Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

St. Louis Cardinals top Atlanta Braves in wild NL wild card

ATLANTA — The Cardinals rediscovered their postseason touch. Chipper Jones and the Braves kept throwing the ball away. And Atlanta's fans turned their field into a trash heap.

In a game protested by the Braves, Matt Holliday homered and the defending World Series champion Cardinals rode three Atlanta throwing errors — the most crucial of them by the retiring Jones — to take the NL wild-card playoff 6-3 Friday.

MLB executive Joe Torre said the protest was denied, so St. Louis faces Washington in the division round, beginning Sunday at Busch Stadium.

Jones, 40, had an infield hit in his final at-bat but threw away a double-play ball in the fourth, which led to three runs and wiped out a 2-0 lead. "Ultimately, I feel I'm the one to blame," the third baseman said. "That should have been a tailor-made double play."

But the game will be remembered for a disputed call in the eighth on a fly ball that dropped in short left.

Andrelton Simmons' fly ball fell between shortstop Pete Kozma and leftfielder Matt Holliday when they miscommunicated on who would catch it. That would have loaded the bases with one out. But leftfield ump Sam Holbrook called Simmons out via the infield fly rule.

Angry fans flung trash on the field, leading to a 19-minute delay as the Cardinals retreated to their dugout. "It was scary at first," Cards catcher Yadier Molina said. "I've never seen that before."

Holbrook and umpiring supervisor Charlie Reliford defended the call.

"Once that fielder established himself, he got ordinary effort," Holbrook said, referring to Kozma calling for the ball. "That's when the call was made."

Braves president John Schuerholz apologized for the actions of the crowd, which left Holbrook fearing for his safety. "When cans are flying past your head, yeah, a little bit," he said.

The infield fly is a complicated rule, designed to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a popup with more than one runner on base and perhaps get an extra out. No one could ever remember it being applied like this. Just a split-second before the ball hit the grass, Holbrook threw up his right arm to signal an automatic out. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez stormed onto the field to object.

"I was stunned," Simmons said. "I've seen it made shallow, but not that deep (in the outfield), pretty much in leftfield. I don't think anybody has seen that one before."

A protest usually would be in written form and decided in 24 hours, but since it was a one-game playoff, Torre made the call right away. "I ruled to disallow the protest based on the fact it's a judgment call," he said.

Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

RHP Ryne Stanek continues to look comfortable and confident as the game opener, retiring all five batters he faced. His six starts now cover a complete game, and he has allowed only two runs in the nine innings.OF Carlos Gomez's feelings about not li...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

UPDATE, 6:40: Cash said he had a good talk with Hechavarria, and that he understood the situation. Cash said Hechavarria will get to play some, and when he does it will be at short. … RHP Chris Archer (abdominal strain) is slated to throw a bul...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

CF Kevin Kiermaier is here in Houston and will work out with the Rays today, and said that if all goes well he will be activated on Tuesday.That would be a couple days ahead of his most recent timetable, which had him slated to return to Friday.Kierm...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays drop three of four in New York

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays drop three of four in New York

The Rays lose three of four games in New York as Rick Stroud says they fail to figure out the Yankees' pitching. With Christian Arroyo injured, they activate Adeiny Hechavarria — one of the stars of Sunday's win — from the disabled list a...
Published: 06/18/18
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays. The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last ...
Published: 06/18/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game

The Rays remain committed to using an "opener" three times in five game stretches, but that seems to tax the bullpen too much. Wilmer Font showed Sunday that he should be able to handle starting, at least until Chris Archer returns.It was only one wi...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays.The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last week’s p...
Published: 06/17/18

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game

The Rays remain committed to using an "opener" three times in five game stretches, but that seems to tax the bullpen too much. Wilmer Font showed Sunday that he should be able to handle starting, at least until Chris Archer returns.e_SClBIt was only ...
Published: 06/17/18
Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

NEW YORK — You had seen this game before.So had the radio guys, the coaches, the manager, the players and, certainly, the bosses.The Rays grab an early lead over the Yankees. They look like they are headed to a rare win in the Bronx. And then when th...
Published: 06/17/18
Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

NEW YORK – You had seen this game before.So had the radio guys, the coaches, the manager, the players and, certainly, the bosses.The Rays grab an early lead over the Yankees. They look like they are headed to a rare win in the Bronx. And t...
Published: 06/17/18