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Fabulous fades to the finish: Padres, Columbus, Sandberg's I-Cubs

Lots of choking going on around the diamonds the last few days. The Padres dropped 10 straight and nearly all of their NL West lead before finally snapping the skid with Monday's win over the Giants. It's the first time since the 1932 Pirates a team has lost at least 10 in a row and still maintained a division lead.

In the International League, Wednesday's semifinal openers are set as North Division champ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre plays Columbus, the wild-card team, and South Division champ Durham meets West Division champion Louisville. Columbus lost four straight over the weekend to last-place Toledo to blow the West, allowing Louisville to cap a comeback from 13 games down in early July with its win over Indianapolis.

And there was plenty of drama in the Pacific Coast League as well. Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg did his job to keep Cubdom going by blowing his North Division crown over the final two games at home against defending league champion Memphis. Guess he's got a future in Chicago?

The I-Cubs suffered an 8-7, 15-inning loss on Saturday and dropped Sunday's game, 7-6, after leading by three runs but then giving up a ninth-inning home run (two longballs by ex-Bison Jason Dubois weren't enough for Iowa to survive). The teams actually finish tied but Memphis won the playoff berth on the tiebreaker of best division record. Boo to that. They should have played again today in my book.

So the PCL matchups are Memphis vs. Oklahoma City and Tacoma vs. Sacramento. Durham beat Memphis in last year's Triple-A National Championship and the Sept. 21 game could have the home club in it this year; it's played annually at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

---Mike Harrington


International League | Major leagues | Minor leagues
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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |