BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this season, rallying on pinch-hitter Brock Holt’s go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 Tuesday night.
The Red Sox assured themselves at least a spot in the AL wild-card game while reaching the postseason for the third straight year. The AL East leaders began the night with an eight-game lead over the New York Yankees.
Boston starter Chris Sale came off the disabled list and pitched one scoreless inning, striking out two and throwing 26 pitches. Sale has been slowed by inflammation in his left shoulder, and the Red Sox had said they would ease their ace back into action.
Ryan Brasier (2-0) got the win with 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief as Boston used seven relievers after limiting Sale in his return.
Ryan Tepera (5-5) took the loss.
Jose Fernandez hit his first career home run for the Angels in the second inning, adding another milestone to the 30-year-old Cuban’s rookie season after making his major league debut June 8.
The Angels’ starting rotation was decimated by injuries this season, paving the way for what was the fifth bullpen game of the season. Jim Johnson made his second career start and pitched 1 1/3 innings. He was followed by Noe Ramirez, Hansel Robles, Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson and Jose Alvarez, who combined to get through seven innings without giving up a hit.
Parker found difficulty in the eighth. After Kiner-Falefa’s single to break up the bid, he got pinch hitter Ronald Gumzan to fly out to left field, then allowed a sharp single by Rougned Odor. Scioscia opted to change pitchers.
Ramirez (5-5) got the win, and Ty Buttrey earned the save.
DETROIT (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the game’s first pitch, and Houston powered past Detroit.
The Astros maintained a three-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
Houston built a 5-0 lead on three homers in the first four innings off Jordan Zimmermann, and then held on with five scoreless innings from their bullpen.
Framber Valdez left with a one-run lead after allowing all four of Detroit’s runs in the fourth inning, including a three-run homer by JaCoby Jones. Will Harris (4-3) got the win by striking out the side in the fifth inning, and three more relievers followed before Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 17th save in 18 opportunities.
Zimmermann (7-7) allowed five runs and six hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out three.
NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom took his latest hard-luck loss in a record-setting season, getting outpitched by Miami’s Jose Urena.
DeGrom (8-9) gave up only Lewis Brinson’s two-run double in seven stellar innings. The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out nine, his major league-low ERA climbing just a tick from 1.68 to 1.71. He held his opponent to fewer than four runs for the 26th straight start — breaking a big league mark set by King Cole in 1910 with the Chicago Cubs.
JT Riddle came off the bench and homered into the right-field upper deck in his first at-bat for Miami since returning from a sore left wrist. After missing five games, Riddle connected in the eighth against reliever Anthony Swarzak.
Urena permitted one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
NATIONALS 3, PHILLIES 1, 1st game; NATIONALS 7, PHILLIES 6, 10 innings, 2nd game
The Nationals rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off Seranthony Dominguez to tie the game at 6-all. Soto, who hit a two-run shot in the fourth, connected off Yacksel Rios (3-2) with one out in the 10th for the winner.
In the first game, Spencer Kieboom hit his first major league home run after losing a tooth earlier in the day, Erick Fedde (2-3) pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and the Nationals beat the Phillies 3-1.
The Phillies, who were 15 games over .500 in early August and in the thick of NL playoff race, have lost four straight games and are 6-16 since Aug. 18.
Phillies starter Nick Pivetta (7-12) was one of seven pitchers to work the opener.
Fedde, making his second start since he missed two months with a sore right shoulder, tossed one-hit ball through five.
SEATTLE (AP) — Wil Myers lined an RBI double off major league saves leader Edwin Diaz with one out in the ninth inning to lift San Diego.
Diaz entered with the game tied at 1 and struggled without having a chance at his 55th save. Diaz (0-4) gave up singles to Hunter Renfroe and Eric Hosmer leading off the inning. After a strikeout of Franmil Reyes, Myers jumped on the first pitch and pulled it into the left field corner, letting pinch-runner Travis Jankowski score easily from second.
Seattle had runners at second and third and no outs in the seventh and failed to score, and loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning, and failed to score again. Cameron Maybin, who doubled in the seventh, couldn’t come through in the eighth against Craig Stammen (8-2), flying out to the warning track in right to end the threat.
Kirby Yates pitched the ninth inning for his eighth save.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Mike Foltynewicz pitched a six-hitter to win for the first time in nearly a month, Charlie Culberson hit a two-run homer after entering as an injury replacement and Atlanta sent San Francisco to its 10th straight defeat.
Foltynewicz (11-9) retired 13 straight batters after Evan Longoria’s two-out double in the first. The right-hander carried a shutout into the ninth before allowing Brandon Crawford’s two-out RBI single. Atlanta’s starter struck out seven and walked one while finishing with 108 pitches. He was still hitting the high 90s on the radar gun in the late innings.
Foltynewicz got his first victory since Aug. 13 against Miami, ending a four-start winless stretch.
Ender Inciarte had a sacrifice fly in the fourth then Culberson followed Ronald Acuna Jr.’s leadoff triple in the fifth with his 11th home run. He replaced injured third baseman Johan Camargo, who exited with left groin tightness.
DENVER (AP) — Ketel Marte drove in four runs, including a two-out, two-run triple to break a sixth-inning tie, reliever Yoshihisa Hirano helped Arizona weather a ninth-inning scare for his first big league save and the Diamondbacks pulled closer in the NL West standings by beating the first-place Colorado.
The Diamondbacks cut their deficit in the division to 2 1/2 games. The Rockies maintained a 1 1/2 -game advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost for a second straight day in Cincinnati. Colorado is chasing after its first NL West crown in franchise history.
Marte also added a two-run single in the eighth to make it 6-3. He leads the league in triples with 11.
Zack Greinke (14-9) gave up two runs in the first before recovering his command to allow three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Antonio Senzatela (4-6) gave up two runs in the first and four runs total over six innings.
Cleveland lowered its magic number to three for a third straight AL Central title.
Acquired from Toronto on Aug. 31, Donaldson went 0 for 4 in his first big league game since May 28, a layoff caused by a strained left calf. The 2015 AL MVP flied out to deep center and deep right, struck out and grounded into a forceout. The third baseman made a nifty backhand grab on C.J. Cron’s sixth-inning grounder.
Jose Ramirez moved from third to second, and second baseman Jason Kipnis moved to center.
Tampa Bay had its franchise record 12-game home winning streak end and lost for just the fourth time in 21 games overall.
Gomes homered in the fifth and Encarnacion in the sixth against Tyler Glasnow (0-4), who allowed six hits in seven innings.
REDS 3, DODGERS 1
Defending NL champion Los Angeles is 0-6 against Cincinnati this season. After losing Monday’s series opener 10-6 to the last-place Reds, the Dodgers began the day 1 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Colorado and two games back of St. Louis for the second NL wild card.
Scooter Gennett had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the fifth inning, and lifted his league-leading average to .321. Gennett is hitting .727 (16 for 22) against the Dodgers this season.
Ryu (4-3) gave up eight hits in five innings.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Mike Fiers remained unbeaten in an Oakland uniform, working six solid innings against Baltimore.
The Athletics won their fifth straight to improve to 33-15 since the All-Star break, the best mark in the majors during that span. Oakland holds the second AL wild-card spot behind the Yankees.
Fiers (12-6), who was acquired from the Tigers on Aug. 6, allowed one run and four hits with seven strikeouts and a walk. He is 5-0 in seven starts with the A’s and has won a career-best six straight decisions overall.
Jeurys Familia worked a perfect ninth for his 18th save since being acquired from the Mets on July 21.
Stephen Piscotty went 3 for 4 — including an RBI single in a three-run third inning — for Oakland. He extended his hitting streak to 12 games and has driven in a run in six straight.
Mike Wright (3-2) replaced Alex Cobb in the third and was hit in the left foot by a sharp grounder from Ramon Laureano, the second batter he faced. Matt Chapman followed with an RBI double, and Khris Davis and Piscotty drove in runs with singles.
CUBS 3, BREWERS 0
Quintana continued his mastery of Milwaukee in a huge spot for Chicago (84-60), improving to 6-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 10 career starts against the Brewers. The veteran left-hander struck out seven and walked two in 6 2/3 innings in his second straight victory over Jhoulys Chacin, also winning at Milwaukee last Wednesday.
Quintana (13-9) received a standing ovation from the crowd of 37,017 when he departed with the bases loaded after a replay review awarded an infield single to pinch-hitter Hernan Perez. Justin Wilson then struck out pinch-hitter Manny Pina on three pitches, preserving Chicago’s 2-0 lead and drawing another loud roar at Wrigley Field.
Milwaukee (83-63) had won seven of eight, including a 3-2 victory in the series opener that trimmed Chicago’s division lead to one game. Chacin (14-7) pitched five innings of one-hit ball, but some sloppy play in the second proved costly for the wild card-leading Brewers.
TWINS 10, YANKEES 5
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joe Mauer hit a grand slam to highlight a six-run fifth inning, and Minnesota beat New York for the first time in 10 meetings.
Didi Gregorious answered Mauer’s big bop with his own grand slam in the sixth. That was the only bright spot for the Yankees, who dropped nine games behind Boston in the AL East race and had their lead over Oakland for the first wild card spot cut to two games. The major league leaders in home runs with 234, the Yankees fell to 80-36 in games when they go deep.
Sonny Gray (10-9) lasted three innings and allowed three runs — two earned — four hits and three walks. Gregorius tripled and scored on Gary Sanchez’s sacrifice fly for a second-inning lead, but Gray gave it back in a three-run third.
Jonathan Loaisiga fared even worse, forcing in a run with a bases-loaded walk to Max Kepler in the fifth. Three batters later, Mauer crushed a full-count fastball to center field.
Whit Merrifield had two hits, two RBIs, and scored two runs for the Royals. He also stole two bases to increase his American League lead to 33 steals, including a league-best 12 of third base.
Keller (8-6) gave up one run and four hits and two walks while striking out six. He is 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last six starts, lowering his ERA to 3.04 — leading all AL rookies.
Wily Peralta picked up his 10th save in 10 chances, despite walking two in 1/3 of an inning.
The Royals have won a season-high seven straight at home — and 10 of 11.
CARDINALS 11, PIRATES 5
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cardinals rookie Tyler O’Neill hit a three-run homer during a six-run eighth inning, Marcell Ozuna drove in three and Miles Mikolas pitched seven solid innings to lift the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-5 on Tuesday night.
Mikolas (15-5) gave up a run, five hits and a walk while striking out seven. He dropped his ERA to 2.99, and he got his first victory in five starts against the Pirates this season. Mikolas struck out five straight in one stretch, and the Cardinals improved to 21-8 in his starts.
Ozuna is hitting .352 this season against Pittsburgh. He has 13 RBIs against the Pirates and 79 on the season.
Joe Musgrove (6-9) went six innings. He allowed four hits, four runs and two walks while striking out eight.