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Braun's grand slam helps lift Brewers into playoffs

by The Associated Press | September 26, 2019 at 2:43 a.m.

CINCINNATI -- A sizzlin' September topped off by a frothy celebration. Nobody does it better down the stretch than these Milwaukee Brewers, who lost MVP Christian Yelich and beat long odds to get back in the postseason for a second consecutive season.

And nobody can count them out, not even with Yelich reduced to watching through champagne-clouded eyes.

Yelich stood in the middle of the clubhouse and got drenched with bubbly and beer Wednesday night after a 9-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds clinched at least a wild card berth and left the NL Central title tantalizingly close.

"Obviously I can't contribute on the field, but it's been really cool to watch," said Yelich, who's recovering from a broken kneecap and rejoined the team for the clincher. "We're more than a one-man team. We've got a lot of players who have done a lot of great things in the big leagues."

Especially in September.

The Brewers have won six in a row and 17 of 19 despite losing Yelich. The division-leading Cardinals fell again on Wednesday, slicing their lead over the Brewers to 1½ games. Milwaukee trails Washington by one game for the wild card lead.

"It was really against all odds, what we just accomplished," said Ryan Braun, who got the clincher started with a grand slam in the first inning. "It's incredibly difficult. It's hard to articulate how unlikely what we just did was but again, there's still challenges that lie ahead."

They've pulled off another improbable run with Manager Craig Counsell's outside-the-box resourcefulness, the bullpen's imperviousness and the offense's ability to find a new star each game with everything on the line.

"I think they enjoy the challenges, and that's what it was," Counsell said. "We got presented a challenge, and it didn't look great. It wasn't impossible."

Braun had a solo shot in a 4-2 win in the series opener, and got the celebration started early Wednesday with his eighth career grand slam. Teammates were on their feet, leaning against the dugout railing in anticipation of a big night, when he connected off Tyler Mahle (2-12).

PIRATES 4, CUBS 2 Collapsing Chicago was eliminated from playoff contention shortly before losing its eighth consecutive game, falling to host Pittsburgh.

NATIONALS 5, PHILLIES 2 Wilmer Difo drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh and Anibal Sanchez pitched seven solid innings to help Washington beat visiting Philadelphia.

METS 10, MARLINS 3 Pete Alonso hit his major league-high 51st home run and Jacob deGrom made his last overpowering pitch for a repeat Cy Young Award as host New York routed Miami in an easy victory that wasn't enough to keep the Mets in the playoff hunt.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

TWINS 5, TIGERS 1 Randy Dobnak allowed one hit in six sparkling innings, and Luis Arraez and Eddie Rosario homered to lead visiting Minnesota over Detroit. The Twins later clinched the division title when Cleveland lost to the White Sox in Chicago.

BLUE JAYS 3, ORIOLES 2 Rowdy Tellez hit two solo home runs, Jacob Waguespack pitched six shutout innings and host Toronto beat Baltimore.

RAYS 4, YANKEES 0 Charlie Morton and the Rays bullpen combined on a one-hitter and Tampa Bay held its lead in the AL wild-card race, beating visiting New York.

RED SOX 10, RANGERS 3 Christian Vazquez, Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers homered, and Rick Porcello won what could be his final start as Boston beat host Texas.

WHITE SOX 8, INDIANS 3 Shane Bieber got tagged early and visiting Cleveland lost ground in the AL wild-card race, falling to Chicago.

INTERLEAGUE

BRAVES 10, ROYALS 2 Josh Donaldson had a career-high three doubles while driving in four runs, Dansby Swanson had a career-high four hits while driving in two, and Atlanta cruised over host Kansas City.

Wednesday’s games

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona 9, St. Louis 7

Milwaukee 9, Cincinnati 2

Pittsburgh 4, Chicago Cubs 2

Washington 5, Philadelphia 2

NY Mets 10, Miami 3

Colorado at San Francisco, (n)

LA Dodgers at San Diego, (n)

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Minnesota 5, Detroit 1

Toronto 3, Baltimore 2

Tampa Bay 4, NY Yankees 0

Boston 10, Texas 3

Chicago White Sox 8, Cleveland 3

Oakland at LA Angels, (n)

Houston at Seattle, (n)

INTERLEAGUE

Atlanta 10, Kansas City 2

Sports on 09/26/2019

Print Headline: Braun's grand slam helps lift Brewers into playoffs

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