Mark Teixeira’s three-run home run capped a five-run fifth inning and Matt Carpenter added another three-run shot in the eighth as the Chicago Cardinals captured their fifth PGBL championship with an 8-3 win over Oakland in Game 6 of the World Series at The Coliseum.
Garret Cole settled down after the Athletes’ three-run first to finish with seven strikeouts in seven-plus innings. Carlos Villanueva retired all four batters he faced, striking out Francisco Cervelli to finish Chicago’s second title in four seasons.
Chicago won the final four games after Oakland took the first two contests at home. Teixeira hit .412 in the Series with three homers and eight RBIs to earn MVP honors.
The Cardinals won 98 games in the regular season but entered the postseason as the North League’s No. 4 seed after finishing third in the Norris Division’s tight three-team battle. Chicago ousted Ottawa in a four-game Divisional Series meeting and topped Cleveland in a six-game NLCS.
The 123-win Athletes were pushed to the brink by Las Vegas in their Division Series before advancing with a 6-2 win in Game 5. Oakland then got three shutouts in the final four games to claim a 4-2 SLCS win over defending champion St. Louis.
The 2016 PGBL season enters its final day with one division championship and one playoff berth still up for grabs, with the Las Vegas Gamblers and Compton Outlawz vying for the final South League wild card.
Las Vegas holds a one-game lead on Compton, with the Gamblers due to pitch Lance Lynn against Twin City while the Outlawz send Chris Archer out against Louisville. Compton needs to win and have the Truckers play spoiler to force a one-game playoff at Las Vegas.
Whichever team earns the spot will grab the No. 4 seed in the SL behind Oakland, St. Louis and Tijuana. The Athletes charged to the best record in the league, clinching the Cactus Division and the top overall seed with ease. St. Louis outdistanced the field in the Confederate Division and Tijuanja retooled at the deadline to hold on to the first wild card spot.
In the North League, the season-long battle royale in the Norris Division will end with all three contenders separated by one game. Boston and Cleveland sit at 98-63 entering the final day, while Chicago finished at 98-64 and claimed the No 4 seed as the second wild card.
The Tribe hold the head-to-head tiebreaker and host last-place Pittsburgh, while the Braves entertain Maple Leaf Division champion Ottawa. Cleveland and Boston will square off in the first round of the playoffs, with the division winner getting home field advantage.
The other first-round matchups will see the Argonauts facing the Cardinals, the Clydesdales battling the Tequila Swiggers and the Athletes drawing either Las Vegas or Compton.
On the opposite side, Twin City, Flagstaff and London have secured the top three slots in the draft order. While Brooklyn is locked into the No. 10 spot, the rest of the order remains to be finalized.
A month of silence on PGBL trade fronts ended when Chicago and Flagstaff swapped young outfielders Aaron Hicks and Dalton Pompey.
The Elk also picked up a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft along with Pompey in exchange for Hicks, who hit .198 with six homers and 29 RBIs in 118 games over two seasons with Flagstaff. Pompey has yet to make his PGBL debut.
The trade was the first in the league since London sent Adam Jones, Yordano Ventura and Zach Wheeler to Boston for prospect infielder Corey Seager, the third major move of the offseason for the Arsenal.
The Chicago Cardinals will be without starter Clayton Kershaw for close to a month after the lefty suffered an injury against London.
Kershaw suffered the injury in a 5-3 win over the Arsenal that saw him improve to 12-4. He left the game with two outs in the sixth after getting his eighth strikeout when Miguel Cabrera whiffed on a third 1-2 pitch.
Kershaw owns a 2.84 ERA and 192 strikeouts, 10 behind league leader Corey Kluber of Pittsburgh. The Cardinals and Cobras are tied atop the Norris Division, two games ahead of the sliding Cleveland Tribe.
Didi Gregorius and Kennys Vargas homered off Josh Beckett and Jhoulys Chacin scattered six hits over eight innings as the Boston Braves ended their league-record 28-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cardinals.
Gregorius hit a one-out solo homer in the first inning and Vargas added a two-run bomb to center in the second. DJ LeMahieu’s RBI single in the seventh off Beckett scored Jason Castro with an insurance run.
Chicago scored all its runs on Mike Trout’s two-run blast off Chacin (2-7) in the third and a solo shot by Yan Gomes off Trevor Cahill in the ninth. Boston’s Brandon Workman retired the only hitter he faced, getting Trout to fly out to left for his third save.