AL East-leading Rays beat Jays 7-1, clinch postseason berth

Austin Meadows hit a three-run homer in a six-run third inning., and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched a postseason berth with a 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

© Provided by The Canadian Press

The AL East-leading Rays (94-59) secured a postseason berth for the third season in a row and the seventh time since 2008. The defending AL champions lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games last year.

Toronto (85-67) dropped into a tie for the second AL wild-card berth with the New York Yankees, who played later Wednesday. The Blue Jays lost two of three to Tampa Bay and are 16-5 in September.

Six Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a four-hitter. JT Chargois (6-1) struck out two during a hitless fourth.

The Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier was hit by a pitch, apparent retribution for scooping up a Toronto scouting report two days earlier. Reliever Ryan Borucki hit Kiermaier on the back with his first pitch of the eighth inning, when the Rays led 7-1.

Borucki was ejected after the umpires met. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo and enraged pitching coach Pete Walker to storm out of the dugout to argue as played spilled onto the field, Walker also was tossed.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had two hits and scored when Teoscar Hernández picked up his 109th RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Ross Stripling (5-7) took the loss.

YANKEES 7, RANGERS 3

NEW YORK (AP) — Gleyber Torres doubled home Joey Gallo for the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning, Gary Sánchez followed with a two-run homer and New York rallied past Texas for a three-game sweep heading into a divisional stretch that will decide their postseason fate.

New York made two errors, allowed two stolen bases, had a baserunner sprint through a stop sign but score easily and another thrown out at home plate.

The Yankees’ wild-card chase takes them to Fenway Park for three games starting Friday night followed by three at at Toronto and a season-ending three-game homestand against Tampa Bay.

New York is half a game ahead of Toronto for the second and final AL wild card after the Blue Jays lost a matinee to Tampa Bay, which clinched a postseason spot with the victory. Boston was two games ahead of the Yankees when the Red Sox began play Wednesday and cruising toward a blowout win against the Mets.

The Yankees won their third straight, scoring four runs with two outs in the eighth inning after Gallo reached when his popup off Spencer Patton (1-2) dropped in against the shifted Rangers.

Chad Green (9-7) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Aroldis Chapman cruised through the ninth in a non-save situation.

In the fifth, Gio Urshela scoring from first without a throw home after running through third base coach Phil Nevin’s stop sign.

PHILLIES 4, ORIOLES 3

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper threw out the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run to keep Philadelphia in the hunt in the NL East race.

The Phillies took two of three against the 104-loss Orioles. Next up, four games against the Pirates.

Philadelphia entered three games behind Atlanta for first in the division. The Braves faced Arizona in a late game Wednesday.

The Orioles trimmed the lead to 4-3 with two outs in the eighth and had a runner on second when Pat Valaika singled to right field. Pedro Severino was waved home and Harper fired a strike to catcher J.T. Realmuto to end the innng.

Jose Alvarado (7-1) got the win. Ian Kennedy earned his 25th save. Phillies starter Zack Wheeler struck out nine over six innings. Conner Greene (1-2) took the loss.

RED SOX 12, METS 5

BOSTON (AP) — Kyle Schwarber homered twice and scored four times, and Chris Sale struck out eight in five innings as Boston won its seventh straight.

The Red Sox scored in each of the first six innings and have not lost since Sept. 13.

The winning streak has lifted Boston from fourth place in the AL East — percentage points out of playoff position — into second and the top AL wild-card spot, with a two-game lead over the Yankees.

Sale (5-0) allowed two runs on six hits in his seventh start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Taijuan Walker (7-11) allowed six runs on six hits and two walks in two innings. Pete Alonso homered for the Mets, his 35th of the year.

ROCKIES 10, DODGERS 5

DENVER (AP) — Sam Hilliard lined a three-run homer, C.J. Cron had four hits and Colorado snapped a five-game skid at Coors Field by beating NL West title-chasing Los Angeles.

The Dodgers may be in danger of losing more ground to division-leading San Francisco. They entered the day a game behind the Giants, who played late in San Diego.

The game had all the makings of a pitchers’ duel with All-Stars Walker Buehler and Germán Márquez on the mound. Instead, it was anything but, as the teams combined for 19 hits, including three homers.

The Dodgers Luke Raley displayed his power by drilling a two-run homer to center in the third inning that was measured by Statcast at 472 feet.

Robert Stephenson (2-1) earned the win for the Rockies, who got a solo homer from infielder Brendan Rodgers. Dodgers reliever Justin Bruihl (0-1) took the loss.

TWINS 5, CUBS 4

CHICAGO (AP) — Max Kepler homered twice, rookie Joe Ryan struck out a season-high 11, and Minnesota dealt Chicago its ninth loss in 11 games.

Kepler staked the Twins to a 2-0 lead with a homer in the first inning and hit a tiebreaking drive in the fourth.

Ryan (2-1) limited the Cubs to three hits in five innings. The 25-year-old right-hander became the first pitcher in Washington Senators//Twins history with 11 strikeouts in five innings or fewer.

Starter Kyle Hendricks (14-7) took the loss as the Cubs struck out 18 times, tying their season high against Pittsburgh on Sept. 2.

CARDINALS 10, BREWERS 2

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill homered as St. Louis won its 11th straight game and extended its lead for the second NL wild-card spot with a win over NL Central-leading Milwaukee, which dropped its fourth straight.

Goldschmidt also doubled, singled and scored four runs to help St. Louis stretch its best winning streak since an 11-game string in 2001.

St. Louis leads by 4 1/2 games over Cincinnati and Philadelphia for the final NL playoff slot.

Miles Mikolas (2-2) gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings. It was his longest outing of the season.

St. Louis scored six runs before Milwaukee starter Brett Anderson (4-9) departed. Avisaíl García hit his 29th home run of the season for the Brewers.

NATIONALS 7, MARLINS 5

MIAMI (AP) — Juan Soto took over the NL batting lead, getting three hits and three RBIs in Washington’s win over Miami.

Soto singled, doubled and hit his 27th homer, raising his average to .321 and passing former teammate Trea Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who began the night at .318. Soto walked twice and with 130 tied Bryce Harper’s team season record, set in 2018.

Josiah Gray (1-2) got his first big league win, allowing two runs and six hits in six inning with eight strikeouts and two walks. Tanner Rainey earned his second save.

Yadiel Hernández and Luis García also homered for the Nationals. Nick Fortes had a pinch-hit, two-run homer and Sandy León added a solo shot for Miami.

___

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