Marlins blank Cubs to advance, Padres use nine pitchers to oust Cardinals

Los Angeles (AFP) –


The San Diego Padres used nine different pitchers to shut out the St. Louis Cardinals and punch their ticket to the second round of the Major League Baseball playoffs with a 4-0 winner-take-all victory in game three on Friday night.

San Diego's bullpen by committee resulted in nine pitchers combining for a nine-inning MLB shutout for the first time since 1901.

Austin Adams pitched one inning of relief to get the win and right hander Trevor Rosenthal recorded the final out as the Padres won the wild card playoff contest 4-0 at Petco Park in San Diego.

The Padres will now face the top seeded Los Angeles Dodgers in a best-of-five NL Divisional Series in the quarantine bubble in Texas.

The Padres' Eric Hosmer started the scoring with a run-batted-in double to the wall in the fifth inning. San Diego broke the game open with a two-run seventh and tacked on another run with a late Jake Cronenworth homer to win their first playoff series since 1998 -- when they reached the World Series against the New York Yankees.

Cronenworth capped the scoring by blasting a towering 407 foot home run in the eighth inning. Cronenworth finished with three hits and scored two runs in the game three win.

- Cooper lifts Marlins -

Also, Garrett Cooper smacked a two-out home run off Chicago's Yu Darvish and the Miami Marlins defeated the Cubs 2-0 to advance.

The Marlins, who hadn't reached the playoffs since winning the 2003 World Series, captured their best-of-three first round series with the host Cubs in two games.

"That's probably the best feeling I've had in my baseball career, the biggest home run that I've had in my baseball career," Cooper said. "It's just something that you can't explain."

Next for Miami will be National League East division rival Atlanta to decide a berth in the National League Championship Series.

Darvish hurled 6 2/3 scoreless innings but was sent to the showers after Cooper homered and Matt Joyce doubled to set up a run-scoring single by Magneuris Sierra for a 2-0 Marlins edge.

The 34-year-old Japanese right-hander surrendered two runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts, throwing 69 of his 94 pitches for strikes.

Miami rookie starter Sixto Sanchez pitched five scoreless innings allowing four hits and two walks, and he struck out six.

Reliever Brad Boxberger got the win pitching 1 1/3 innings. Richard Bleier and Yimi Garcia also held Chicago in check, and Brandon Kintzler completed the five hit shutout by earning the save.

Right fielder Matt Joyce also had a strong performance for the Marlins as he cut down a runner at the plate and then doubled, which led to a run.

"The one thing that we talked about all year was why not us?" said manager Don Mattingly of the sixth-seeded Marlins, who lost 105 games last year. "With this kind of pitching, you can do anything. ... You feel like you've got a good shot at kind of stopping almost anybody if you make pitches."

Miami's Corey Dickerson and Jon Berti were walked by Cubs reliever Craig Kimbrel to begin the eighth but Jesus Aguilar grounded into a double play and Kimbrel struck out Brian Anderson to end the Marlins' threat.

The Cubs had their last chance in the ninth and Jason Heyward opened with a double to left field. But Miami reliever Brandon Kintzler struck out Javier Baez, David Bote and pinch-hitter Jason Kipnis to end the Cubs' season and advance.