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

September 23, 2021 GMT
Tampa Bay Rays players react after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays during a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. With the win, the Rays clinched a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Rays players react after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays during a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. With the win, the Rays clinched a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Rays players react after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays during a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. With the win, the Rays clinched a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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Tampa Bay Rays players react after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays during a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. With the win, the Rays clinched a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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Tampa Bay Rays players react after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays during a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. With the win, the Rays clinched a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

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.

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.


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 is two games ahead of the Yankees.

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.


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 is three games behind Atlanta for first in the division.

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.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Kris Bryant hit a bases-clearing double, Buster Posey had four hits and scored three times, and reliever Camilo Doval (4-1) got San Francisco out of a big jam as the Giants beat free-falling San Diego to take a two-game lead in the NL West.

The Giants got some help in their push for their first division title since 2012 when the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers lost 10-5 at Colorado. The Dodgers have won the division eight straight seasons.

The Giants, whose 99-53 record is the best in the majors, pulled within one win of reaching 100 for the eighth time in franchise history.

Fernando Tatis Jr. hit his NL-leading 40th homer for the Padres, who moved closer to elimination as their brutal collapse continued. San Diego is a loss away from .500.

Tatis homered off Jarlin Garcia with one out in the three-run seventh. He became the fifth player in Padres history to reach that mark and the 10th player in baseball history to reach it at age 22 or younger.

Vince Velasquez (3-8) took the loss.


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 slipped to two games behind division-leading San Francisco, which beat 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.


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.


PHOENIX (AP) — Adam Duvall lost a home run to a baserunning miscue, but Atlanta rebounded with homers by Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman in beating Arizona.

Ian Anderson pitched two-hit ball in six-plus innings as Atlanta (80-70) won its fifth straight and maintained its three-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL East with 12 games remaining.

The Braves got to Merrill Kelly (7-11) for three runs in the first — and that could have been four, except Duvall passed Riley between first and second after his deep drive to left-center tipped the glove of Arizona center fielder Jake McCarthy and went over the wall. Duvall was ruled out at second on what’s known as a “runner’s fielder’s choice.”

Anderson (8-5) didn’t need much support with an eight-strikeout performance.

Christian Walker hit his ninth homer of the season in the eighth.

Kelly lasted six innings, allowing seven hits and striking out seven. He was charged with six runs.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jose Altuve hit a two-run double in the 12th inning and Houston, after throwing out Shohei Ohtani at the plate to preserve a tie, broke away to defeat Los Angeles.

Houston, which has won four straight and seven of eight, reduced its magic number to three for clinching its fourth AL West title in five seasons.

Ohtani missed a chance to win it in the 10th when he made an ill-advised run home on David Fletcher’s bases-loaded lineout to shallow right field. Chas McCormick caught Ohtani by several steps with a one-hop throw — the two-way star didn’t slide, tried to avoid the tag and ran past the plate, and easily was tagged out by catcher Jason Castro.

Pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez began the 12th as the automatic runner. He advanced to third on McCormick’s hit to right and scored the go-ahead run on Jake Meyers’ single off Sam Selman (0-1).

Altuve then provided some insurance with a double down the right-field line. He advanced to third on the throw home and scored on Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly.

Yordan Alvarez had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs for the Astros. Castro also homered and Luis Garcia tossed six shutout innings.

Yimi Garcia (4-9), the seventh of eight Houston pitchers, got the win.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Seager hit his 35th home run, Ty France also connected and Seattle moved up in the playoff race, beating Oakland for its fourth straight win.

Seattle topped the A’s for the third day in row to pull within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees for the second AL wild card. Oakland fell 3 1/2 back of New York.

Chris Flexen (13-6) struck out eight and walked two, allowing one run on three hits over seven stellar innings. Drew Steckenrider finished for his 11th save.

Tom Murphy added an RBI single in the off Cole Irvin (10-14), who dropped to 0-4 lifetime against the Mariners with all four defeats in as many starts this year.

Matt Chapman homered in the fifth for the A’s.


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.


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.


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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