Dodgers 1st Team to Clinch Playoffs
(AP) - The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the pandemic-shortened season.
They beat the San Diego Padres 7-5 behind Dustin May's gutty effort out of the bullpen and home runs from AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor. Will Smith drove in three runs for the seven-time defending NL West champion Dodgers, who opened a 3 1/2-game lead in the division by winning two of three in the matchup of the NL's two best teams.
San Diego is closing in on its first playoff berth since winning the division in 2006. It has lost two straight for the first time since mid-August.
In other action:
- Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria homered for San Francisco, and the visiting Giants playing at home beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3 in a game moved to the Bay Area because of smoky, dangerous air in Western Washington. Donovan Solano and Mauricio Dubon hit early RBI singles as the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak with a "road" victory at Oracle Park. One encouraging development: A familiar mist hovered over the outfield late in the game, not smoke.
- Kole Calhoun hit his third homer in two games against his former Angels teammates, and David Peralta homered and drove in two runs in the Arizona Diamondbacks' 9-6 victory over Los Angeles. Nick Ahmed had a two-run single during Arizona's four-run second inning against Dylan Bundy, who had the worst start of his strong season for the Angels. Max Stassi, Jared Walsh and Justin Upton homered for the Angels, who have lost two straight at home after an 8-3 surge briefly invited hopes of playoff contention.
- Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano each hit a two-run homer, and the Minnesota Twins denied the Chicago White Sox a chance to clinch their first playoff berth in 12 years with a 5-1 victory. Eddie Rosario also went deep and Minnesota pitchers retired their final 18 batters against the AL Central leaders. Chicago had won six straight and nine of 10. The second-place Twins moved within two games of Chicago in the division standings.
- Rookie Luis García hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning and the Washington Nationals beat the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays 4-2. With Carter Kieboom on second base to start extra innings, the 20-year-old García hit a leadoff shot on the first pitch from Nick Anderson. Tampa Bay completed a stretch of eight consecutive games against last-place teams at 3-5.
- Kyle Higashioka hit a career-high three home runs, DJ LeMahieu connected twice and the resurgent New York Yankees hit a season-best seven home runs in another Bronx air show, thumping the Toronto Blue Jays 13-2 to back another overpowering start by ace Gerrit Cole. Luke Voit lofted a three-run drive for his major league-leading 19th homer and Clint Frazier added a solo shot as the Yankees won their seventh straight game following a 5-15 slide. New York moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Toronto for second place in the AL East, with the top two teams ensured spots in the expanded postseason that begins in less than two weeks.
- Javier Báez's RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to their fourth straight win, 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians. Automatic runner Ian Happ advanced to third when Kris Bryant greeted Phil Maton with a groundball single to open the 10th. After an intentional walk and two strikeouts, Báez's liner to left scored Happ and sent the Indians to their eighth straight loss, their longest slide since June 2013. The Cubs won their fourth straight and strengthened their grip on first place in the NL Central.
- Brent Suter and three relievers combined on a two-hitter and Ryan Braun hit his 350th career homer, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 for a doubleheader split. The Cardinals took the opener 4-2 behind Adam Wainwright's four-hitter. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt ran the team in the opener. He missed the nightcap while serving a one-game suspension, imposed by Major League Baseball after tempers flared during the Brewers' 18-3 romp Tuesday night. Umpires warned both teams after Braun was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. He was at the center of the trouble the previous night when he hit Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in the wrist during a swing.
- Kyle Gibson threw a four-hitter and Joey Gallo hit a ground-rule RBI double with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Texas Rangers over the Houston Astros 1-0. It was the first career shutout for the 32-year-old Gibson and third complete game. The victory snapped a seven-game road skid for the Rangers, who are 5-18 away from home this season.
- Cole Hamels finally got on the mound in an Atlanta uniform, allowing three runs to the Baltimore Orioles before reaching his predetermined pitch count in the fourth inning, and the Braves struggled offensively in a 5-1 loss Wednesday night. Rookie Keegan Akin struck out nine over five scoreless inning to earn his first big league victory and help the Orioles win the deciding matchup of a three-game set against the NL East leaders.
- Jorge Alfaro homered twice before he took a foul ball to his helmet and the Miami Marlins beat the Boston Red Sox 8-4. Garrett Cooper also homered and scored twice for Miami, which moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
- Jacob deGrom left after two innings with a right hamstring spasm, but the New York Mets rallied from four runs down to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4. Phillies reliever Hector Neris dropped the ball on the mound for a balk that moved the go-ahead run to second base in the ninth. Rookie infielder Andres Gimenez hit an RBI single to put the Mets ahead.
- Luis Castillo threw seven shutout innings, Shogo Akiyama drove in the Reds only run and Cincinnati completed a four-game sweep of Pittsburgh with a 1-0 win that keeps the Reds in the postseason picture. Castillo (3-5), coming off his first career complete game, retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced and gave up only three hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.
- Mike Fiers threw six sharp innings before turning it over to a lights-out bullpen and the Oakland Athletics snapped a six-game skid against the Colorado Rockies with a 3-1 win. Next up, a well-earned day off for the Athletics, who have played 16 games in 13 days. They finished the stretch 9-7. The Rockies were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position against the 35-year-old Fiers.
- Brady Singer was stellar for a second straight start, allowing two hits in six innings, and the Kansas City Royals blanked the Detroit Tigers 4-0. The rookie right-hander struck out the first five Detroit hitters and retired the first 10. Salvador Perez homered and drove in three runs for the Royals, who have won seven of eight.