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Wild Card

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Q: You have mentioned the Cardinals' weariness of shipping a young outfielder away only for him to have success elsewhere. Do you think they are at all concerned about something similar happening with Fowler?

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A classic card game with a twist, that’s suitable for kids and adults to play. It features a machine that randomly shoots out cards and make-your-own wild cards. For kids ages 7 and up, but younger ones may also enjoy it. It can be difficult to put the cards in the dispenser.

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Darvish is owed $59 million over the final three years of his six-year contract signed in February of 2018. The Cubs, facing several issues involving potential free agents Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, have kept a close watch on their long-term future with several potential holes to fill, particularly at starting pitching.

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SAN DIEGO — Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run during a four-run first inning, St. Louis' bullpen held strong after starter Kwang Hyun Kim stumbled in his playoff debut and the Cardinals ruined the San Diego Padres’ long-awaited return to the playoffs with a 7-4 victory Wednesday in the opener of their NL wild-card series.

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The Eagles fell short in their bid to win consecutive Super Bowl titles, losing 20-14 at New Orleans in the divisional round of the playoffs after Foles led them to a wild-card win at Chicago helped by Cody Parkey's "double doink" kick at the end.

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Jan. 3, 1993: Moon and the Oilers built a 35-3 lead in Buffalo in the third quarter of their wild card round playoff game, only to watch the Bills storm back with five straight touchdowns, four of them scoring passes by backup Frank Reich, who had taken over recently for the injured Kelly. The Bills won 41-38 in overtime and the next two games on the road to reach their third of those four straight Super Bowls.

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All Together: Names went on the back of jerseys, and the point after touchdown changed to one point. In 1972, owners decided to start counting tie games as a half-game won and lost. The NFL agreed in 1973 to use a uniform numbering system for jerseys limiting groups of numbers to different positions. Division winners started earning home-field advantage in the playoffs in 1975, the same year referees got wireless microphones. The head slap was outlawed in 1977.

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Tom Landry: Took Dallas to five Super Bowls in this decade winning two titles and losing three others by a combined 11 points. Landry also coached the first wild-card team to reach a Super Bowl in January 1976.

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ATLANTA — For the fourth time in this young century the Cardinals will play a win-or-go-home fifth game of a division series on the road when they meet the Atlanta Braves here Wednesday. It easily could be said that the first three were classics, just as this one projects to be.All three were started by righthanded Cardinals aces and so will Wednesday’s game when Jack Flaherty pitches. All three previous games went down to the final pitch.Cardinals at Diamondbacks, 2001The wild-card Cardinals played at Arizona with 22-game winner Matt Morris opposing 22-game winner Curt Schilling of the Diamondbacks.Reggie Sanders, later to play for the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series, homered off Morris in the fourth. J.D. Drew, harshly criticized by Schilling for refusing to sign with Philadelphia when Schilling was there and the Phillies weren’t very good, hit a dramatic game-tying home run with two out in the eighth.In the ninth, Arizona had runners at first and third bases with one out when manager Bob Brenly tried a squeeze play that went awry. But the trail runner went to second and scored the winning run in a 2-1 Arizona victory on a two-out single by Tony Womack — who also played on the Cardinals’ 2004 World Series team.Reliever Steve Kline, yet another member of that 2004 National League championship, was not pleased with Womack on this night. Not surprisingly, the colorful Kline yelled at Womack when their paths crossed near home plate.There were two outgrowths of this game that were significant.Arizona went on to win its only World Series title. And Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire played his final game, somewhat ignominiously being pinch-hit for in the ninth by Kerry Robinson — who laid down a sacrifice bunt.Cardinals at Phillies, 2011The wild-card Cardinals took on heavily favored Philadelphia as good friends Chris Carpenter and Hall of Fame Phillies ace Roy Halladay, former teammates with Toronto, opposed each other for the only time. Rafael Furcal tripled and Skip Schumaker doubled off Halladay as the first two hitters in the opening inning as the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead.That was the final score as Carpenter recorded the final out on a ground ball hit by St. Louis-born slugger Ryan Howard, who suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon one-third of the way down the first-base line and had to be helped off the field.The significance of this win was that the Cardinals also went on to win the World Series. It was the 16th and final shutout of Carpenter’s career, and his 34th and final complete game. Because of injuries, he did notwin another regular-season game after the 2011 season.Cardinals at Washington, 2012Again a wild card, the Cardinals sent out Adam Wainwright to face the Nationals in Game 5. At least they thought they did.Somebody wearing Wainwright’s uniform allowed six runs in the first three innings. But the Cardinals inched their way back, finally scoring four in the ninth to win 9-7 as Daniel Descalso hit a two-run single to tie the game and even-lighter-hitting Pete Kozma stroked a two-run single to win it.From then on, Kozma was booed in Nationals Park, Space Coast Stadium in Washington’s spring training home of Viera, Fla., and ultimately at Busch Stadium when he couldn’t hit enough to stay in the lineup.Cardinals at Atlanta, 2019This brings us to the Cardinals’ fourth NLDS game away from home dating to 2001. The series has been intensely competitive, with the team leading in either the eighth or ninth inning losing three of the four games.“All four of these games have just been tremendous,” said Mike Foltynewicz, who opposes Flaherty on Wednesday. “I don't have any nails right now.”Atlanta manager Brian Snitkner said, “This has been one of the postseason series ever. It’s been an unbelievable series. My God, both teams just banging at each other. I’m glad we had a day off. We needed a day off after the two games in St. Louis. I didn’t play and I’m exhausted.“Every out is so precious in a series like this. Every play. I thought (Monday) that when (Dansby Swanson’s) ball hit the bag that maybe it was meant to be for us. But we had a man at third and nobody out and a man at second with nobody out and we couldn’t score those runs. That’s huge in a close game. Those ‘spares’ that you get win or lose you the games. We just couldn’t make it happen. We couldn’t get a big hit.“But that’s we all keep coming back. It’s like we’re all comfortably miserable in this sport. That’s the stuff that drives you nuts, but that’s the kind of stuff that you miss when you get out (of the game). That gut-wrenching rolling-over-at-night feeling.“We’re a sick breed that does this thing.”Given the twists and turns of the first four games, it seems almost inevitable that a bullpen or bench player will decide this final game, just as Adam Duvall has done a couple of times for the Braves already.“It’s probably going to come down a reliever, a pinch-hit, a big play, a punt return — something like that,” Snitker said, laughing.Or Ronald Acuna Jr., maybe. The 21-year-old Atlanta star has been a thorn in the Cardinals’ side and a demon in closer Carlos Martinez’s head, hitting .500 with an OPS of a ridiculous 1.579. And what if he ran hard all the time? That latter figure would be higher.“He had a really good postseason last year and he’s having an unbelievable postseason this year,” Snitker said. “He’s not a finished product yet, still growing, still maturing.’Referencing last week’s hot weather, Snitker then said, “Thank God the weather broke and it’s not going to be 97 degrees.” The temperature is forecast to be in the upper 70s at game time, which is just after 5 p.m. local time.But it will be a hot time for one team Wednesday while the other will be left to sit and watch the rest of the postseason on television. Every pitch matters. Every play is key.As Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, “We wouldn't have it any other way.”

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Yandy Diaz slugged baseball's lowest spender into a matchup with mighty Houston, Charlie Morton silenced the powerful Athletics on the mound, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Oakland at its own game 5-1 in the AL wild-card round Wednesday night.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington's Juan Soto delivered a bases-loaded single against Josh Hader that scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Nationals rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 in the NL wild-card game Tuesday night.

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