Since there was a lot of important baseball Sunday afternoon that all started at about the same time, rather than give you a traditional recap of the Cubs’ 3-2 rain-shortened win over the Cardinals, I decided to keep track of when important things happened in other games (as well as in the Cubs game) and present them to you chronologically.
The other games with playoff implications: Red Sox at Nationals, Rays at Yankees, Orioles at Blue Jays, Angels at Mariners, Padres at Giants and Brewers at Dodgers.
Here goes! (All times Central)
2:07 p.m. Shohei Ohtani leads off the game in Seattle with a home run, his 46th. It’s 1-0 Angels over Mariners.
2:15 p.m. George Springer leads off the bottom of the first in Toronto with a home run, 1-0 Jays over O’s.
2:23 p.m. The Cubs/Cardinals game is the last of the afternoon to start due to a ceremony honoring retiring Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon.
2:26 p.m. Frank Schwindel singles, keeping this streak going:
2:30 p.m. Matt Duffy extends his hitting streak to 13, tying the Cubs’ longest of the season (with Schwindel and Kris Bryant), during a rain shower. It’s the longest streak of Duffy’s career and gives the Cubs a 1-0 lead [VIDEO].
2:36 p.m. Tommy Edman hits Alec Mills’ first pitch out of the yard, Cubs and Cardinals tied 1-1.
2:41 p.m. Nationals take a 1-0 lead over the Red Sox and the Angels extend their lead to 3-0 over Seattle.
2:44 p.m. Max Muncy of the Dodgers suffers a possibly serious injury [VIDEO].
After the game:
#Dodgers Dave Roberts on SportsNet LA says team is still "waiting on results" from examination of Max Muncy's injured elbow— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 3, 2021
2:50 p.m. Trent Giambrone strikes out, the first Cubs K of the game. They are seven short of tying and eight short of breaking the all-time MLB record for batter strikeouts.
2:52 p.m. Buster Posey’s two-run single gives the Giants a 2-0 lead over San Diego.
2:54 p.m. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homers, Jays lead Baltimore 5-0.
2:58 p.m. The Cardinals hit into a double play, but a run scores, giving them a 2-1 lead. Meanwhile in Toronto, Baltimore’s Tyler Nevin (son of former Cub Phil Nevin) hits his first MLB home run.
3:06 p.m. Schwindel and Ian Happ strike out, that’s three K’s for the Cubs, now five short of tying, six short of breaking the record.
3:17 p.m. George Springer hits his second homer of the game in Toronto, a grand slam, giving the Jays a 9-1 lead. Rafael Devers homers for the Red Sox in Washington, they trail 2-1, and Tommy La Stella singles in two runs for the Giants and a 3-1 lead.
3:24 p.m. Rain hits Busch Stadium again, this time hard enough to put the tarp on the field and delay the game. Meanwhile, the Giants go up on the Padres 6-1 on RBI singles by Wilmer Flores and LaMonte Wade Jr.
3:38 p.m. Gio Urshela of the Yankees makes a fantastic catch and falls into the Rays dugout:
Urshela did get up and walk off under his own power, but limping. He left the game.
3:41 p.m. Cubs rain delay ends, play resumes in St. Louis. The delay lasted... 17 minutes.
3:50 p.m. Tyler Payne bats for Mills, making his MLB debut. This substitution makes Payne the 68th player to play for the Cubs this year, breaking the MLB record for most players used in a season. Payne strikes out, K number 4.
3:59 p.m. Duffy’s second hit of the game, a single, drives in Schwindel to give the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].
4:00 p.m. After Ian Happ walked, a TOOTBLAN ended the Cubs’ fifth inning [VIDEO].
4:02 p.m. Joe Biagini entered for the Cubs in relief. He’s the 69th player used by the Cubs this year, extending their record. Nice!
4:05 p.m. The Nationals score three, taking a 5-2 lead over the Red Sox.
4:17 p.m. Trayce Thompson strikes out, K number 5.
4:21 p.m. Giambrone strikes out for the second time, K number 6.
4:31 p.m. Greg Deichmann strikes out, K number 7.
4:34 p.m. Payne strikes out for the second time. The Cubs’ eighth K of the game is their 1,595th of the 2021 season, tying the MLB record set by the 2019 Tigers.
4:38 p.m. Rafael Ortega strikes out to end the top of the seventh. The Cubs’ ninth K of the game sets a new MLB record, 1,596 strikeouts.
4:52 p.m. It starts raining in St. Louis just before the eighth inning is about to begin, and the Cubs/Cardinals game is delayed again.
4:53 p.m. The Red Sox plate three runs in the top of the eighth and tie the Nats 5-5.
5:02 p.m. The Giants complete an 11-4 win and clinch the NL West title with a 107-55 record.
5:12 p.m. The Yankees walk off the Rays 1-0 on a single by Aaron Judge and, with a 92-70 record, clinch a wild card spot.
5:16 p.m. The Cubs exchange high fives in the dugout in St. Louis as the game is called after seven innings, giving the Cubs a 3-2 win in a seven-inning game that wasn’t scheduled to be that length. They finish the year 71-91, and 9-10 against the Cardinals. Biagini’s three scoreless innings get him the win. It’s the first time the Cardinals have lost consecutive games since September 4-7, when they lost four in a row.
5:30 p.m. The Dodgers defeat the Brewers 10-3, but fall one game short of forcing a tiebreaker with the Giants. Their 106-56 record is the most wins ever for a team finishing in second place. They will host the Cardinals Wednesday in the NL Wild Card Game.
5:35 p.m. Devers hits his second homer of the game, giving the Red Sox a 7-5 lead over the Nats.
5:52 p.m. The Red Sox complete their 7-5 win over Washington and clinch the top AL wild card spot.
And so, another Cubs (and MLB) season is in the books. This one, obviously, did not end the way any of us had hoped. The sub Cubs who took over after the big selloff went 21-37, which is not a good record — but some people thought the Cubs might not win 10 games after the selloff, and they did somewhat better. The Cubs were 50-54 at the trade deadline, a .481 winning percentage. Had they continued at that pace, they’d have won 78 games. So... 71 isn’t THAT much worse than the World Series core was doing when they departed.
There will be game threads here throughout the postseason, beginning with the AL Wild Card Game between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway Park Tuesday evening (sheesh, the network execs got their wish after all). There will also be some looks back at the 2021 season and forward to 2022 as we head into an uncertain winter for both the Cubs and MLB as a whole, with the labor agreement ending December 1. And, I’ll certainly have some history pieces here all winter and other fun offseason features.
I’ll end today as I traditionally do on the last day of the season, with this passage from the late Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s “The Green Fields of the Mind”:
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.