Athletics clinch postseason spot; Yanks lose Hicks to injury
SEATTLE (AP) — The Oakland Athletics clinched their first playoff berth in four years, then beat the Seattle Mariners 7-3 Monday night behind Khris Davis’ major league-leading 46th home run.
Jonathan Lucroy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Chapman also homered for the A’s, assured no worse than an AL wild card.
Oakland was one out into the game when Tampa Bay was eliminated with a 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees. The A’s went on to win after Chapman broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run drive in the seventh off Shawn Armstrong (0-1).
Coming off three straight last-place finishes in the AL West, the A’s (95-62) are 4½ games behind AL West-leading Houston. They trail the Yankees by 1½ games for home-field advantage should they meet in a wild-card matchup.
Robinson Cano and Dee Gordon homered for the Mariners.
The Athletics will be making their fourth playoff appearance in the last seven seasons, all under manager Bob Melvin, and their 27th overall. The A’s lost at Kansas City 9-8 in 12 innings in the 2014 wild-card game, the last time Oakland reached the postseason.
YANKEES 4, RAYS 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Hicks injured his left hamstring running up the first-base line in the Yankees’ win, another concern for New York heading into next week’s AL wild-card game.
Hicks’ 11th-inning double on Saturday drove in Didi Gregorius with the run that clinched a postseason berth, and on Sunday the Yankees learned Gregorius tore cartilage in his right wrist during his headfirst slide across the plate.
Hicks, who had fouled a pitch off his left ankle just before the double, left Monday’s game with left hamstring tightness.
New York’s win eliminated the Rays and ensured a postseason berth for Oakland, which is likely to be the wild-card opponent but also is still alive in the AL West race. At 96-60, New York is assured of its best record since going 97-65 in 2011.
Brett Gardner had a go-ahead single off Ryan Yarbrough (15-6) in a two-run fifth inning.
New York used eight pitchers and gave its starters extra rest ahead of the postseason, and the Rays managed just two hits — both off Sonny Gray (11-9).
RED SOX 6, ORIOLES 2
BOSTON (AP) — Boston broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.
Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Baltimore batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and most likely Oakland.
The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.
The Orioles (45-111), who matched a franchise record for losses set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns, became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60½ games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It’s the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.
Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.
Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.
ASTROS 5, BLUE JAYS 3
TORONTO (AP) — Brian McCann and Josh Reddick hit back-to-back home runs, and Houston beat Toronto to move one step closer to its second straight AL West title.
The defending World Series champions reduced their magic number to two over Oakland to clinch the division — which would set up a best-of-five postseason matchup against AL Central champion Cleveland. The Astros can secure the AL West crown Tuesday with a win and an Oakland loss.
Dallas Keuchel (12-11) allowed three runs in five innings for his first win since Sept. 3.
Five relievers followed before former Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna came on to a chorus of boos in the ninth, his first appearance in Toronto since being arrested for assault in May. Osuna, who earned his 19th save in 20 opportunities, was traded to the Astros on July 30. Many in the crowd of 23,463 jeered each of Osuna’s pitches.
In the first big league meeting between brothers Yuli Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Houston’s Yuli opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first. Younger brother Lourdes grounded into a double play in the bottom of the inning, then exited the game because of a sore left hamstring.
Marco Estrada (7-14) lost his fifth straight decision.
DODGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 4
PHOENIX (AP) — David Freese homered and had three hits to back Clayton Kershaw as Los Angeles maintained its lead in the NL West.
Manny Machado had two RBIs for the Dodgers, including a groundout deep into the shortstop hole with the bases loaded in the seventh inning that brought in Yasiel Puig with the go-ahead run. Los Angeles added three ninth-inning runs to stay 1½ games ahead of Colorado.
The defending NL champions have won six of seven.
Freese finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Kershaw (9-5) pitched six innings, allowing three runs and six hits. He struck out six and walked one.
Ketel Marte homered and drove in three runs, all off Kershaw, and A.J. Pollock went deep against closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth. The Diamondbacks, already eliminated from playoff contention, have lost four straight and eight of nine.
Andrew Chafin (1-6) took the loss.
ROCKIES 10, PHILLIES 1
DENVER (AP) — Jon Gray pitched seven crisp innings and drew a bases-loaded walk as part of a five-run third to lead Colorado over Philadelphia.
The Rockies won their fourth straight game since being swept at Dodger Stadium. They closed within a half-game of St. Louis for the second wild card after the Cardinals lost to Milwaukee.
Gray (12-8) got the start when Tyler Anderson was scratched due to shoulder tightness. The right-hander’s one costly mistake was an elevated fastball that Rhys Hoskins hit for a homer in the seventh when the game was out of reach.
David Dahl lined a two-run homer in the fourth, Tony Wolters drew four walks and Charlie Blackmon had a single to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games for Colorado. Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra delivered run-scoring singles off Zach Eflin (11-8).
All-Star shortstop Trevor Story returned to the starting lineup after missing a week with inflammation in his right elbow and made an immediate impact. He had two hard-hit doubles to center.
Phillies left fielder Aaron Altherr ran into the fence while trying to catch Dahl’s homer. The side of Altherr’s face slammed into the padded fence, his hat flying off. Altherr eventually limped to a cart and was taken away. He sprained his right big toe and bruised a knee.
BREWERS 6, CARDINALS 4
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Eric Thames scored on reliever Bud Norris’ throwing error in the eighth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers improved their playoff positioning by topping St. Louis.
Ryan Braun homered and Christian Yelich drove in two runs as Milwaukee won for the fourth time in five games. The Brewers (90-67) opened a three-game lead over St. Louis for the top spot in the wild-card standings and pulled within 1 1/2 games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs, who lost to Pittsburgh.
Corbin Burnes (7-0), the seventh of nine Milwaukee pitchers, got two outs for the win, and Corey Knebel worked the ninth for his 16th save.
PIRATES 5, CUBS 1
CHICAGO (AP) — Jameson Taillon outpitched Cole Hamels, Francisco Cervelli hit a two-run homer and Pittsburgh made Chicago wait at least another day to clinch a playoff spot.
The Cubs needed a win plus a loss by Colorado to assure a franchise-record fourth straight trip to the playoffs, a run that includes a drought-busting World Series championship in 2016.
Taillon (14-9) gave up one run and five hits in seven innings, improving to 5-0 in his past seven starts.
Hamels (4-2) hit his second career homer but he lost his second straight start after going 4-0 in his first nine following a trade from Texas.
INDIANS 4, WHITE SOX 0
CHICAGO (AP) — Corey Kluber struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings and won his 20th game, and Brandon Guyer hit a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh as AL Central champion Cleveland beat Chicago.
Kluber (20-7) reached 20 victories for the first time after recording 19 wins last season and 18 victories the two previous seasons and in 2014. The reigning AL CY Young Award winner is the first 20-game winner for the Central Division champions since Cliff Lee went 22-3 in 2008.
Cleveland is also the first team to have four pitchers with 200 strikeouts in a season. Kluber ran his total to 216, while Carlos Carrasco has 217, Trevor Bauer 215 and Mike Clevinger 202.
The Indians tied the Chicago Cubs for the major league lead with 17 shutouts.
Adam Rosales gave the Indians an insurance run with a home run off reliever Nate Jones to left for his first of the season in the ninth inning. Brandon Barnes and Edwin Encarnacion then added RBI singles. It was Rosales’ first home run since Sept. 4, 2017, when he was with Arizona.
Indians relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen pitched a perfect eighth and ninth, respectively, and combined with Kluber to retire the final 17 batters.
Dylan Covey didn’t allow a run over six innings. Ian Hamilton (0-2) gave up Guyer’s homer on his third pitch.
NATIONALS 7, MARLINS 3
WASHINGTON (AP) — Anthony Rendon homered and drove four runs, Bryce Harper reached 100 RBIs in a season for the first time and Washington beat Miami.
Juan Soto and Matt Wieters also homered for Washington, which broke it open with four runs on three pitches in the fourth inning.
Harper started the big inning, driving in his 100th run with a sacrifice fly that scored Adam Eaton and put Washington ahead 3-1. Harper, a pending free agent who may be playing his final home series at Nationals Park, got a standing ovation from the sparse, rain-soaked crowd. His previous high was 99 RBIs in 2015, when he won the NL MVP award.
Rendon and Soto then homered back-to-back on the next two pitches from Sandy Alcantara (2-2).
Justin Miller (7-1) allowed one unearned run in the fifth in relief of Stephen Strasburg, who was pulled after throwing 100 pitches over four innings.
PADRES 5, GIANTS 0
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bryan Mitchell struck out seven in 8 2/3 strong innings, and Jose Pirela had a homer among his three hits to lead San Diego.
The Giants lost their fifth straight game hours after the team announced the dismissal of general manager Bobby Evans. The move comes amid a Giants team freefall.
Mitchell (2-4) walked just three in what was by far his best start of an uneven season.
Pirela homered off Giants starter Derek Holland (7-9) to lead off the fourth. His fourth homer gave the Padres a 3-0 lead.
Franmil Reyes had two hits and two RBI, and Wil Myers had two hits and two runs scored.
ANGELS 5, RANGERS 4, 11 INNINGS
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jose Briceno delivered a pinch-hit homer leading off the 11th inning, and Los Angeles snapped its five-game skid.
After Taylor Cole (3-2) retired the Rangers in the 11th, the Angels’ rookie catcher walked off with his fifth career homer to center off Matt Moore (3-8).
Shohei Ohtani hit his 21st homer in the first inning and Michael Hermosillo added his first career homer as the Angels opened the final homestand of their fourth consecutive season out of the playoffs.
After Ronald Guzman doubled with two outs in the ninth, pinch-runner Delino DeShields scored the tying run on pinch-hitter Elvis Andrus’ single to left for the Rangers. Guzman and Jurickson Profar homered for the Rangers, who opened their season-ending road trip with their sixth loss in eight games.
Mike Trout went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts, but drew his 116th and 117th walks of the season to set a franchise record, surpassing his mark in 2016.