AL Playoff Watch: Rays fall further back of Blue Jays with loss to Astros

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, center, scores on a wild pitch thrown by Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan (18) during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Houston. (David J. Phillip/AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Cristian Javier threw six shutout innings and Jake Meyers had two hits in Houston’s victory over Tampa Bay.

It’s the 103rd victory for the American League-leading Astros, which is tied with the 2018 team for second-most wins in franchise history behind the 107 piled up in 2019.

Javier (11-9) allowed two hits and struck out seven to extend his scoreless streak to 25 1/3 innings, which is the longest active streak in the majors.

Closer Ryan Pressly walked consecutive batters with one out in the ninth before pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz hit an RBI single on a grounder to left field with two outs to cut the lead to 2-1. But Pressly retired pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez on a fly ball to end it and get his 32nd save.

Shane McClanahan (12-8) yielded five hits and two runs in five innings for his third straight loss.


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NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge went 0 for 2 with two walks and was hit by a pitch on Saturday, remaining at 61 homers on the 61st anniversary of Roger Maris setting the American League record as the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-0.

Judge reached base leading off to spark a three-run first and a four-run seventh and also struck out twice. He leads the AL with 110 walks.

A 2-0 cutter from Austin Voth (5-4) glanced off Judge’s left arm in the first, and he walked on five pitches in the second. Judge struck out on a full-count curveball in the fourth — at 2:43 p.m., 61 years to the minute when Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard across the street at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge is in contention to become the first Triple Crown winner in a decade. He leads in RBIs and at .313 is second in batting to Minnesota’s Luis Arraez.

Nestor Cortes (12-4) matched his career high with 12 strikeouts, pitching one-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings and walking two. Jorge Mateo singled over leaping shortstop Oswald Peraza with two outs in the fifth.


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TORONTO (AP) — Teoscar Hernández homered, doubled twice and singled, Danny Jansen drove in five runs and Toronto moved one step closer to wrapping up the top spot in the AL wild-card race by routing Boston.

The Blue Jays began the day with a 1 1/2-game lead over Seattle atop the wild-card standings.

Ross Stripling (10-4) and four relievers combined on a four-hitter as Toronto shut out the Red Sox for the second straight day. Bo Bichette went 4 for 4 as Toronto opened October with a 21-hit outburst.

Making his final start of the season, Boston rookie right-hander Brayan Bello (2-8) allowed four runs and a career-high 10 hits in four innings.


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ATLANTA (AP) — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting Atlanta to a crucial victory over New York and a one-game lead in the NL East.

New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining. Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

Scherzer (11-5) was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.


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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Devin Williams blew a ninth-inning lead and Milwaukee squandered an opportunity to pull even in the race for the final National League playoff spot, losing to Miami.

Bryan De La Cruz hit a two-run single off Williams that put Miami ahead in the ninth. Milwaukee fell a game behind the Phillies, who split a doubleheader with Washington, for the third NL wild-card berth. Philadelphia holds the head-to-head tiebreaker between the teams.

Williams (6-4) walked two in the ninth and both runners advanced on a wild pitch before De La Cruz lined a single to left field that scored Jon Berti and Brian Anderson. Left fielder Christian Yelich misplayed the ball, allowing De La Cruz to reach second. Peter Strzelecki relieved Williams and got the final two outs of the inning.

Richard Bleier pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season. Tommy Nance (2-3) picked up the win with a scoreless eighth.


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WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyle Schwarber hit two of Philadelphia’s five homers in the first four innings and the Phillies got a much-needed win as they try to end an 11-year playoff drought, salvaging a split of a day-night doubleheader by beating Washington in a rainy Game 2.

Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh and Matt Vierling also went deep in the nightcap for the Phillies, who quickly recovered from a 13-4 loss in the opener against the worst-in-the-majors Nationals. That was Philadelphia’s sixth defeat in seven games.

Noah Syndergaard (5-2) got the win in Game 2 with 5 2/3 scoreless innings as light rain fell for much of the evening. He gave up two singles and two walks. Rookie Cristopher Sánchez threw the last three innings for his first career save.

Schwarber’s sixth leadoff homer of the season, and 19th of his career, landed in the second deck in right. It came on the second pitch of Game 2 from Tommy Romero (1-1), who made his major league debut for the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 12 and was claimed off waivers by the Nationals on Aug. 25.


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SEATTLE (AP) — Luis Castillo struck out eight in six innings of two-hit ball and Seattle beat Oakland to keep pace with Toronto Blue Jays in the bid to host an AL wild-card series.

Castillo (8-6) retired 16 in a row to help Seattle to its fourth consecutive win. The Mariners rested most of their key starters a day after securing a wild-card berth, ending the longest playoff drought in major professional sports in North America.

Leadoff hitter Dylan Moore doubled off opener Adam Oller (2-8) to start the game, and scored on Santana’s RBI single two batters later. Sam Haggerty’s two-out single brought home Santana and Luis Torrens later in the inning for a 3-1 lead.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jake Cronenworth hit a tiebreaking two-run homer and Mike Clevinger was brilliant for six innings in San Diego’s win over Chicago, which reduced the Padres’ magic number for clinching an NL wild card to one.

Juan Soto and Manny Machado also connected for the Padres, who can claim their first playoff spot in a full season since 2006 on Sunday when they send lefty Blake Snell to the mound for the series finale.

With Clevinger (7-7) and Dylan Cease (14-8) locked in a duel after each allowed a home run in the first inning, the Padres knocked the Chicago right-hander out of the game before he could get an out in the sixth.

Josh Hader pitched the ninth for his 35th save.


CLEVELAND (AP) — Salvador Perez had four hits and drove in a pair of runs, Kris Bubic struck out a season-high eight and Kansas City beat AL Central champion Cleveland.

Perez collected three singles and a solo homer in four plate appearances, spoiling the return of Cleveland right-hander Zach Plesac (3-12) following a one-month stay on the injured list with a broken pitching hand.

Cleveland has won 10 of 12 and is an MLB-best 21-5 since Sept. 5.

Bubic (3-13) tossed five scoreless innings, allowing five hits, in snapping his career-long losing streak at seven. The left-hander had not won since July 24 against Tampa Bay.

Drew Waters homered for the second straight day, Kyle Isbel had a two-run double and MJ Melendez doubled twice for Kansas City. Bobby Witt Jr. singled and stole his AL rookie-leading 29th base.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — José Suarez lost a perfect game and the lead in the seventh inning before Los Angeles rallied for a win over Texas.

Livan Soto had three hits, drove in a run and scored the go-ahead run for the Angels, who have won six straight to tie a season high.

Shohei Ohtani extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a base hit in the eighth inning.

Nathaniel Lowe had a two-run homer in the seventh as the Rangers dropped their fourth straight.

Suarez (8-8) struck out five in retiring the first 18 batters before Marcus Semien led off the seventh with a single.

The Angels regained the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh.

Jonathan Hernandez (2-3) got the loss.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Albert Pujols hit a two-run single and Corey Dickerson had a grand slam in a six-run first inning to help NL Central champion St. Louis beat Pittsburgh.

Pujols singled to left with the bases loaded in the first inning, driving in Brendan Donovan and Lars Nootbaar to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

Two batters later, Dickerson lined an 0-1 fastball 433 feet into the right-center field bleachers for his sixth home run of the season and his second career grand slam to increase the Cardinals’ lead to 6-0.

Jordan Montgomery (9-6) allowed two runs on four hits in six innings and struck out five batters after losing his previous three starts.

Luis Ortiz (0-2) allowed six runs on three hits and walked three batters in 2/3 of an inning in his fourth career start.


DETROIT (AP) — Eric Haase had three hits, including a home run, and Detroit beat Minnesota.

The Tigers have won seven of eight. The Twins will have to win their final four games to finish with a .500 season.

With the score tied at 2 in the sixth, Javier Báez was hit by a pitch from Ronny Henriquez (0-1). Báez moved to second on a fly ball. Harold Castro grounded to first baseman Luis Arraez, but he missed Henriquez with his throw, allowing Báez to score the go-ahead run.

Daniel Norris (2-0) picked up the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Andrew Chafin picked up his second save after A.J. Hinch used closer Gregory Soto in the eighth.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sergio Alcántara had a pair of two-run doubles for Arizona in its win over San Francisco. The Giants were eliminated from postseason contention.

Christian Walker went 3 for 5 with an RBI double, finishing a homer shy of hitting for the cycle, for Arizona. Josh Rojas added two RBIs and Cooper Hummel had a sacrifice fly for the Diamondbacks. Jordan Luplow had three hits.

J.D. Davis and Mike Yastrzemski homered for San Francisco, which ended its five-game winning streak. Drey Jameson (3-0) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings.

Jakob Junis (5-7) went 4 2/3 frames, surrendering four runs on eight hits to take the loss.


CHICAGO (AP) — Seiya Suzuki hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning, and Chicago won its sixth in a row by topping Cincinnati.

Suzuki’s two-out drive to left-center against Derek Law (2-3) was Chicago’s first hit since the fourth and the last of three on the day. But the Cubs also had six walks and made the most of a strong performance by their bullpen.

Cincinnati dropped its fifth straight game and 18th in its last 22 overall. It needs to win three of its last four — all against Chicago — to avoid the franchise’s second 100-loss season.

Wade Miley (2-2) got the win.

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