MLB Roundup: Red Sox first team to clinch playoff spot
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this season, rallying on pinch-hitter Brock Holt’s go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 Tuesday night.
The Red Sox assured themselves at least a spot in the AL wild-card game while reaching the postseason for the third straight year. The AL East leaders began the night with an eight-game lead over the New York Yankees.
Boston starter Chris Sale came off the disabled list and pitched one scoreless inning, striking out two and throwing 26 pitches. Sale has been slowed by inflammation in his left shoulder, and the Red Sox had said they would ease their ace back into action.
Ryan Brasier (2-0) got the win with 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief as Boston used seven relievers after limiting Sale in his return.
Ryan Tepera (5-5) took the loss.
Twins 10, Yankees 5
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer hit a grand slam to highlight a six-run fifth inning, and Minnesota beat New York for the first time in 10 meetings.
Didi Gregorious answered Mauer’s big bop with his own grand slam in the sixth. That was the only bright spot for the Yankees, who dropped nine games behind Boston in the AL East race and had their lead over Oakland for the first wild card spot cut to two games. The major league leaders in home runs with 234, the Yankees fell to 80-36 in games when they go deep.
Sonny Gray (10-9) lasted three innings and allowed three runs — two earned — four hits and three walks. Gregorius tripled and scored on Gary Sanchez’s sacrifice fly for a second-inning lead, but Gray gave it back in a three-run third.
Jonathan Loaisiga fared even worse, forcing in a run with a bases-loaded walk to Max Kepler in the fifth. Three batters later, Mauer crushed a full-count fastball to center field.
Kohl Stewart (1-1) earned his first major league victory after following reliever Tyler Duffey, who served as a bullpen opener for the third time this month.
Angels 1, Rangers 0
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Blake Parker gave up Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s single to right with one out in the eighth inning to end Los Angeles’ no-hit bid by relievers in victory over Texas.
Jose Fernandez hit his first career home run for the Angels in the second inning, adding another milestone to the 30-year-old Cuban’s rookie season after making his major league debut June 8.
The Angels’ starting rotation was decimated by injuries this season, paving the way for what was the fifth bullpen game of the season. Jim Johnson made his second career start and pitched 1 1/3 innings. He was followed by Noe Ramirez, Hansel Robles, Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson and Jose Alvarez, who combined to get through seven innings without giving up a hit.
Astros 5, Tigers 4
DETROIT — Jose Altuve homered on the game’s first pitch, and Houston powered past Detroit.
The Astros maintained a three-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
Houston built a 5-0 lead on three homers in the first four innings off Jordan Zimmermann, and then held on with five scoreless innings from their bullpen.
Framber Valdez left with a one-run lead after allowing all four of Detroit’s runs in the fourth inning, including a three-run homer by JaCoby Jones. Will Harris (4-3) got the win by striking out the side in the fifth inning, and three more relievers followed before Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 17th save in 18 opportunities.
Royals 6, White Sox 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brad Keller pitched seven strong innings to win for the fourth time in six starts, leading Kansas City past Chicago.
Whit Merrifield had two hits, two RBIs, and scored two runs for the Royals. He also stole two bases to increase his American League lead to 33 steals, including a league-best 12 of third base.
Keller (8-6) gave up one run and four hits and two walks while striking out six. He is 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last six starts, lowering his ERA to 3.04 — leading all AL rookies.
Wily Peralta picked up his 10th save in 10 chances, despite walking two in 1/3 of an inning.
The Royals have won a season-high seven straight at home — and 10 of 11.
Indians 2, Rays 0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Josh Donaldson went hitless in his Cleveland debut, Edwin Encarnacion reached 30 homers for the seventh straight season and the Indians beat Tampa Bay.
Cleveland lowered its magic number to three for a third straight AL Central title.
Acquired from Toronto on Aug. 31, Donaldson went 0 for 4 in his first big league game since May 28, a layoff caused by a strained left calf. The 2015 AL MVP flied out to deep center and deep right, struck out and grounded into a forceout.
The third baseman made a nifty backhand grab on C.J. Cron’s sixth-inning grounder.
Jose Ramirez moved from third to second, and second baseman Jason Kipnis moved to center.
Yan Gomes also homered and rookie Shane Bieber (10-3) struck out a career-high 11 in 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and three walks.
Tampa Bay had its franchise record 12-game home winning streak end and lost for just the fourth time in 21 games overall.
Athletics 3, Orioles 2
BALTIMORE — Mike Fiers remained unbeaten in an Oakland uniform, working six solid innings against Baltimore.
The Athletics won their fifth straight to improve to 33-15 since the All-Star break, the best mark in the majors during that span. Oakland holds the second AL wild-card spot behind the Yankees.
Fiers (12-6), who was acquired from the Tigers on Aug. 6, allowed one run and four hits with seven strikeouts and a walk. He is 5-0 in seven starts with the A’s and has won a career-best six straight decisions overall.
Jeurys Familia worked a perfect ninth for his 18th save since being acquired from the Mets on July 21.
Marlins 5, Mets 3
NEW YORK — Jacob deGrom took his latest hard-luck loss in a record-setting season, getting outpitched by Miami’s Jose Urena.
DeGrom (8-9) gave up only Lewis Brinson’s two-run double in seven stellar innings. The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out nine, his major league-low ERA climbing just a tick from 1.68 to 1.71. He held his opponent to fewer than four runs for the 26th straight start — breaking a big league mark set by King Cole in 1910 with the Chicago Cubs.
Nationals 3, Phillies 1, 1st Game;
Nationals 7, Phillies 6, 10 innings, 2nd game
PHILADELPHIA — Juan Soto hit a solo home run in the 10th inning, his second of the game, to lead the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies and a doubleheader sweep.
The Nationals rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off Seranthony Dominguez to tie the game at 6-all. Soto, who hit a two-run shot in the fourth, connected off Yacksel Rios (3-2) with one out in the 10th for the winner.
Greg Holland retired the first batters in the 10th before he walked the next two. Holland got Cesar Hernandez to fly out to end the game for his third save. Wander Suero (3-0) got the win.
In the first game, Spencer Kieboom hit his first major league home run after losing a tooth earlier in the day, Erick Fedde (2-3) pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and the Nationals beat the Phillies 3-1.
The Phillies, who were 15 games over .500 in early August and in the thick of NL playoff race, have lost four straight games and are 6-16 since Aug. 18.
Braves 4, Giants 1
SAN FRANCISCO — Mike Foltynewicz pitched a six-hitter to win for the first time in nearly a month, Charlie Culberson hit a two-run homer after entering as an injury replacement and Atlanta sent San Francisco to its 10th straight defeat.
Foltynewicz (11-9) retired 13 straight batters after Evan Longoria’s two-out double in the first. The right-hander carried a shutout into the ninth before allowing Brandon Crawford’s two-out RBI single. Atlanta’s starter struck out seven and walked one while finishing with 108 pitches. He was still hitting the high 90s on the radar gun in the late innings.
Foltynewicz got his first victory since Aug. 13 against Miami, ending a four-start winless stretch.
Dansby Swanson added an RBI double in the eighth for the NL East-leading Braves, who moved 6 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies in the division.
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3
DENVER — Ketel Marte drove in four runs, including a two-out, two-run triple to break a sixth-inning tie, reliever Yoshihisa Hirano helped Arizona weather a ninth-inning scare for his first big league save and the Diamondbacks pulled closer in the NL West standings by beating the first-place Colorado.
The Diamondbacks cut their deficit in the division to 2 1/2 games. The Rockies maintained a 1 1/2 -game advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost for a second straight day in Cincinnati. Colorado is chasing after its first NL West crown in franchise history.
Marte also added a two-run single in the eighth to make it 6-3. He leads the league in triples with 11.
Zack Greinke (14-9) gave up two runs in the first before recovering his command to allow three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Reds 3, Dodgers 1
CINCINNATI — Former Dodgers prospects Brandon Dixon and Scott Schebler homered, and Los Angeles stumbled for the second straight night in a loss to lowly Cincinnati.
Defending NL champion Los Angeles is 0-6 against Cincinnati this season. After losing Monday’s series opener 10-6 to the last-place Reds, the Dodgers began the day 1 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Colorado and two games back of St. Louis for the second NL wild card.
Dixon homered in the second inning and Schebler in the third for a 2-0 lead against Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-3). Jose Peraza, another former Los Angeles prospect, had two hits.
Scooter Gennett had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the fifth inning, and lifted his league-leading average to .321. Gennett is hitting .727 (16 for 22) against the Dodgers this season.
Cubs 3, Brewers 0
CHICAGO — Jose Quintana pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, Victor Caratini drove in two runs and Chicago regained its two-game lead in the NL Central.
Quintana continued his mastery of Milwaukee in a huge spot for Chicago (84-60), improving to 6-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 10 career starts against the Brewers. The veteran left-hander struck out seven and walked two in 6 2/3 innings in his second straight victory over Jhoulys Chacin, also winning at Milwaukee last Wednesday.
Cardinals 11, Pirates 5
ST. LOUIS — Cardinals rookie Tyler O’Neill hit a three-run homer during a six-run eighth inning, Marcell Ozuna drove in three and Miles Mikolas pitched seven solid innings to lift the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-5 on Tuesday night.
Mikolas (15-5) gave up a run, five hits and a walk while striking out seven. He dropped his ERA to 2.99, and he got his first victory in five starts against the Pirates this season. Mikolas struck out five straight in one stretch, and the Cardinals improved to 21-8 in his starts.
Ozuna is hitting .352 this season against Pittsburgh. He has 13 RBIs against the Pirates and 79 on the season.
Joe Musgrove (6-9) went six innings. He allowed four hits, four runs and two walks while striking out eight.
Padres 2, Mariners 1
SEATTLE — Wil Myers lined an RBI double off major league saves leader Edwin Diaz with one out in the ninth inning to lift San Diego.
Diaz entered with the game tied at 1 and struggled without having a chance at his 55th save. Diaz (0-4) gave up singles to Hunter Renfroe and Eric Hosmer leading off the inning. After a strikeout of Franmil Reyes, Myers jumped on the first pitch and pulled it into the left field corner, letting pinch-runner Travis Jankowski score easily from second.
It was just the second inning all night the Padres put multiple runners on base, but they were able to capitalize on their opportunity unlike the Mariners.
Seattle had runners at second and third and no outs in the seventh and failed to score, and loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning, and failed to score again. Cameron Maybin, who doubled in the seventh, couldn’t come through in the eighth against Craig Stammen (8-2), flying out to the warning track in right to end the threat.
Kirby Yates pitched the ninth inning for his eighth save.