Last night the Phillies sent Kyle Kendrick to the mound trying to guarantee them at least a .500 record for the season. Kendrick gave the Phillies exactly what they needed. He pitched seven shutout innings allowing just four hits and striking out four. The biggest strike out came in the bottom of the sixth as Mike Morse was up with Bryce Harper on third and two outs and the Phillies up 2-0. With a 3-2 count and the Nationals fans on their feet cheering, Kendrick’s pitch started outside but tailed back in over the outside corner for a called third strike. It was a beautiful pitch from Kendrick to get out of the jam. The Phillies got their 2-0 lead in the second inning when Darin Ruf tripled to left to plate Dom Brown and Carlos Ruiz. Despite the loss, the Nationals clinched the NL East title with the Braves loss. More here.
Monday Night Football featured an NFC East division rival and an NFC rival. The Chicago Bears traveled down to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. The Bears held a modest 10-7 lead at halftime with the Bears only touchdown coming off of a Charles Tillman interception of Tony Romo that he returned for a touchdown. In the second half, Bears QB Jay Cutler was 11-for-12 with 219 passing yards and two touchdowns to help pace the Bears offense. The Bears defense did not let up on the Cowboys as, all-in-all, they intercepted Romo five times and returned two of his picks for touchdowns as they cruised to a 34-18 rout of Dallas dropping the Cowboys to 2-2. More here.
Heading into the bottom half of the second inning, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, both of whom are battling for the AL East division title, were tied 0-0. The Orioles would stay tied after two innings but the Yankees would take the lead from the Red Sox in a big way. The Yankees exploded for nine runs in the second to take a 9-0 lead. They would cruise to a 10-2 win over their rival. Ultimately, the Orioles would fall to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 so the Yankees now have a one game lead in the AL East with two games to play. More here.
Around MLB other teams were clinching playoff berths as well. The Oakland Athletics took down the Texas Rangers 4-3 last night to clinch their first playoff birth since 2006. Interestingly enough, the win pulls the A’s to within one game of the Rangers for first place in the AL West. A sweep of the Rangers would give the A’s the AL West title. More on that here. The Detroit Tigers, who stumbled their way through most of the season, have taken advantage of the Chicago White Sox late season collapse (3-7 in their last 10 games) to clinch the AL Central title with a record of 87-73. More here.