AL Playoff Watch: Rays clinch wild-card spot, Astros wrap up top seed

Yandy Diaz hit a two run double and Drew Rasmussen turned in seven quality innings as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros 7-3 to clinch a playoff berth.

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros both had reasons to like how things turned out Friday night.

Drew Rasmussen and the Rays were the only ones celebrating, however.

Rasmussen pitched seven effective innings and the Rays clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight season, posing on the field for a team picture after beating Houston 7-3. Despite the loss, the Astros wound up with home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

The Rays (86-71) are third in the wild-card race. The Toronto Blue Jays are first, 1.5 games ahead of Seattle and two ahead of Tampa.

Tampa Bay extended the longest postseason streak in franchise history and earned a playoff spot for the eighth time, all since 2008. The Rays have never won the World Series.

``They've withstood some bad news and some bad performances, but they've come out on top with some really good performances to stay afloat here,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ``It feels like right now, we're coming into our own a little bit. These guys are still young, and we're getting a taste of some really cool stuff.''

Houston (102-55) was assured home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs when the New York Yankees lost earlier in the day. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers have a better record than the Astros.

``It's hard to celebrate when you feel the pain of losing,'' Astros manager Dusty Baker said. ``We'll worry about that later.''

Rasmussen (11-7) held Houston to two runs and five hits in seven innings. He entered Friday riding a three-game losing streak, the longest of his career.

``I had a really bad outing against these guys the other day, so to be able to come back and attack the strike zone like I know how to and get quick outs and allow the defense to play was absolutely incredible,'' Rasmussen said. ``There's a lot of excitement going into the postseason now, and we're officially in.''


ATLANTA (AP) -- Cal Raleigh hit a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and Seattle ended the longest playoff drought in baseball with a win over Oakland.

Raleigh, pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, hit a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo (3-4) just inside the right-field foul pole for a solo homer that sent the Mariners to the postseason for the first time since 2001.

Acevedo struck out Mitch Haniger and Carlos Santana to open the ninth, but Raleigh came through with his 26th home run of the season, the most ever by a Seattle catcher.

Seattle was unable to solve Oakland starter Ken Waldichuk and an assembly line of relievers for eight innings, held only to Ty France's RBI double that scored Dylan Moore two batters into the game.

Canadian Matt Brash (4-4) worked a scoreless ninth in relief of Logan Gilbert, who pitched eight outstanding innings, allowing one run on three hits.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Aaron Judge didn't come close to hitting his 62nd home run, going 1 for 2 with a pair of walks as Baltimore beat New York.

Baltimore (81-76) assured it will stop a streak of four consecutive losing seasons.

Jordan Lyles (12-11) matched his career high for wins, allowing four hits in seven-plus innings. He tied his season high with nine strikeouts and walked one.

Domingo German (2-4) walked his first two batters in the sixth and retired Ryan Mountcastle on a groundout. Zack Britton relieved and walked Gunnar Henderson and then threw a pitch to pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar that went to the backstop, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Rookie DL Hall pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his first save since 2019 at Class A.


TORONTO (AP) -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer and Raimel Tapia homered, Alek Manoah pitched six innings and playoff-bound Toronto beat Boston.

The Blue Jays had a clubhouse celebration after the game because they clinched an AL wild-card berth Thursday when the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles.

Guerrero hit a two-run shot off Nick Pivetta (10-12) in the third inning, his 31st.

Manoah (16-7) allowed two hits, struck out four and walked two, his eighth consecutive start allowing two earned runs or fewer.

Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi pitched the final three innings for his first career save.


CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jose Ramirez hit a three-run homer and Emmanuel Clase closed for his major league-leading 40th save as Cleveland beat Kansas City.

Ramirez put AL Central champion Cleveland ahead for good at 4-3 in the sixth inning with his 29th home run of the season, a 404-foot blast off Brady Singer (10-5).

Cleveland has won 10 of 11 and is a major league-best 21-4 since Sept. 5. The Royals dropped their fourth in a row.

Aaron Civale (4-6) threw six innings, allowing three runs _ two earned _ in winning his second straight start.


ATLANTA (AP) -- Austin Riley and Matt Olson hit back-to-back homers off Jacob deGrom in the second inning and Dansby Swanson later connected off the Mets ace Atlanta beat New York to move into a tie for the NL East lead.

The defending World Series champion Braves are seeking to keep the Mets from winning one game in the three-game series and earn the tiebreaker between the teams. Atlanta, going for its fifth straight NL East title, has won eight of the 17 games in the season series.

Both teams are 98-59 with five games to go in the regular season.

Riley and Olson became the first players to hit back-to-back homers off deGrom (5-4) since Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson did it for the Braves on June 18, 2019.

Max Fried (14-7) allowed consecutive singles to begin the second before Francisco Alvarez grounded into a double play in his first major league at-bat. Fried departed after five innings, giving up one run on four hits.

Kenley Jansen hit a batter, gave up a single and issued a walk that loaded the bases one out in the ninth, but struck out the last two batters for his NL-high 38th save in 45 chances.


ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, Jack Flaherty allowed one run in six innings and St. Louis beat Pittsburgh.

Pujols mashed a slider from Johan Oveido 398 feet to left field in the fourth inning, his 22nd homer of the season. Pujols hadn't homered in a week since hitting Nos. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday.

Oviedo (4-3) allowed two runs on six hits while striking out four.

Flaherty (2-1) gave up four hits, struck out six and walked two in his fifth start since returning from a right shoulder injury that sidelined him most of the season.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rhys Hoskins hit his 30th home run, Bailey Falter pitched six scoreless innings and Philadelphia beat Washington to stay in position for an NL wild card.

The game was supposed to be the opener of a day-night doubleheader, but the second game was rained out and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Saturday.

Philadelphia (84-72) snapped a five-game losing streak and leads Milwaukee by one-half game for the final wild card.

Falter (6-4) allowed three hits and two walks while striking out six.

Nationals starter Erick Fedde (6-12) allowed three runs _ two earned _ on seven hits in five-plus innings.


MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Corbin Burnes outpitched Sandy Alcantara, striking out seven in eight innings to lead Milwaukee past Miami.

The Brewers remained one-half game behind the Phillies for the final NL wild card.

Burnes (12-8) allowed four hits and lowered his ERA to 2.98. Devin Williams struck out three and worked around a pair of walks in the ninth for his 15th save.

Alcantara (14-9) struck out eight over his eight innings of work and held Milwaukee to five hits, two by rookie center fielder Garrett Mitchell, who scored on Rowdy Tellez's sacrifice fly in the sixth.


DETROIT (AP) -- Jake Ryan allowed five hits in six innings and Minnesota handed Detroit its 22nd shutout loss of the season.

Detroit had its six-game winning streak snapped and surpassed the 1973 New York Yankees and 1976 Chicago White Sox, whose 21 times shut out were the most in the American League in the DH era.

Ryan (13-8) walked one and struck out eight. Carlos Correa hit a two-run homer for the Twins.

Tigers starter Tyler Alexander (4-11) allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in five innings.


CHICAGO (AP) -- Adrian Sampson threw seven efficient innings, Nico Hoerner drove in three runs and Chicago won its fifth straight.

Sampson (4-5) gave up one run on three hits, struck out six and walked two in his 97-pitch outing.

Reds starter Graham Ashcraft (5-5) gave up six runs, five earned, in 2 2/3 innings. Cincinnati has lost four straight and seven of eight.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Reid Detmers pitched six innings of four-hit ball in the final start of his rookie season, and Jo Adell and Luis Rengifo hit early solo homers as Los Angeles won its fifth straight.

Shohei Ohtani extended his hitting streak to 15 games a day after the 2021 AL MVP nearly pitched a no-hitter for the Angels, who are on their longest winning streak since April.

Adolis Garcia had an RBI double for the Rangers. They have lost three straight and six of seven.

Detmers (7-6) struck out nine and allowed one run. Jimmy Herget pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

Glenn Otto (6-10) yielded eight hits and three runs while striking out seven over six innings for Texas.

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