Blue Jays pound Rays 11-4 to move closer to a playoff berth

Bichette Blue Jays Draw Closer to Posatseason Defeat Rays
(Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Alejandro Kirk homered and drove in three runs, Bo Bichette had four hits and the Toronto Blue Jays put themselves on the brink of a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 11-4 on Friday night.

One more win or a Seattle loss would give Toronto an AL wild card.

Brandon Belt and Matt Chapman each hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays. Bichette went 4 for 5 with an RBI and scored three times as Toronto pounded out 16 hits to win for the ninth time in 13 games.

Yandy Díaz returned as the Rays’ designated hitter after missing two games because of a sore right hamstring and hit a two-run homer, his 22nd.

Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (11-6) allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings.

Kirk hit a solo home run off Aaron Civale (7-5) in the second, his eighth, and added a two-run single off Zack Littell in the third.

MARLINS 4, PIRATES 3

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Bell’s two-run double keyed a four-run eighth-inning rally against Colin Selby (2-2), and Miami beat Pittsburgh to move closer to a playoff berth.

The Marlins’ magic number for clinching an NL wild-card spot was reduced to one when the Chicago Cubs lost at Milwaukee.

Miami didn’t get into Pittsburgh until almost dawn on Friday. Its game against the Mets was delayed for more than three hours with two outs in the top of the ninth before finally being suspended with the Marlins up 2-1. The Marlins would love to avoid needing a return trip to Citi Field to wrap up the regular season. Their 10th victory when trailing after seven innings helped.

Huascar Brazoban (5-2) earned the victory with a scoreless seventh. Tanner Scott worked a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 15 chances.

BREWERS 4, CUBS 3, 10 INNINGS

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chicago was pushed pushed to the brink of playoff elimination by NL Central champion Milwaukee, which won on Carlos Santana’s run-scoring double in the 10th inning off José Cuas (3-2).

Chicago lost its fourth straight and fell 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the NL’s third and final wild-card spot. The Marlins hold the tiebreaker over the Cubs, who have lost 11 of 15.

Jeimer Candelario homered in the eighth and Ian Happ went deep in the ninth as Chicago rallied after trailing 3-0 through seven innings.

Caleb Boushley (1-0), a Wisconsin native making his major league debut, struck out Patrick Wisdom with the bases loaded in the top of the 10th.

MARINERS 8, RANGERS 0

SEATTLE (AP) — J.P. Crawford hit his third career grand slam, Ty France and Josh Rojas hit solo homers and Seattle beat AL West-leading Texas to stay in the thick of the playoff race.

A night after possibly saving Seattle’s playoff hopes with a two-out, two-run double in the ninth inning to pull out a 3-2 victory against the Rangers, Crawford again came through to keep Seattle right on the heels of Houston in the chase for the final AL wild-card spot.

Seattle (87-73) remained one game behind Houston (88-72) in the wild-card standings with two games left, while Texas (89-71) still needs a victory or an Astros loss to wrap up a playoff berth.

Crawford’s slam — his 19th homer of the season — was off Brock Burke, who came in specifically to face Crawford after Nathan Eovaldi (12-5) faltered.

Seattle starter Bryan Woo needed 82 pitches to record 11 outs. Taylor Saucedo, Trent Thornton (1-2), Isaiah Campbell, Eduard Bazardo and Dominic Leone combined for 5 1/3 innings.

ASTROS 2, DIAMONDBACKS 1

PHOENIX (AP) — José Abreu hit a two-run double, José Urquidy pitched six shutout innings in an emergency start and Houston held off Arizona.

Gold Glove shortstop Jeremy Peña made a diving play that kept the Astros ahead in the eighth, and the defending World Series champions strengthened their position in the playoff race. Houston holds the final wild card and could still catch Texas atop the AL West.

The loss denied Arizona a chance to clinch a postseason berth, but the D-backs still hold the second NL wild-card spot.

Urquidy (3-3) started after J.P. France was scratched due to a family emergency. The righty gave up just two hits and three walks while striking out two.

Gabriel Moreno drove in a run for Arizona with a double in the ninth. Ryan Pressly then coaxed a weak groundout from Jace Peterson for his 31st save.

Zac Gallen (17-9) gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings.

REDS 19, CARDINALS 2

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cincinnati hit six home runs, including Nick Martini’s three-run shot in the first inning, to rout St. Louis and stay alive in the NL wild-card race.

Jonathan India, Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Noelvi Marte and Tyler Stephenson also homered for the Reds, who scored their most runs they had 20 against the Chicago Cubs on May 26, 2022.

Cincinnati pulled even with the Cubs, 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the last NL wild card. The Cardinals (69-91) have their most losses since going 70-92 in 1990.

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright, who is retiring after the season, pinch-hit in the sixth inning and grounded out to second base.

Brandon Williamson (5-5) allowed two runs on five hits in six innings for his first win since Aug. 7, and Carson Spiers pitched the final three innings for his first career save.

Jake Woodford (2-3) allowed seven runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings.

PADRES 3, WHITE SOX 2

CHICAGO (AP) — San Diego beat Chicago but was eliminated from playoff contention.

Juan Soto was batting in the seventh inning when Miami beat Pittsburgh, ensuing the Padres would not get one of the NL’s third wild-card berths.

Despite winning 12 of their last 14 games, the Padres (80-80) could not overcome a mostly sluggish performance by a star-filled team that started the season with the major leagues’ third-highest payroll at nearly $258 million.

Nick Martinez (6-4) allowed two hits in five scoreless innings with a season-high eight strikeouts.

Xander Bogaerts hit a fifth-inning sacrifice fly off Dylan Cease (7-9).

RED SOX 3, ORIOLES 0

BALTIMORE (AP) — Nick Pivetta allowed two hits in seven impressive innings and Trevor Story hit a two-run homer in the fifth to lift Boston past Baltimore.

A day after winning the AL East title, the Orioles did little offensively. John Means (1-2) pitched into the seventh inning and looked like a solid option for Baltimore when it sets up its postseason rotation.

Means was Baltimore’s opening day starter last year but needed Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch again for the Orioles until this month. This was his fourth start.

Pivetta (10-9) struck out 10 with a walk. He finished his season with a flourish, throwing seven scoreless innings in each of his last two starts. Garrett Whitlock worked the final two innings for his first save of the season.

ROYALS 12, YANKEES 5

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Every batter Kansas City sent up against Carlos Rodón scored, resulting in a nine-run first inning and a rout of New York.

Bobby Witt Jr. hit a two-run homer to become the first Royals player in the 30-30 club. He has 49 stolen bases and needs one more steal to join Eric Davis, Barry Bonds and Ronald Acuña Jr. as the only players in the 30-50 club.

All eight batters Rodón (3-8) faced scored, tying the most runs allowed in a start without getting an out since at least 1901.

Jordan Lyles (6-17) took advantage of the immense run support to earn his second straight win. The right-hander got through six shaky innings, allowing five runs.

DODGERS 6, GIANTS 2

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit his 59th double of the season and scored on a three-run homer by J.D. Martinez, and NL West champion Los Angeles beat San Francisco.

Wilmer Flores homered and hit an RBI single for the Giants, who were managed by bench coach Kai Correa. San Francisco fired manager Gabe Kapler earlier in the day, three games before the end of his fourth season.

Freeman doubled with one out in the sixth inning, matching Todd Helton in 2000 for the most doubles in a season in the majors since 1936 and the seventh-most all-time. Will Smith was hit by a pitch before Martinez delivered his 33rd home run, chasing Giants right-hander Keaton Winn (1-3).

Smith hit a two-run homer in the first, and Freeman went deep in the third.

Lance Lynn (13-11) allowed two runs on two hits, struck out four and walked four over six innings to win his third straight decision.

TWINS 7, ROCKIES 6

DENVER (AP) — Ryan Jeffers had three hits including a homer for AL Central champion Minnesota in a win over Colorado.

Michael A. Taylor homered and tripled for the Twins. Trevor Larnach also homered, Kody Funderbuck (2-0) got the win in relief and Emilio Pagán picked up his first save.

Larnach and Jeffers hit back-to-back homers in the seventh to tie it at 6-all. Jeffers and Kyle Farmer led off the ninth with singles off of Tyler Kinley (0-4), and Max Kepler’s sacrifice fly brought home Andrew Stevenson with the go-ahead run.

NATIONALS 10, BRAVES 6

ATLANTA (AP) — Carter Kieboom, Jake Alu, Keibert Ruiz, Dominic Smith and Lane Thomas homered as Washington beat Atlanta.

Washington tied a season high for homers on a night the NL East champion Braves started resting regulars to prepare for the postseason. Atlanta has secured the best record in the majors and home-field advantage through the World Series.

Ronald Acuña Jr. went 1 for 2 with a run and two steals before being pulled after two innings. He tied the Braves’ steals record of 72, set by Otis Nixon in 1991.

Jordan Weems (5-0), one of six Nationals relievers, got the win. Brad Hand (5-3) took the loss in relief of rookie Allan Winans, who gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings and surrendered three home runs. The Braves had won four straight.

GUARDIANS 7, TIGERS 5

DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera had three hits for Detroit as Cleveland won the first game of his valedictory weekend.

Cabrera, playing the last three games of his career, doubled in his first two at-bats to raise his total to 626, breaking a tie for 13th place and moving two ahead of Hank Aaron. Cabrera singled in the seventh for his 3,173rd hit.

Cal Quantrill (4-7) gave up eight hits and four runs while striking out three in five innings, and Emmanuel Clase allowed a ninth-inning homer to Spencer Torkelson before finishing the game for his 44th save.

Joey Wentz (3-13) allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings.

ANGELS 5, ATHLETICS 1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Davis Daniel pitched five scoreless innings for his first major league win as Los Angeles handed Oakland its 111th loss.

Chase Silseth returned from a concussion to make his first start since Aug. 26 and allowed one run and two hits in four innings. Daniel (1-1), a 26-year-old right-hander who made his major league debut on Sept. 7, completed the four-hitter. He struck out two and walked one in his third big league appearance.

Mickey Moniak, who had been out since Sept. 5 with left back tightness, hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Ken Waldichuk (4-9).

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