1. A game cannot end this way, but it did, because why have instant play and actually use it? This was awful on all accounts. Here's the play of the night, certainly one of the most controversial of the season:
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 30, 2016
To recap: Yadier Molina hits a two-out double that looks like a ground-rule double. Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Duvall plays the carom -- some on Twitter were criticizing him for not raising his arms, but he did the right thing in continuing to play the ball, because you don't know what the umpires are going to call. Because, you know, sometimes they get the call wrong. Like this time. After Matt Carpenter slid in safe, two things could have happened: (1) The umpires could have asked for a review on their own (they didn't); (2) Reds manager Bryan Price could have asked for a replay (he didn't ... at least not quickly enough).
After 32 seconds, Price finally popped out of the Reds' dugout. But the crew -- let's name names, it was Bill Miller, Tony Randazzo, Brian Knight and Scott Barry -- had already left the field. By rule, a game-ending play needs to be challenged immediately and Price didn't do that, for reasons that make no sense. He should have been out there before Carpenter crossed home plate. From Mark Saxon's story:
"In this situation, Bryan Price did not come up on the top step. We stayed there. I waited for my partners to come off the field. I looked into the dugout, the Cincinnati dugout and Bryan Price made no eye contact with me whatsoever and then, after 30 seconds, he finally realized," Miller said. "Somebody must have told him what had happened and we were walking off the field."
Miller said none of the four umpires had an inkling the ball hit the sign, or they would have reviewed it themselves.
With the win, the St. Louis Cardinals remain a game behind the San Francisco Giants for the second wild card. They Cards finish at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates while the Giants host the Dodgers.
— Matthew Connors (@mlconnors) September 30, 2016
Price said #reds dugout could not hear their phone ring from video guys to alert them to challenge
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) September 30, 2016
I don't think giving the Cards a game they didn't win by the rules is not the punishment we were all expecting MLB to impose in hacking case
— Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) September 30, 2016
2. Johnny Cueto pitches, bunts the Giants to victory. In his first start in nine days after suffering a groin injury, Cueto fanned 11 Colorado Rockies in seven innings. Following the double-digit strikeout games of Matt Moore and Jeff Samardzija, it gave the Giants three straight such games for the first time since Ed Halicki, Pete Falcone and John Montefusco in 1975. So that's pretty cool. It was his sixth inning that broke the game open, however. The Giants had just gone ahead 3-2 and Cueto was up with two on and one out. Considering he'd thrown 98 pitches coming off a strained groin and it was a chance for a big inning, you might think Bruce Bochy would pinch hit for him. Well, Bochy doesn't exactly trust his bullpen right now. Cueto bunted toward third base, Nolan Arenado broke back toward the bag and then tried to make an impossible play that resulted in a throwing error and two runs scoring.
@teacherintherye Johnny Cueto knocking in two runs with a bunt thanks to a Nolan Arenado error is some even year BS if I've ever seen it
— Sarah Wexler (@SarahWexler32) September 30, 2016
I want Johnny Cueto on the team forever and ever
— Kristy (@KristyCagle) September 30, 2016
3. Ubaldo Jimenez won't win the Cy Young Award, but he's pitching like a Cy Young winner. So, is this a good time for your first scoreless outing of the season? Yes, yes it is. The Baltimore Orioles blanked the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 behind Jimenez's 6⅔ innings of one-hit baseball. In seven starts since his return to the rotation this has happened:
Through Aug. 19: 6.94 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, .874 OPS (bad)
Since then: 2.45 ERA, 0.86 ERA, .519 OPS (good!)
Baseball is a crazy game, friends.
Anyway, the Orioles are now tied with the Blue Jays (although the Blue Jays own the tiebreaker if they finish with the same record and would host the wild-card game.
4. Detroit Tigers rained out. The Blue Jays and Orioles are 1½ games ahead of Detroit, which saw its game against the Cleveland Indians rained out. That game will be played Monday only if affects the wild-card race -- if the Tigers are a half-game ahead or a half-game behind in the standings. It will not be played if it only affects Cleveland's chance at home-field advantage. Right now, things look like this:
Texas Rangers: 94 wins
Boston Red Sox: 92 wins
Indians: 91 wins
That potential missing game could actually end up helping the Indians. Since the Red Sox won the season series, they own the tiebreaker. If both teams finish with 94 or 93 wins (and assuming the Rangers win at least 95), the Indians will get home-field advantage for the Division Series due to one fewer loss. The Rangers own the tiebreaker over the Red Sox if they finish tied for the best record.
5. Big Papi plays final game in New York. The New York Yankees beat the Sox 5-1, although they were officially eliminated with the Orioles' victory. Ortiz went 0-for-1 with a walk before removed for a pinch runner.
Glad NY fans saw past the rivalry & cheered for David. And props to the @Yankees for a classy ceremony & gifts. Privileged to witness it...
— Brad Ziegler (@BradZiegler) September 30, 2016
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) September 30, 2016
Oddly, Ortiz went hitless in the series -- the first time that happened in New York since he joined the Red Sox.