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MLB wild-card updates: Padres shut out Cardinals, advance to NLDS showdown vs. Dodgers

Mike Oz
·5-min read
Padres set up NLDS showdown with Dodgers after shutting out the Cardinals. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Padres set up NLDS showdown with Dodgers after shutting out the Cardinals. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

During MLB’s busy wild-card series, we’ll keep you updated right here on results, must-see moments and what’s next in each matchup.

Game 3: San Diego Padres 4, St. Louis Cardinals 0

What happened?: The San Diego Padres are moving on to the National League Division Series after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the wild-card series. The victory sets up an epic showdown with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After appearing down and out halfway through Game 2, the Padres bats came alive to save their season. San Diego hit five home runs from the sixth inning on in Thursday's thrilling win. In Game 3, it was all about San Diego’s pitching staff. Nine pitchers combined on the shutout, limiting the Cardinals to five hits and two walks.

San Diego’s creative pitching usage was a theme in the series. With his best two starters (Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet) and three key relievers (Andres Muñoz, José Castillo and Kirby Yates) unavailable, manager Jayce Tingler was forced to dig deep into his reserves. In Game 3, he actually started veteran reliever Craig Stammen, who recorded five outs. Overall, Padres starters pitched just six innings in the series.

It was a different story for St. Louis. Ace Jack Flaherty put his recent struggles behind him to pitch six innings of one-run ball. He took the hard-luck loss after allowing doubles to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning. San Diego added two more runs against reliever Alex Reyes in the seven inning thanks to two Cardinals’ errors.

In the eighth, rookie Jake Cronenworth hit San Diego’s first home run in a winner-take-all postseason game.

What’s next?: The Padres will play the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time ever in the postseason.

A rivalry between the division foes gained steam during the 2020 regular season. The teams met 10 times, with the Dodgers earning a slight 6-4 advantage. During a recent series in San Diego, the Dodgers took exception to Trent Grisham admiring a home run. That could add more fuel to the October fire.

Game 1 will take place Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

You see this?: In Game 2, Fernando Tatis Jr. broke out the epic bat flip.

In Game 3, he showed off his fancy footwork.

The Marlins slid past the Cubs in Game 2 of the NL wild-card series. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
The Marlins slid past the Cubs in Game 2 of the NL wild-card series. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Game 2: Miami Marlins 2, Chicago Cubs 0

What happened? The Miami Marlins, the team no one expected to make the playoffs this year, have knocked off the Chicago Cubs and advanced to the National League Division Series.

In a season full of surprises for Miami — some good and some bad — sweeping the Cubs certainly lands in the good category. That this comes after a season plagued by a coronavirus shutdown where the Marlins were just looking for warm bodies who could fill a uniform is even more astounding.

Nothing about this seems like a fluke. The Marlins pitched well Friday, got clutch hits and executed key defensive plays en route to a 2-0 victory. It follows a 5-1 win in Game 1 that was also decidedly tilted toward the Marlins.

These Marlins are a punchline no more. They got through a COVID scare and are now a legit playoff threat.

On Friday, they got a great outing from 22-year-old Sixto Sánchez, who pitched five scoreless innings, struck out six and had seven pitches that exceeded 100 mph on the radar gun.

The game was scoreless until the seventh inning, but the Marlins got on the board when Garrett Cooper hit a solo homer off Cubs starter Yu Darvish (who had been great until that point). The Marlins tacked on their second run later in the inning when Magneuris Sierra singled in Lewis Brinson.

The Cubs threatened in the ninth, when Jason Heyward knocked a lead-off double. But Marlins closer Brandon Kintzler managed to keep them off the board.

The win continues a stat you’ll likely hear more of in the coming week: The Marlins have never lost a postseason series in their franchise history.

What’s next? The Marlins advance to face their NL East rival Atlanta Braves, who swept the Cincinnati Reds. The Braves come into the series with an advantage, having won the season series with the Marlins 6-4. But the postseason is a different beast. The Braves bats came alive in Game 2 against the Reds, but the Marlins pitchers have shown they’re ready for October battles.

Game 1 is slated for Tuesday at the postseason bubble site in Houston at Minute Maid Park. A time for first pitch hasn’t been announced yet.

You see this? A key moment came in the fourth inning when Matt Joyce made the perfect throw to cut down at Cubs run at the plate. It kept the Cubs scoreless and allowed the Marlins to not play from behind.

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