With over a month left in the MLB regular season, the battle for American League wild-card playoff spots is intensifying. Here is a peek at what happened within the race and across the entire league on Saturday.
YANKEES 5, BLUE JAYS 2
NEW YORK — New York lost for the 15th time in 19 games and saw its lead in the AL East slip to seven games over the second-place Blue Jays.
The Yankees have lost six straight series for the first time since 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Toronto will try for a four-game sweep on Sunday.
Gerrit Cole (9-6) hadn’t allowed a hit before the Blue Jays scored four times in the fifth. Alejandro Kirk capped the burst with a two-run double.
Jackie Bradley hit a two-run, go-ahead double down the left-field line. He delivered after Santiago Espinal got Toronto’s first hit, a double two pitches after missing on a close two-strike pitch. Matt Chapman added a solo homer in the ninth as the Blue Jays won their fourth straight.
Estevan Florial hit an RBI single in the second and Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth for the Yankees.
Adam Cimber (9-4) was awarded the win and Yimi Garcia got his first save.
ATHLETICS 4, MARINERS 3, 10 INNINGS
OAKLAND, Calif. — Tony Kemp scored the winning run after pitcher Diego Castillo mishandled a high chopper by Sheldon Neuse with none out in the 10th inning, and Oakland ended Seattle’s four-game winning streak.
Dany Jimenez (3-4) pitched the ninth and 10th for the win.
Eugenio Suarez hit a tying single in the eighth for Seattle against Zach Jackson. Kemp had put the A’s ahead on a go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning.
A’s starter James Kaprielian allowed two runs on three hits, struck out three and walked four in five innings. He is winless in nine home starts this year.
RAYS 5, ROYALS 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Drew Rasmussen took a no-hit try into the sixth inning in his first start since making a serious perfect game bid, and Tampa Bay beat Kansas City.
Rasmussen, who lost his perfect game last Sunday when Baltimore’s Jorge Mateo opened the ninth with a double, walked MJ Melendez leading off the Royals first.
Melendez got the Royals’ first hit when he lined a single into center past Rasmussen with one out in the sixth. Bobby Witt Jr. doubled before Ramussen’s final batter, Salvador Perez, hit a sacrifice fly.
Rasmussen (8-4) gave up two runs, two hits and one walk along with eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Peter Fairbanks worked the ninth for his third save, completing the four-hitter.
Six of the first eight Rays’ batters had hits off Kris Bubic (2-8), who allowed four runs, eight hits and two walks over three innings.
RED SOX 4, ORIOLES 3
BALTIMORE — Kike Hernandez hit a two-run homer, Christian Arroyo added a key RBI double in the ninth inning and Michael Wacha pitched scoreless ball into the sixth, leading Boston past Baltimore.
The Orioles slipped to 2.5 games behind Tampa Bay in the race for the third and final American League wild-card spot.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a run-scoring single by Alex Verdugo off Kyle Bradish. Hernandez hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning that extended the lead to 3-0, and Boston added an important insurance run in the ninth Arroyo’s RBI double, completing a 3-for-5 day.
Wacha (8-1) allowed four hits with four strikeouts and one walk over 5.2 innings, and Garrett Whitlock earned his fifth save.
Bradish (1-5) allowed three runs and nine hits with six strikeouts over 5.2 innings.
RANGERS 4, TWINS 3, 10 INNINGS
MINNEAPOLIS — Corey Seager hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning and Mark Mathias added an RBI in the frame, leading Texas over Minnesota.
Seager’s hit off Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar (2-2) drove in Marcus Semien, who was the automatic runner at second base. Mathias later drove in Seager with a single to center off Griffin Jax.
Minnesota scored a run in the 10th after reliever Jonathan Hernandez (1-0) couldn’t handle a slow roller off the bat of Max Kepler. But Jose Miranda flew out one batter later to end the game with runners on the corners.
Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
WHITE SOX 2, GUARDIANS 0
CLEVELAND — Johnny Cueto scattered five hits over 8.2 innings and Jose Abreu had an RBI double to send Chicago over Cleveland.
Cleveland leads the AL Central by one game over Minnesota, while the White Sox moved within 2.5 games of the Guardians. Chicago had lost three in a row.
Cueto (6-5) struck out two and walked one in beating Cleveland for the fifth time in five career decisions. Cueto was pulled in favor of Liam Hendriks with one on and two outs in the ninth after 113 pitches. Hendriks struck out rookie Oscar Gonzalez for his 28th save.
Shane Bieber (8-7) had his four-start winning streak snapped, allowing two runs on five hits in 6.1 innings. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner struck out four in his first loss since July 24 at the White Sox.
The Guardians have won 10 of their last 14 and are 23-14 since July 10.
TIGERS 4, ANGELS 3
DETROIT — Tyler Alexander pitched six strong innings and Detroit’s bullpen finished off a win over Los Angeles.
The Tigers had lost two straight and 10 of 12.
Alexander (3-7) allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings, notching his first win in eight starts this season. Gregory Soto earned his 23rd save.
Los Angeles’ Reid Detmers (4-4) took the loss, allowing four runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
BRAVES 5, ASTROS 4, 11 INNINGS
ATLANTA — Matt Olson’s check-swing double to left with the infield shifted the other way brought home the tying run in the 11th, and pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud won it with a single through the drawn-in defence as Atlanta rallied twice in extra innings to beat Houston.
The Astros scored two in the 10th, only to have Atlanta match them in the bottom half. Houston went back ahead on Jeremy Pena’s slow roller that brought home the go-ahead run, but the Braves rallied again.
Jackson Stephens (2-2) earned the win by giving up an unearned run in the 11th. Ryne Stanek (1-1) took the loss.
Cristian Javier pitched two-hit ball for the Astros but again failed to get much offensive support. Rookie Spencer Strider surrendering three hits, walked two and struck out nine for the Braves.
Atlanta’s Vaughn Grissom kept up his torrid hitting since being called up from the minors less than two weeks ago. The 21-year-old launched one into the Astros bullpen in the fifth, giving him three homers in his first 11 big league games.
CARDINALS 16, DIAMONDBACKS 7
PHOENIX — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols blasted two more homers, pushing his career total to 692 and helping St. Louis beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 16-7 on Saturday night.
It was a vintage night for the 42-year-old Pujols. The 11-time All-Star hit solo homers in the second and fourth off D-backs lefty Madison Bumgarner. He nearly hit a third homer, scorching a single off the base of the left field wall in the fifth. He capped his 4-for-4 night with a ground ball single through the left side of the infield in the seventh.
With the first homer, Pujols passed Stan Musial for No. 2 in total bases in major league history and now has 6,143. Hank Aaron is No. 1 with 6,856.
Pujols needs four more homers to tie Alex Rodriguez for No. 4 all-time. He’s been on a roll over the past month, batting .386 with five homers over his past 16 games coming into Saturday.
The Cardinals have won six straight games and 15 of their past 18.
Bumgarner (6-13) gave up five runs on seven hits over 5.1 innings. Jake McCarthy had a solo homer.
St. Louis starting pitcher Dakota Hudson gave up four runs over 4.1 innings. Genesis Cabrera (4-2) got the win in relief.
DODGERS 7, MARLINS 0
LOS ANGELES — Dustin May dominated for five innings in his return from Tommy John surgery, Will Smith and Justin Turner hit three-run homers and Los Angeles routed Miami.
In his first big league start since May 2021, May gave up just one hit, struck out nine and walked two. He retired his last 13 batters.
Freddie Freeman also drove in a run for the Dodgers, who extended their home winning streak to eight games.
The Marlins scratched scheduled starter Braxton Garrett because of an oblique strain. Bryan Hoeing (0-1) got the start in his major league debut and was for seven runs and eight hits in three innings.
The Marlins managed just three hits, with Jon Berti getting two of them, as they lost for the seventh time in their last nine games.
PADRES 2, NATIONALS 1
SAN DIEGO — Juan Soto and Josh Bell homered against their former team, leading San Diego to a much-needed win over Washington.
Soto’s solo shot off reliever Steve Cishek (1-4) to center field in the seventh inning proved to be the winner. Bell ended a 1-for-33 slump over eight-plus games with his first home run as a member of the Padres, a 415-foot blast to right-center to tie the game at 1 in the fifth.
The Padres had lost four of five, including the first two in the series.
Starter Joe Musgrove allowed one run and four hits in six innings with seven strikeouts. San Diego’s bullpen also stepped up, keeping the Nationals scoreless over three innings. Adrian Morejon (3-0) earned the win by pitching scoreless seventh and eighth. Luis Garcia earned his third save of the season.
The Nationals jumped out to a 1-0 lead after a solo homer by Lane Thomas (2 for 4) off Musgrove.
PHILLIES 4, METS 1, 2ND GAME
METS 8, PHILLIES 2, 1ST GAME
PHILADELPHIA — Bailey Falter threw six innings of two-hit ball, Kyle Schwarber tripled and doubled, and Philadelphia earned a split fo a day-night doubleheader against New York.
In the opener, Starling Marte had three hits to lead the Mets.
The Phillies came back in the nightcap to top the NL East-leading Mets for just the fifth time in 18 games this year.
Falter (1-3) allowed one run in his first major league start since July 29. After a rocky first inning where he walked two, hit a batter and allowed Francisco Lindor to score on a wild pitch, he retired 16 of the next 18 hitters. David Robertson earned his 17th save of the year and third since rejoining Philadelphia.
David Peterson (6-3) took the loss.
In the first game, Michael Perez broke an 0-for-19 slump with a two-run single off former Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler (11-7) struggled with his control, walking four while striking out six in 5.1 innings. Mets pitchers Trevor Williams, Seth Lugo (3-2), Joely Rodriguez, Adam Ottavino and Sam Clay held the Phillies to six hits while stranding 12 runners.
ROCKIES 4, GIANTS 3, 10 INNINGS
DENVER — Brendan Rodgers drove in Wynton Bernard with his fourth hit of the game, and Colorado beat San Francisco in 10 innings.
Ryan McMahon had three hits and Lucas Gilbreath (2-0) pitched the 10th inning for the win.
Bernard, the 31-year-old rookie, started the 10th on second base. After a groundout and intentional walk, Rodgers lined a single to left off Camilo Doval (4-6) to bring home the speedy Bernard with the winning run.
Brandon Crawford homered, doubled and drove in two runs, and Joey Bart also went deep for San Francisco, which has dropped four in a row on the heels of a five-game winning streak.
CUBS 6, BREWERS 5, 11 INNINGS
CHICAGO — Willson Contreras hit an RBI single to cap a two-run rally in the 11th inning, and Chicago scored once in the ninth to tie, once in the 10th to keep it even and finally won in the 11th to extend its win streak to five games.
Contreras had a two-run homer in the fifth, his 20th this season to become the first Cubs catcher to homer 20 times in four seasons.
Patrick Wisdom doubled home automatic runner Nico Hoerner to make it 5-all. Wisdom was later thrown out at the plate trying to score on Nick Madrigal’s grounder, but Contreras singled off Peter Strzelecki (1-1) to end it.
Erich Uelmen (2-1), the Cubs fourth reliever, got four outs.
Willy Adames had a two-run homer for the Brewers, who finished with four hits.
REDS 10, PIRATES 1
PITTSBURGH — Jake Fraley’s two-run home run highlighted a four-run outburst in the fourth inning and Justin Dunn earned his first win in 16 months as Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh.
Fraley’s sixth homer of the season landed in the Allegheny River and increased the Reds’ lead to 5-0.
Dunn (1-1) allowed one run in five innings in his third start since being called up from Triple-A Louisville. He gave up three hits while walking four and striking out four.
Austin Romine added a two-run double for the Reds, who had lost eight of their previous 10 games. Kyle Farmer, Mike Moustakas and Donovan Solano had two hits each.
The Pirates’ Rodolfo Castro had two hits, including a solo home run in the fourth inning. The Pirates lost for the seventh time in nine games. Tyler Beede (1-3) was tagged for five runs, four earned, in four innings. He also gave up six hits and a walk to go with two strikeouts.