a wild Brewers win at Great American Ball Park on Aug. 29.

Both nights, he needed a triple -- and got it.

"Off the bat, you're kind of thinking, 'No way did that just happen,'" Yelich said.

Video: Yelich makes history with 2nd cycle of '18 vs. Reds

According to Elias, Yelich joined 2012 D-back Aaron Hill, 1931 Brooklyn Dodger Babe Herman, 1887 St. Louis Brown Tip O'Neill and 1883 Cincinnati Red Stocking Long John Reilly as the only players to hit for the cycle twice in a season.

Including Yelich, only 25 players since 1908 have hit for multiple cycles in their careers, and only three have done it three times: Bob Meusel, Herman and Adrian Beltre. Yelich is the third active Major Leaguer with multiple career cycles, joining Beltre (three) and Carlos Gomez (two).

Yelich is the first player in Brewers history to hit for the cycle twice in a career; it has now been accomplished nine times in franchise history. But before Monday, the only Brewer to hit for the cycle in a home game was Chad Moeller in 2004.

Video: CIN@MIL: Yelich, Counsell discuss cycle in 8-0 win

"I honestly don't even how how to describe it or what that feels like," Yelich said. "I don't even know if it's really set in yet. It's definitely crazy. You're trying to enjoy it as much as possible. It's nice to do it at home, too, in front of the home fans."

Players who have hit for the cycle | Multiple cycles

He singled in the first inning, doubled in the third, hit a two-run home run in the fifth and then lined a Jesus Reyes pitch to the right-center-field gap in Milwaukee's four-run sixth to complete the feat. Yelich appeared to be thinking third all the way, making the turn at second base while the Reds relayed the baseball back to the infield for a play at the plate.

Video: CIN@MIL: Yelich sprints 29.5 mph to triple for cycle

He wanted it. At 29.5 feet per second sprint speed, according to Statcast™, Yelich was moving well above his season average of 28.5 (30 feet per second is considered elite). His 10.95-second time from home to third was Yelich's fastest time since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015, and the second-fastest for any Brewer (Keon Broxton did it in 10.89 seconds on July 30, 2016).

"I was behind. I didn't realize he had the cycle," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I was completely unaware of it. The impressive thing to me is a team holds him in check yesterday, and that seems to be a bad sign for the other team the next day."

Counsell was referring to the Pirates, who snapped Yelich's 30-game on-base streak on Sunday afternoon.

Video: CIN@MIL: Yelich completes his 2nd cycle with 2-run 3B

On Monday, Counsell said he had a feeling Yelich would start a new streak against the Reds.

"There was an intent that good things were going to happen," Counsell said. "When a team shuts him down the day before, it adds to it for him the next day. It's just competitiveness."

Good things have been happening a lot for Yelich. The home run off Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani was Yelich's 31st this season, his 20th since the All-Star break -- only Khris Davis of the A's (22) has more -- and his seventh this season against the Reds. Yelich leads the Majors since the break in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.733) and OPS (1.149).

Video: CIN@MIL: Yelich ropes a 2-run dinger to right field

His previous high for home runs in a season was 21 for the Marlins in 2016. With 11 regular-season games to go, he has a chance to match that career mark in the second half alone.

"We haven't found a way to cool him off," said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman. "He's an MVP candidate, so he's hot against a lot of clubs."

NL batting leaders meet in Milwaukee

Domingo Santana also homered for the Brewers -- his second pinch-hit shot in as many days -- as Milwaukee matched its 2017 win total (86) and maintained its three-game lead atop the NL Wild Card standings while staying 2 1/2 games back of the Cubs in the NL Central, following Chicago's win at Arizona.

Video: CIN@MIL: Miley tosses 5 scoreless to earn the win

On the mound, Wade Miley, Josh Hader and Brandon Woodruff combined on an eight-hitter in the Brewers' 12th shutout victory this season. Hader struck out the side in the sixth, meaning he's whiffed 17 of 20 batters he's faced over his last four appearances. Woodruff covered the final three innings and was awarded his first Major League save.

Michael Richter was rewarded, too. He met Yelich at the entrance to the Brewers' clubhouse after the game and gave up the historic baseball for a handshake and a signed bat.

"That was pretty cool of him," Yelich said. "He really didn't have to do it."

Video: CIN@MIL: Yelich meets young fan who caught HR ball

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Domingo goes deep: Not to be lost amid Yelich's heroics, Santana's home run came in a big spot, doubling the Brewers' lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning and sparking an outburst during which Milwaukee scored seven runs in a two-inning span. Santana has been used exclusively off the bench as a September callup and is 6-for-13 with two doubles and two homers in that role.

He's the fourth player in Brewers history to hit pinch-hit home runs in back-to-back games. The others are Taylor Green (2012), Gabe Gross (2006) and Jeromy Burnitz (1997).

Video: CIN@MIL: Santana drills a solo homer to left-center

"I thought Domingo's homer was huge," Counsell said. "It's a 1-0 game at that point. It's a tight game. He continues to have great at-bats."

HE SAID IT
"If he's trying to do that, and he's able to hit a ball in the gap like that, then we've got to talk about a different level of guy." -- Counsell, when it was noted that Yelich has finished both of his cycles with the rarest of hits: A triple

Video: CIN@MIL: Yelich discusses his 2nd cycle of 2018

UP NEXT
Chase Anderson gets the call as the Brewers try to start another series winning streak on Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. CT. It will be Anderson's 30th start this season and fourth against the Reds, whom he has held to a 2.98 ERA in 10 career starts while going 5-1. He'll have to be careful with the opposing pitcher, Michael Lorenzen, who has already smacked a pair of home runs against the Brewers this season.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Yelich

Joc, Dodgers rock Rox to retake first place

Muncy adds 3-run HR as Ryu cruises through 7 shutout innings
Special to MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- With first place in the National League West hanging in the balance, Joc Pederson brought the power early for the Dodgers in an 8-2 win over the Rockies on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

The lopsided victory put the Dodgers a half-game above the Rockies in the division, kicking off a vital three-game series in just about the best way possible. The win also kept the Dodgers tied with the Cardinals at 83-68 in a hypothetical race for the second Wild Card.

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LOS ANGELES -- With first place in the National League West hanging in the balance, Joc Pederson brought the power early for the Dodgers in an 8-2 win over the Rockies on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

The lopsided victory put the Dodgers a half-game above the Rockies in the division, kicking off a vital three-game series in just about the best way possible. The win also kept the Dodgers tied with the Cardinals at 83-68 in a hypothetical race for the second Wild Card.

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Pederson opened the bottom of the first inning against Jon Gray with his sixth leadoff homer of the season, then led off a four-run third-inning with a double. He added his 23rd home run in the fourth inning, a two-run shot to make it 8-0 and the eighth multihomer game of his career.

Pederson fist-bumps fan after catch

"Joc, he's just really gotten back to when he was really good," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Looking out and over, staying in the strike zone and using right-center field to left-center field. Today, that's what he did, took a ball off Gray to left-center and did the same thing against a lefty to right-center field."

Video: COL@LAD: Roberts on Ryu, Pederson in important win

Pederson's fourth-inning home run was his first off a left-hander this season, taking reliever Harrison Musgrave deep to right field. Entering Monday, Pederson had seen left-handers just 54 times in 411 plate appearances this season. While he had posted just a .420 OPS against southpaws, that wasn't due to a lack of effort.

"I prepare and hit off a lefty in the cage almost every day," Pederson said. "Just try to stay locked in so when I get a chance, I can make the best of it. Something I need to continue to work on, but it is definitely an encouraging part of the process."

Video: COL@LAD: Pederson on his huge game fueling Dodger win

As if his bat wasn't enough, Pederson also contributed a highlight catch in left field during the fifth inning to rob Drew Butera of extra bases.

Video: COL@LAD: Pederson fist bumps fan after running catch

Pederson wasn't the only source of power, as Max Muncy also contributed a three-run homer in the third inning. The homer was Muncy's 33rd of the year, pushing him into a tie for fourth in the National League behind Matt Carpenter, Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado.

That homer doubled the Dodgers' lead to 6-0, and was part of a string of six straight hits that chased Gray. The right-hander has now allowed 12 earned runs in three starts against the Dodgers over the last two months.

Video: COL@LAD: Muncy unloads a no-doubt 3-run homer

"We've seen Gray at times very good," Roberts said. "Today, he just didn't have command of his fastball and his slider just didn't have that sharp depth on the break. We waited him out, got some pitches out over and took advantage of it."

RYU ROLLS THROUGH ROCKIES
The Dodgers' offensive eruption was more than enough on a night in which Hyun-Jin Ryu dominated the Rockies' lineup. After seven shutout innings, the Dodgers pulled Ryu at 93 pitches, his highest total since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 15. More >

Video: COL@LAD: Ryu shuts down Rockies over 7 strong innings

KNOCK ON WOOD
The lone blemish of the game for the Dodgers came when Alex Wood took the mound to open the eighth inning. Making his first relief appearance of the season and likely competing for a playoff roster spot, Wood struggled to the tune of two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.

"It's a transition. He hasn't done it in quite some time," Roberts said. "He hadn't pitched in a week. We wanted to get Alex in there, get him some live action. We've got him in there, so I think, going forward, he'll be fine."

SOUND SMART
Pederson's sixth leadoff home run placed him in a tie for second-most in Dodgers history, behind only Davey Lopes' seven in 1979.

Video: COL@LAD: Pederson opens the scoring with solo tater

UP NEXT
A pair of National League West aces will clash Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium as the Dodgers and Rockies continue to tangle for first place in the division. Clayton Kershaw, who allowed two earned runs in six innings against the Rockies less than two weeks ago, will take the mound opposite lefty Kyle Freeland, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. PT.

Jack Baer is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Joc Pederson

Baez, Bryant HRs back Hendricks' gem in AZ

Cubs sluggers hit two-run shots behind stellar 8 2/3 innings
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

PHOENIX -- Even when Kris Bryant wasn't hitting home runs, Javier Baez felt better about having him back in the Cubs lineup.

"I think just having him in the lineup changes the way the other team has to pitch to us," Baez said of Bryant, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury all of August. "They either are going to pick him or [Anthony Rizzo] or me or [Ben Zobrist] or whoever is in between. We have to play as a team. If we play as a team, nobody can beat us."

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PHOENIX -- Even when Kris Bryant wasn't hitting home runs, Javier Baez felt better about having him back in the Cubs lineup.

"I think just having him in the lineup changes the way the other team has to pitch to us," Baez said of Bryant, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury all of August. "They either are going to pick him or [Anthony Rizzo] or me or [Ben Zobrist] or whoever is in between. We have to play as a team. If we play as a team, nobody can beat us."

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On Monday night, Baez and Bryant both delivered, hitting two-run homers to back Kyle Hendricks in the Cubs' 5-1 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.

"It's just a matter of time, just like you saw today," Hendricks said of the Cubs' offense, which has sputtered lately. "We just have to try to keep our team in the ballgame and then they'll come through."

Hendricks gave up three hits over 8 2/3 innings to help the Cubs maintain a 2 1/2-game lead in the National League Central over the Brewers, who beat the Reds, 8-0, in Milwaukee.

Hendricks 1 out from complete game in 3-hitter

Video: CHC@ARI: Hendricks K's 8 over 8 2/3 of 1-run ball

Arizona starter Patrick Corbin didn't make it easy on the Cubs. When they faced the lefty on July 23 at Wrigley Field, he struck out nine over seven innings. Corbin picked up where he left off, striking out seven while taking a shutout into the sixth before Baez's homer led a three-run frame that ended Corbin's night.

The Cubs came into the game having scored one run vs. the Reds in each of their last two games. Baez had been in a mini funk with three RBIs in his last 13 games. His home run with one out in the sixth raised his season total to an NL-leading 105 RBIs.

If you watched Baez homer, you could tell he was talking to himself.

"I'm just playing the game with passion," Baez said. "I was talking to myself, honestly. I just said, 'Hit the fricking pitch. Hit that fricking pitch.' I was sitting on it.

"The first at-bat, I knew he was going to throw [a slider] to me, 3-2. I was trying to get that walk right there, but I swung and [struck out]. I was just mad, and then the next at-bat, I rolled over the pitch I hit, a fastball. I was really mad at myself that I wasn't making adjustments."

Baez got revenge in his third at-bat, hitting his 32nd home run on an 80.7-mph slider.

Nostradeshaies? JD predicts KB's homer

Video: CHC@ARI: Deshaies predicts Bryant's 2-run homer

Bryant, who was activated off the disabled list on Sept. 1, had not homered since July 20 when he launched an 0-1 pitch from Randall Delgado with one on in the eighth for his 12th home run.

"He clicked it to the right side," manager Joe Maddon said of Bryant's opposite-field shot. "When we first saw him several years ago, that's who he was. It's always about feel, so hopefully he gains some feel from that. Before that, the line drive was properly struck, too."

Monday was Day 28 of the Cubs' extended stretch of 30 days in a row with a game scheduled. They're 17-10, and nobody has complained of fatigue.

"At this point, it's kind of normal," Hendricks said. "We just know we're playing every day. That's all there is to it. We gained a couple hours coming here, almost felt like half an off-day from yesterday to today."

"You don't get a do-over," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "We're going to play a quarter of our season with one off-day. It will be something nice to overcome."

Video: CHC@ARI: Maddon on Hendricks' start in 5-1 win

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Maddon lifted Hendricks after Paul Goldschmidt singled with two outs in the ninth. Justin Wilson threw one pitch to Daniel Descalso, then catcher Willson Contreras fired to shortstop Addison Russell to catch Goldschmidt attempting to steal second base, ending the game.

"We were very pitch efficient out of the bullpen once again," Maddon said. "The boys conjured that up on the mound themselves. I was not part of that. Give them credit."

Goldschmidt realized the trap too late.

"They weren't holding me on, obviously, and just was going to go into second," Goldschmidt said. "I think they knew what I was going to do, set me up and the guy was quick to home and Contreras can throw as good as anyone and they got me right there. It was a good play by them and a mistake on my part, 100 percent, and I'll be ready for it the next time, hopefully."

Video: CHC@ARI: Contreras throws 87 mph to nab Goldy

HE SAID IT
"I used to get nervous. With this year that I've been having and the goals that I was looking forward to, getting the Gold Glove and 30 homers and 100 RBIs, it kind of slowed me down a little bit. When they're yelling 'M-V-P' now, it doesn't speed me up like it used to do. I help my team a lot -- that's what counts, really." -- Baez, on hearing Cubs fans at Chase Field chanting M-V-P when he was at the plate

Video: CHC@ARI: Hendricks, Baez on dominant performances

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Albert Almora Jr. singled to open the sixth, the first time the Cubs had a leadoff batter reach. He advanced to third on Bryant's single and scored when Rizzo hit a grounder to second baseman Descalso, who flipped to shortstop Nick Ahmed for a 4-6-3 double play. The Cubs challenged, believing Rizzo had beat the throw to first, and the call was overturned after review. That set up Baez's blast, which opened a 3-0 lead.

Rizzo's hustle did not go unnoticed.

"That goes underrated all the time -- when a guy beats out the backside of a double play and then the home run ensues," Maddon said.

Video: CHC@ARI: Rizzo notches RBI on overturned double play

UP NEXT
Mike Montgomery (4-5, 3.87 ERA) will make his 17th start of the season on Tuesday in the second game of this three-game series in the desert. Montgomery, who is 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA as a starter, has not pitched beyond 4 1/3 innings since Aug. 7. Arizona will counter with right-hander Matt Andriese (3-5, 4.76) in the 8:40 p.m. CT matchup at Chase Field.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks

Four HRs keep Cards in thick of WC chase

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ATLANTA -- The Cardinals' 11-6 win on Monday night was hardly a few minutes old when manager Mike Shildt took the lineup card from his pocket and jotted a note: "Answered back," it read.

Such was the story of the night.

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ATLANTA -- The Cardinals' 11-6 win on Monday night was hardly a few minutes old when manager Mike Shildt took the lineup card from his pocket and jotted a note: "Answered back," it read.

Such was the story of the night.

View Full Game Coverage

For every punch the Braves landed in the series opener at SunTrust Park, the Cardinals matched it with a counter. Each one was necessary, too, to assure the Cardinals sole possession of the National League's second Wild Card spot.

Kicking off the final two-week sprint toward October, the Cardinals headed back on the road to open the first of three remaining series against clubs currently in postseason position. It took them four home runs and scoring in five innings before they found a lead that went unthreatened.

Yadier Molina provided the knockout punch when, after helping Carlos Martinez navigate through a bases-loaded mess in the eighth, he stepped to plate and delivered a two-run blast.

"Big momentum switches back to us," Shildt said. "A lot of good team at-bats."

With three consecutive losses to the Dodgers in their previous series, the Cardinals lost the wiggle room they once had in the Wild Card standings. But Adam Wainwright revived the club on Sunday, and the offense stepped up when the pitching slipped on Monday. It positioned the club to keep a handle on a Wild Card spot while the Dodgers and Rockies dueled late on Monday.

The Dodgers, 8-2 winners, take over the lead in the NL West, with the Rockies falling behind the Cardinals in the Wild Card chase.

"We know as a group that we have to come here and we have to go home and we have to go to Chicago and play well if we want to make it [to the postseason]," Molina said. "Right now, this win, the way we hit today, hopefully we stay like that."

Twice on Monday the Cardinals watched three-run leads fade to one, only to answer back with three more runs. It happened early with homers from Kolten Wong and Paul DeJong, then late when Harrison Bader, freshly inserted as a defensive replacement, connected for a three-run blast off reliever Jesse Biddle.

Video: STL@ATL: DeJong mashes a 2-run jack to left-center

That homer followed a crucial escape by Dakota Hudson, who stranded the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position to close the seventh.

Video: STL@ATL: Hudson fans Camargo to escape a jam in 7th

"It's just a matter of constantly scoring, because one inning they could turn on a four-spot really quickly," Bader said. "That's been the nature of this offense the past two months, to continually pour on runs."

Bader's 11th homer of the season also built a necessary cushion for Martinez, who was scripted for a two-inning save since Jordan Hicks (workload) and Bud Norris (callused finger) were unavailable. After breezing through an eight-pitch appearance one night earlier, Martinez labored, as the feel for his sinker and cutter abandoned him.

Against Martinez, the Braves pulled within two and, with two outs, loaded the bases for Freddie Freeman. But Freeman, who earlier homered off starter Miles Mikolas, struck out swinging on a full-count slider

"It was a game-deciding moment, for sure," Shildt said.

Video: STL@ATL: Martinez K's Freeman to leave bases loaded

Molina's home run an inning later gave the Cardinals enough breathing room that they didn't have to push Martinez any further. That could allow for Martinez, who threw 32 pitches, to be available again in this series.

Long before Martinez was summoned, the Cardinals pounced on Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz for six runs over 4 2/3 innings. Wong drove in three with his first multi-hit game since returning from the disabled list.

Video: STL@ATL: Wong cracks a solo homer to right field

And as it's been all season, that was enough for Mikolas. With a five-inning, two-run start, Mikolas improved to 16-0 when receiving two or more runs of support.

"I've been fortunate that when I pitch, we have great offense and we've put up runs and we play great defense and everything has come together," Mikolas said. "It's been a great season for me."

Video: STL@ATL: Mikolas K's 6 over 5 frames to earn 16th wi

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A substitution made with defense in mind paid off on both ends for Shildt. With a 6-4 lead, Shildt sent Bader to center and, in turn, shifted Yairo Munoz to right. That positioned Munoz to be the one fielding Nick Markakis' double off the right-field wall in the seventh -- and, respecting Munoz's arm, the Braves opted to hold Freeman at third on the hit. Hudson followed with a strikeout to strand Freeman as the tying run.

Minutes later, Bader stepped in for his first at-bat and crushed a 406-foot home run. It was his first career home run off the bench.

"I was just cheering my teammates on for all those innings and just pacing the dugout, knowing that at some point my name was going to be called on," Bader said. "I was just mentally preparing for what that was going to look like."

Video: STL@ATL: Bader provides insurance with 3-run home run

SOUND SMART
The Cardinals remain the only NL team without a loss at SunTrust Park over multiple series, and ran their winning streak in Atlanta to seven games with Monday's victory.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Molina's ninth-inning blast was also the 144th of his career, tying him with his brother Bengie for the most in the Molina family. Their other brother, Jose, finished his career with 39.

"I feel good that we, as a family, have had this type of career," Molina said afterward. "Bengie had a good career. Jose, too. Just to be around with them has been a great honor."

Video: STL@ATL: Molina extends Cards' lead with 2-run homer

UP NEXT
Austin Gomber (5-1, 3.78 ERA) will look to bounce back from a season-short three-inning start as he takes the mound Tuesday in a 6:35 p.m. CT game against the Braves at SunTrust Park. Gomber did not allow a run in a pair of relief appearances against Atlanta back in June. He's 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA on the road this year. The Braves will counter by starting right-hander Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.01 ERA).

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals

Postseason Picture: Where we are right now

A closer look at the divisions, Wild Cards and tiebreakers
MLB.com

The Dodgers scored a huge 8-2 win over the Rockies to move back into first place by a half-game in the National League West, while Colorado saw its NL MVP candidate, Trevor Story, leave the game with elbow soreness. The clubs resume this crucial series at Dodger Stadium beginning tonight at 10:10 p.m. ET.  

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Brewers both won big to keep pace in the NL Central, with Milwaukee still 2 1/2 games behind Chicago for the division lead. With the Cardinals also winning in Atlanta, St. Louis pulled ahead of the Rockies by half a game for the second NL Wild Card spot, three games behind the Brewers.

The Dodgers scored a huge 8-2 win over the Rockies to move back into first place by a half-game in the National League West, while Colorado saw its NL MVP candidate, Trevor Story, leave the game with elbow soreness. The clubs resume this crucial series at Dodger Stadium beginning tonight at 10:10 p.m. ET.  

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Brewers both won big to keep pace in the NL Central, with Milwaukee still 2 1/2 games behind Chicago for the division lead. With the Cardinals also winning in Atlanta, St. Louis pulled ahead of the Rockies by half a game for the second NL Wild Card spot, three games behind the Brewers.

Postseason bracket

In the Junior Circuit, the Astros' loss to the Mariners reduced their AL West lead to four games over the A's, who had an off-day. The Yankees also rested Monday, and still hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the A's in the Wild Card standings. The Rays' win over the Rangers pulled them to within 6 1/2 games of Oakland for the second Wild Card spot.  

Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the playoff picture, recapping Monday's action and taking a look at where each contender stands heading into today. Within each division, clubs are listed in order of current standing.

Explaining tiebreaker scenarios for '18 postseason

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

RED SOX (103-47, .687)

Status: Clinched postseason berth. Lead NYY by 11 1/2 games for division title and HOU by 9 games for best record in MLB.

Yesterday's result: Off

Key tiebreaker: Boston currently sits in front of AL West-leading Houston, but in the event the Astros catch the Sox, the season series would determine home field in a potential postseason matchup. By winning two of three against the Red Sox in Boston last weekend, the Astros won the season series, 4-3.

Today's schedule: at NYY (1:10 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Tuesday-Thursday at NYY, Sept. 21-23 at CLE, Sept. 28-30 vs. NYY

YANKEES (91-58, .611)

Status: Trail BOS by 11 1/2 games in AL East; lead OAK by 1 1/2 game for first AL Wild Card.

Yesterday's result: Off

Key tiebreaker: If the Yankees and A's tie for the two AL Wild Card spots, home field in the Wild Card Game would go to the winner of the season series, but with each club having won three games, the tiebreaker would go to the club with the better intradivision record. The Yankees (35-28 vs. AL East) hold a lead over the A's (33-34 vs. AL West) in that regard.

Today's schedule: vs. BOS (1:10 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Tuesday-Thursday vs. BOS, Sept. 28-30 at BOS

AL CENTRAL

INDIANS (83-66, .557)

Status: Won AL Central; trail HOU by 10 1/2 games for No. 2 seed in AL.

Yesterday's result: Off

Key tiebreaker: If Cleveland were to pull even with Houston, it still would not host Game 1 of the ALDS, since the Astros took the season series, 4-3.

Today's schedule: vs. CWS (7:10 p.m. ET) 

Key series remaining: Sept. 21-23 vs. BOS

AL WEST

ASTROS (94-56, .627)

Status: Lead OAK by four games; lead CLE by 10 1/2 games for home field in ALDS; trail BOS by 9 games for the AL's best record.

Yesterday's result: Lost to SEA, 4-1. Recap >

Key tiebreaker: If Cleveland pulls even with Houston, the Astros still would host Game 1 of the ALDS, since they took the season series, 4-3. In the event of a tie with Oakland atop the AL West, the Astros would host a one-game tiebreaker by virtue of taking the season series, 12-7.

Today's schedule: vs. SEA (8:10 p.m. ET)

Video: SEA@HOU: Marisnick dives for 2 superb grabs in 8th

ATHLETICS (90-60, .600)

Status: Trail HOU by 4 games in AL West and NYY by 1 1/2 game for first AL Wild Card; lead TB by 6 1/2 games for second AL Wild Card.

Yesterday's result: Off 

Key tiebreaker: If the A's and Yankees tie for the two AL Wild Card spots, home field in the Wild Card Game would go to the winner of the season series, but with both teams having won three games, the tiebreaker would go to the club with the better intradivision record. The Yankees (35-28 vs. AL East) hold a lead over the A's (33-34 vs. AL West) in that regard. If the A's tie the Astros for the AL West crown, Houston would host a one-game tiebreaker by virtue of taking the season series, 12-7.

Today's schedule: vs. LAA (10:05 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Sept. 24-26 at SEA

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

BRAVES (83-67, .553)

Status: Lead PHI by 6 1/2 games in NL East; trail CHC by 5 games for No. 1 seed in NL; lead COL by 1/2 game for No. 2 seed in NL.

Yesterday's result: Lost to STL, 11-6. Recap >

Key tiebreaker: A tie for the division crown would necessitate a tiebreaker game, and the Braves currently have the edge on the Phillies for home field in such a game. Atlanta leads the season series, 7-5, but the clubs have seven games remaining against each other. In the event of a tie for the best record in the NL, the higher seed would be determined by intradivision record, since the Braves and Cubs each won three games apiece in the season series. Atlanta (43-23) currently leads Chicago (37-32) in that department.

Today's schedule: vs. STL (7:35 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Monday-Wednesday vs. STL, Sept. 20-23 vs. PHI, Sept. 28-30 at PHI

Video: STL@ATL: Freeman crushes 2-run homer into the bullpen

PHILLIES (76-73, .510)

Status: Trail ATL by 6 1/2 games in NL East; 6 games out of the second NL Wild Card berth behind STL and COL.

Yesterday's result: Lost to NYM, 9-4. Recap >

Key tiebreaker: A tie for the division crown would necessitate a tiebreaker game, and the Braves currently have the edge on the Phillies for home field in such a game. Philadelphia trails the season series, 7-5, but the clubs have seven games remaining against each other.

Today's schedule: vs. NYM (7:05 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Sept. 20-23 at ATL, Sept. 24-27 at COL, Sept. 28-30 vs. ATL

Video: NYM@PHI: Crawford clears the bases with a triple

NL CENTRAL

CUBS (88-62, .587)

Status: Lead MIL by 2 1/2 games and STL by 5 1/2 games in NL Central; lead ATL by 5 games for No. 1 seed in NL.

Yesterday's result: Beat ARI, 5-1. Recap >

Key tiebreaker: In the event of a tiebreaker game for the division title, the Cubs would have home-field advantage over the Brewers, by virtue of their 11-8 record vs. Milwaukee in the season series. In the event of a tie for the best record in the NL, the higher seed would be determined by intradivision record, since the Cubs and Braves each won three games apiece in the season series. Atlanta (43-23) currently leads Chicago (37-32) in that department.

Today's schedule: at ARI (9:40 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Monday-Wednesday at ARI, Sept. 28-30 vs. STL

Video: CHC@ARI: Deshaies predicts Bryant's 2-run homer

BREWERS (86-65, .570)

Status: Trail CHC by 2 1/2 games in NL Central; lead STL by 3 games for first NL Wild Card.

Yesterday's result: Beat CIN, 8-0. Recap >

Key tiebreaker: The Brewers' final three-game series against the Cardinals on Sept. 24-26 will determine the winner of the season series -- currently tied at 8-8 -- and who would have home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game if the two clubs finished tied for both Wild Card spots.

Today's schedule: vs. CIN (7:40 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Sept. 24-26 at STL

Video: CIN@MIL: Yelich notches his 2nd cycle of '18 vs. Reds

CARDINALS (83-68, .550)

Status: Trail CHC by 5 1/2 games in NL Central; lead COL by a half-game for second NL Wild Card spot, 3 games behind Milwaukee for top NL Wild Card spot.

Yesterday's result: Beat ATL, 11-6. Recap > 

Key tiebreaker: The Cardinals' final three-game series against the Brewers on Sept. 24-26 will determine the winner of the season series -- currently tied at 8-8 -- and thereby who would have home-field advantage in the NL Wild Card Game if the two clubs finished tied for both Wild Card spots. Should St. Louis finish tied with Colorado for the second NL Wild Card spot, the Cardinals would host a tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series, 5-2.

Today's schedule: at ATL (7:35 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Monday-Wednesday at ATL, Sept. 24-26 vs. MIL, Sept. 28-30 at CHC

Video: STL@ATL: Mikolas K's 6 over 5 frames to earn 16th wi

NL WEST

DODGERS (83-68, .550)

Status: Lead COL by a half-game in NL West; trail ATL by a half-game for No. 2 seed in NL.

Yesterday's result: Beat COL, 8-2. Recap > 

Key tiebreaker: Should there be a tiebreaker game for the division title or the final NL Wild Card berth, Los Angeles is currently in position to host the Rockies (10-7 lead in season series) or play at Arizona (9-7 deficit), with more games left against both clubs. The Dodgers lost the season series to the Cardinals, 4-3, so in the event of a tie for a Wild Card spot, Los Angeles would play at St. Louis. 

Today's schedule: vs. COL (10:10 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Monday-Wednesday vs. COL, Sept. 24-26 at ARI

Video: COL@LAD: Pederson slugs 2 homers, makes great catch

ROCKIES (82-68, .547)

Status: Trail LAD by a half-game in NL West; half-game behind STL for second NL Wild Card spot. 

Yesterday's result: Lost to LAD, 8-2. Recap >

Key tiebreaker: In the event of a tie for first place in the division, there would be a tiebreaker game to determine the NL West champion. As things stand now, the Rockies would be on the road for such a game against the Dodgers due to the results of their season series against Los Angeles (7-10), and Colorado's season series with the D-backs is currently even at 8-8. However, the Rockies still have time to move ahead of the D-backs. 

Today's schedule: at LAD (10:10 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Monday-Wednesday at LAD, Sept. 21-23 at ARI

Video: COL@LAD: Story exits with injury mid at-bat in 4th

D-BACKS (78-73, .517)

Status: Trail LAD by 5 games in NL West and STL by 5 games for second NL Wild Card. 

Yesterday's result:  Lost to CHC, 5-1. Recap >

Key tiebreaker: If the D-backs finish tied for the division title or final NL Wild Card berth, season series would determine home-field advantage in an extra game for the right to advance to the NL Wild Card Game. Arizona leads its season series against Los Angeles (9-7) and is tied with Colorado (8-8) and St. Louis (3-3). The D-backs and Rockies meet for a final regular season series from Sept. 21-23 at Chase Field. Home field between Arizona and St. Louis would come down to intradivision record, with the Cardinals (40-30) currently leading the D-backs (36-32) in that race.

Today's schedule: vs. CHC (9:40 p.m. ET)

Key series remaining: Sept. 21-23 vs. COL, Sept. 24-26 vs. LAD

Video: CHC@ARI: Pollock belts a solo homer to right in 9th

POSTSEASON PICTURE

If the playoffs began today, here's how they would look:

Postseason schedule

NL Wild Card Game (Tues., Oct. 2)
Cardinals at Brewers

AL Wild Card Game (Wed., Oct. 3)
Athletics at Yankees

NL Division Series (begins Thurs., Oct. 4)
NL Wild Card Game winner at Cubs
Dodgers at Braves

AL Division Series (begins Fri., Oct. 5)
AL Wild Card Game winner at Red Sox
Indians at Astros

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros

Injury updates: Story, Judge, Aroldis, Fulmer

MLB.com

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors.

Trevor Story, Rockies
Colorado was already down 6-0 to the Dodgers on Monday when its NL MVP candidate had to exit the game in the fourth inning. Story was seen grimacing after whiffing on a changeup thrown by Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, and appeared to be feeling pain in either his right arm or wrist. He was replaced by infielder Pat Valaika. More >

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors.

Trevor Story, Rockies
Colorado was already down 6-0 to the Dodgers on Monday when its NL MVP candidate had to exit the game in the fourth inning. Story was seen grimacing after whiffing on a changeup thrown by Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, and appeared to be feeling pain in either his right arm or wrist. He was replaced by infielder Pat Valaika. More >

Aaron Judge and Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
Judge (fractured right wrist) and Chapman (left knee tendinitis) participated in a simulated game without issues Monday, the Yankees announced.

Judge had 11 at-bats vs. A.J. Cole, Chance Adams and Minor Leaguer Phillip Diehl, while Chapman threw 22 pitches to Tyler Wade and Kyle Higashioka. More >

Video: Judge, Chapman have no issues after simulated games

Michael Fulmer, Tigers
Fulmer's season is likely over, as an MRI exam revealed meniscus damage in the right-hander's right knee, manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday. Fulmer exited Saturday's outing with soreness in the same knee.

Dr. James Andrews will review the exam results for a second opinion before Fulmer and the team decide on the next step. More >

Video: DET@CLE: Fulmer exits the game with an injury

Josh Reddick, Astros
Reddick had to exit Houston's 4-1 loss to the Mariners on Monday with discomfort in his right ankle. Astros manager AJ Hinch stated postgame that Reddick "felt something in his Achilles'" tendon on multiple occasions and will be evaluated. He is currently listed as day to day. More > 

Miguel Sano and Mitch Garver, Twins
Manager Paul Molitor said Sano, who has been sidelined since he suffered a lower left leg injury Sept. 4 against the Astros, could return to the Twins' lineup as soon as Tuesday.

However, Garver remains without a timetable for his return as he continues to deal with concussion-like symptoms after taking a foul ball off the mask Wednesday. More >

Video: NYY@MIN: Garver exits after taking foul ball off mask

Mookie Betts, Red Sox
Betts had to exit Sunday's game against the Mets in the top of the sixth inning due to soreness in his left side. He will be further evaluated.

Prior to coming out, Betts had made back-to-back throws to home plate, the latter of which was a sacrifice fly by Wilmer Flores. Just after the Red Sox had called for a review on that play, manager Alex Cora noticed Betts on the ground trying to stretch out his left side. More >

Video: NYM@BOS: Cora on Betts' soreness in his left side

Kyle Schwarber and Tommy La Stella, Cubs
Schwarber went through outfield drills again Sunday, though Maddon said Schwarber probably wouldn't be available off the bench. He's been battling back issues since Sept. 8.

La Stella was scratched from the lineup due to lower back tightness. He is considered day to day. More > 

Jose Urena and Dan Straily, Marlins
Although he exited Saturday's start after five innings due to cramping in his right hand, Urena is on track to make his next scheduled start, which is at home on Saturday against the Reds.

Straily, however, isn't expected to return this season. The right-hander is dealing with a left oblique strain, which he suffered Sept. 7.

"We haven't officially said he is not going to pitch, but unofficially, he's not going to pitch," manager Don Mattingly said of Straily. More >

Video: MIA@PIT: Straily exits with left oblique strain

Brandon Drury and Justin Shafer, Blue Jays
While Drury (fractured left hand) has permanently shed his removable brace and is set to begin a hitting and throwing progression soon, he remains unlikely to return this season.

"He's going through the way they work it," manager John Gibbons said. "He's definitely healing up. But there's only two weeks left and he hasn't played in a while, so I'm not sure it makes much sense [to play him]."

Shafer has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 flexor strain in his right elbow and will be shut down from throwing at least until Thursday, when the Blue Jays are scheduled to return home. More >

Trevor Cahill, A's
Cahill, who had a trigger point injection to relieve tension in his rhombus muscle Friday, did some light throwing in the outfield Sunday. He is considered day to day after missing his last scheduled start because of inflammation in his upper back.

The next step will be a bullpen session once the team returns home Tuesday. If there are no issues, Cahill could see game action as soon as "the latter part" of the team's six-game homestand, according to manager Bob Melvin. More > 

Jimmy Nelson, Brewers
Nelson left the Brewers last week for the club's Spring Training facility in Phoenix at Maryvale Baseball Park, where he's continuing his rehab with the goal of getting to the mound during instructional league action before the season comes to an end.

Manager Craig Counsell said Nelson threw a bullpen session Wednesday and that the next step will be for Nelson to throw batting practice to live hitters. Doing so would be almost impossible at the big league level, where expanded rosters eat into most of the early batting-practice opportunities, and with the Minor League seasons over, sending Nelson to Arizona was the most logical solution. More > 

Vogelbach's slam keeps Mariners' hopes alive

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

HOUSTON -- Daniel Vogelbach hasn't gotten much playing time since being called up this September, but the big rookie came through again Monday with a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning to lift the Mariners to a 4-1 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Vogelbach's second home run in two days lifted his season -- and career -- total to four and this one breathed some life into a Mariners offense that had been shut out to that point despite eight walks and five hits.

View Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- Daniel Vogelbach hasn't gotten much playing time since being called up this September, but the big rookie came through again Monday with a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning to lift the Mariners to a 4-1 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Vogelbach's second home run in two days lifted his season -- and career -- total to four and this one breathed some life into a Mariners offense that had been shut out to that point despite eight walks and five hits.

View Full Game Coverage

Vogelbach turned around a 98 mph fastball from Hector Rondon, clearing the fence in right center with a two-out shot projected at 398 feet by Statcast™. The 25-year-old now has two homers in six at-bats in September.

Video: SEA@HOU: Vogelbach belts a go-ahead grand slam in 8th

Vogelbach had been 1-for-14 with six strikeouts and one walk as a pinch-hitter in his limited time in the Mariners over the past three seasons. He joins Franklin Gutierrez (2015) and Ben Broussard (2007) as the only Mariners in franchise history with pinch-hit grand slams.

"I think I've learned my lesson pinch-hitting and failing multiple times with trying to be really patient and trying to work an at-bat like I was starting," Vogelbach said after jumping on Rondon's 1-1 fastball. "So I was going up there trying to get something elevated and hard and put a good swing on it and see what happens."

The sudden turnabout set closer Edwin Diaz up for his 56th save as he shut down the Astros in the ninth and now sits alone with the third-most saves in a season in MLB history behind only Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels in 2008 with 62 and Bobby Thigpen of the White Sox in 1990 with 57.

Diaz is 8-for-8 in save opportunities against the Astros this year, allowing just two hits and one run with one walk and 13 strikeouts in eight innings against the defending World Series champs. He's saved each of Seattle's five straight wins at Minute Maid Park.

Video: SEA@HOU: Diaz works clean 9th for milestone 56th save

The grand slam was the first allowed by the Astros this season and kept them -- for a day at least -- from mathematically eliminating the Mariners in the American League West race. The Mariners improved to 83-67, and their elimination number in the division race remains at two and their Wild Card elimination number still sits at six with 12 games remaining.

Wade LeBlanc allowed just three hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings, leaving his record at 8-4 with a 3.49 ERA. The lefty's only run came on back-to-back doubles by Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez in the fourth.

Video: SEA@HOU: LeBlanc K's 5 in 5 1/3 frames of 1-run ball

Mariners manager Scott Servais credited LeBlanc and the rest of his team for battling through a tough game after a four-hour flight delay out of Anaheim on Sunday night led to a 3 a.m. arrival at their Houston hotel on Monday.

"We had a horrific travel day due to some mechanical issues with the plane and it's tough," Servais said. "Guys were dragging and tired, but they showed up tonight and kept grinding. And it starts with our starting pitcher. Wade kept us in the ballgame and threw really well against a team that's been hot."

Video: SEA@HOU: Servais on Vogelbach's grand slam in win

Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick made two excellent diving plays to rob Ryon Healy and Robinson Cano earlier in the eighth as Houston appeared intent on preserving its 1-0 lead, but Denard Span drew a two-out walk and Vogelbach did the rest.

"Jake has done that to us a few times," said Servais. "He's a really good defender, no question about it. The ball that Healy hit and the one that Cano hit, you're thinking, 'Gosh, it may not be our night.' But we figured out a way to hit one where he couldn't catch it."

Video: SEA@HOU: Marisnick dives for 2 superb grabs in 8th

"That's a big spot in the game and I'm pretty competitive and I want to win," Vogelbach said. "I want to be in that spot 10 out of 10 times. Whether I fail or succeed, I want to be the guy up there. That's how I've been since I was a kid and I'm thankful that Skip gave me the opportunity to hit up there. I'll take that opportunity every time."

SOUND SMART
Mitch Haniger continues to shine both with the bat and glove. The All-Star right fielder threw out Astros catcher Martin Maldonado trying to stretch a single in the fifth inning for his 12th outfield assist of the season, tying him with Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton for the most in the Majors. Haniger has two more outfield assists than any other right fielder in either league.

"It's unbelievable how accurate his arm has become," Servais said. "He's certainly got enough arm strength to finish and throw guys out. All those plays, they add up in a 1-0 game and you're just trying to hang in there til we could get that big rally going."

Video: SEA@HOU: Haniger throws out Maldonado from deep right

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Guillermo Heredia also helped LeBlanc out defensively in the fifth inning when he raced in on a high popup into shallow center field by Evan Gattis to make a sliding catch just before the ball hit the turf. Heredia reached an elite speed level of 30.1 feet per second, according to Statcast™, covering 100 feet in 5.3 seconds. The play had a 50 percent catch probability, making it a four-star play on Statcast™'s rating system.

"I didn't know whether to try to blow the ball to make it go further or keep it closer so Dee [Gordon] could get it," LeBlanc said. "I was just hoping somebody could get there. Those are two guys with pretty good range."

Video: SEA@HOU: Heredia slides for a slick backhanded grab

HE SAID IT
"You learn very quickly up here that they don't care what you've done down there. They're going to attack you until you prove you can hit. It's a lot of lessons I've learned as I've kept going, and it's just being aggressive, staying on the fastball and reacting to other things.". -- Vogelbach, on the difference in how he's pitched in the Majors as opposed to Triple-A

UP NEXT
Mike Leake (10-9, 3.99 ERA) gets the start in Tuesday's 5:10 p.m. PT game at Minute Maid Park against Astros rookie right-hander Josh James (0-0, 4.22). Leake has allowed just one earned run with 11 hits, one walk and nine strikeouts over 13 innings in his last two outings, both wins over the Orioles and Angels. He's 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts against Houston this year.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Edwin Diaz, Wade LeBlanc, Daniel Vogelbach

Braves fall, but magic number down to 7

Phils' loss to Mets makes up for seven walks issued by Atlanta hurlers
Special to MLB.com

ATLANTA -- The Braves' pitching spun out of control on Monday night, and the Cardinals made them pay in an 11-6 victory at SunTrust Park, the site of a growing home-field disadvantage.

Despite the defeat -- and the third straight loss at home -- the Braves inched closer to clinching the National League East. Their magic number was reduced to seven when the Phillies lost, 9-4, to the Mets. The Braves' sudden slump has occurred after they compiled a season-high six-game winning streak.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- The Braves' pitching spun out of control on Monday night, and the Cardinals made them pay in an 11-6 victory at SunTrust Park, the site of a growing home-field disadvantage.

Despite the defeat -- and the third straight loss at home -- the Braves inched closer to clinching the National League East. Their magic number was reduced to seven when the Phillies lost, 9-4, to the Mets. The Braves' sudden slump has occurred after they compiled a season-high six-game winning streak.

View Full Game Coverage

Overall, the Braves issued seven walks (one intentional) to Cardinals' batters. Five of them scored. The Cardinals took advantage by smashing four home runs -- and nine extra-base hits overall.

"It just goes down early on to the walks, the walks, the walks," manager Brian Snitker said. "And they all score. That's the big thing."

Video: STL@ATL: Snitker on Braves' 11-6 loss to the Cards

In their past four games, the Braves have walked 32 batters.

"We're being as competitive as we can," said right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (11-10), who couldn't find the strike zone early and labored through a 37-pitch first inning. "When you're not throwing strikes, it's a red flag for the other team to be patient, and that's what everybody has been doing [against us] this whole week."

Still, the Braves had their chances.

After the Braves closed the gap to 6-5, their hopes were seemingly dashed when Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader, a defensive replacement, smashed a two-out, three-run homer off reliever Jesse Biddle in the eighth.

Video: STL@ATL: Acuna Jr. brings in Inciarte with a single

The Braves fought back again, though, getting a run back on Ronald Acuna Jr.'s RBI single in the bottom of the inning before loading the bases off Carlos Martinez. But Freddie Freeman, representing the go-ahead run, struck out on a full-count slider.

"I just didn't get the job done," Freeman said.

Video: STL@ATL: Martinez K's Freeman to leave bases loaded

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina made it academic with a two-run homer in the ninth.

Foltynewicz, who has lost three of his last four decisions, issued four walks (one intentional) and hit a batter in the first inning. The Cardinals built a 3-0 lead they wouldn't lose, eventually making a winner out of right-hander Miles Mikolas (16-4).

"They were good pitches, but just off the plate," Foltynewicz said. "They weren't biting at it."

"[Foltynewicz] didn't look hare-brained wild or anything," Snitker said. "He couldn't hit with his breaking ball to get back into counts. You just can't give free passes like that and expect to [get] away with it."

Video: STL@ATL: Foltynewicz rings up Ozuna in the 3rd inning

After Foltynewicz briefly settled down, twice retiring the side in order, the Braves broke through in the third inning, pulling within a run on Freeman's 22nd home run, a one-out shot into the bullpen.

Video: STL@ATL: Freeman crushes 2-run homer into the bullpen

But the Braves couldn't do enough after that, as the Cardinals kept pounding. A pair of no-doubt homers -- Kolten Wong's solo drive in the fourth and Paul DeJong's two-run clout in the fifth -- put St. Louis up, 6-2.

DeJong's homer was sandwiched by doubles from Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna, both of them crushed off the top of the right-field wall. Two batters later, Foltynewicz's night was done.

It was the shortest -- and arguably, the worst -- outing of Foltynewicz's largely productive season. But from the start, he didn't have it.

After walking leadoff batter Matt Carpenter, Foltynewicz got a pair of infield outs as the runner advanced to third base. But his control problems persisted. He walked Ozuna and Jedd Gyorko, loading the bases, then plunked Molina on the left elbow, forcing in the game's first run. Wong followed with a two-run double to the right-field corner, making it 3-0.

The Cardinals took a four-run lead into the sixth, when the Braves staged a mini-rally with two unearned runs, a sequence that featured major struggles from St. Louis center fielder Yairo Munoz. First, Munoz allowed runners to reach second and third when he misplayed a single by Ender Inciarte. Then he flagged down a sacrifice fly by Tyler Flowers, but his throw was well up the third-base line and Inciarte kept chugging, scoring all the way from second base.

Video: STL@ATL: Braves score a pair on sac fly, error

The Braves again pulled within one, this time on Nick Markakis' two-out RBI double off Cardinals reliever Dakota Hudson in the seventh. But with runners on second and third, Hudson struck out Johan Camargo on a full-count fastball.

Video: STL@ATL: Markakis knocks an RBI double off the wall

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Foltynewicz came close to getting out of the first without allowing a run. With two runners on (both walks) and two outs, he began with a 3-0 count on Gyorko. A line-drive foul and called strike made it 3-2. Foltynewicz kept battling, but so did Gyorko, fouling off three straight pitches. The ninth pitch was ball four.

SOUND SMART
This is the third straight home defeat for the Braves, who are 38-37 at SunTrust Park. The Braves have an NL-best 45-30 record on the road.

HE SAID IT
"Hopefully, it's a stretch we're going through, then we right ourselves and we get on a run again. We've done it time and time again. Things aren't going good, and they have a way of rebounding and turning it around. We're in a rut. We've just got to work through it." -- Snitker

UP NEXT
The Braves will face Cardinals left-hander Austin Gomber (5-1, 3.78 ERA) on Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. When the Braves last faced Gomber, it was distinctly unmemorable (two brief relief stints on June 29 and June 30). But Gomber has since worked his way into the rotation, faring well down the stretch as the Cardinals have climbed back into the postseason race. The Braves will counter with right-hander Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.01).

Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves

Kris Bryant hit a homer after Cubs announcer Jim Deshaies predicted he would

Behind a stellar outing from Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs beat the D-backs on Monday, 5-1  -- but Chicago's night was also told in terms of homers. 

Up 1-0 in the sixth, Javy Baez padded the lead with a two-run shot, complete with a prodigious post-homer celebration. Later in the game, the Cubs got some more breathing room in the form of a two-run homer from Kris Bryant that cleared the right-center-field wall and landed in the pool.

Yanks host Red Sox live on Facebook tonight

Boston's Eovaldi faces former club; Happ goes for New York
MLB.com

One of sports' most storied rivalries is coming to Facebook. Tonight's Yankees-Red Sox tilt at Yankee Stadium -- rescheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET due to a forecast of inclement weather -- will stream live on Facebook presented by Snapple in addition to New York and Boston local broadcasts and MLB Network for out-of-market viewers.

The unique viewing experience is part of MLB's partnership with the social media service, which included 25 exclusive streaming broadcasts in 2018.

One of sports' most storied rivalries is coming to Facebook. Tonight's Yankees-Red Sox tilt at Yankee Stadium -- rescheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET due to a forecast of inclement weather -- will stream live on Facebook presented by Snapple in addition to New York and Boston local broadcasts and MLB Network for out-of-market viewers.

The unique viewing experience is part of MLB's partnership with the social media service, which included 25 exclusive streaming broadcasts in 2018.

• Watch live stream of Red Sox vs. Yankees

Fans can tune in at www.facebook.com/MLBLiveGames or by logging onto Facebook's MLB live page from their phones, tablets, smart TVs or other streaming devices. (Note: The stream is blacked out locally in the New York and Boston markets, but the game will be televised by their local broadcasters.)

How to watch on mobile and desktop

1. Search for "MLB Live" on Facebook

2. Follow the "MLB Live" show page

3. Download the Facebook video app on your TV or streaming device and search for "MLB Live"

4. Or stream the game from your phone to a TV on the same WiFi network by tapping the TV icon.

What to know about the Red Sox-Yankees game

The playoff-bound Red Sox can clinch the American League East during this week's three-game series in the Bronx. The Yankees, meanwhile, are competing with the A's for the AL's top Wild Card spot.

New York could have a big bat returning to their lineup with Aaron Judge potentially set to resume hitting this week. Judge (chip fracture in his right wrist) was activated off the disabled list last week, but has not yet been cleared to bat. He saw game action for the first time since July 26, playing the field for two innings against the Blue Jays on Friday.

Video: TOR@NYY: Judge, Boone on the outfielder's return

"I would say it's a po