Rays clinch first AL East ti­tle in 10 years

Twins as­sume 1st in AL Cen­tral, Giants take lead in NL wild-card race

Arab Times - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK, Sept 24, (AP): Randy Arozarena home­red twice and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched their first AL East ti­tle in 10 years with an 8-5 vic­tory over the New York Mets.

Joey Wen­dle and Brandon Lowe also went deep to help Tyler Glas­now (5-1) win his fifth straight de­ci­sion. Tampa Bay will be home at quirky Trop­i­cana Field for a be­stof-three first-round play­off se­ries be­gin­ning next Tues­day.

It is the third di­vi­sion crown for the thrifty Rays, who also won the AL East in 2008 and 2010. Their in­au­gu­ral sea­son was 1998.

Af­ter miss­ing a chance to clinch Tues­day, the Rays went into Wed­nes­day again need­ing just a win or a New York Yan­kees loss against Toronto to lock up the di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship.

The Rays (37-20) broke a 2-all tie in the sixth on Arozarena’s two-run homer off Michael Wacha (1-4) and pulled away.

As has be­come cus­tom­ary dur­ing this pan­demic-short­ened sea­son, the


cel­e­bra­tion was muted. Af­ter Nick An­der­son fanned An­dres Gimenez for the fi­nal out, the closer ex­changed a hug with catcher Mike Zunino. The Rays filed out of the dugout and some­one shot off a canis­ter filled with con­fetti that even­tu­ally dot­ted the grass and dirt at Citi Field.

In­di­ans 3, White Sox 2

In Cleve­land, Shane Bieber low­ered his ERA to 1.63 in his fi­nal reg­u­larsea­son start, the low­est in the Amer­i­can League since Luis Tiant’s 1.60 for Cleve­land in 1968, and Jor­dan Lu­plow hit a game-end­ing home run that gave the In­di­ans a win over Chicago and dropped the White Sox into a tie with Min­nesota for the AL Cen­tral lead.

Bieber, who leads the big leagues with eight wins, al­lowed an un­earned run and two hits in five in­nings with 10 strike­outs in his eighth dou­ble-digit strike­out game, also a ma­jor league high.

He low­ered his ma­jor league-lead­ing ERA from 1.74. Chicago’s Dal­las Keuchel is sec­ond in the AL at 2.04 head­ing into his start against the In­di­ans in Thurs­day’s se­ries fi­nale.

Chicago fell to 34-22, the same record as the Twins go­ing into their game against Detroit later Wed­nes­day. Cleve­land (32-24) closed within two games of the lead with their sec­ond straight last at-bat vic­tory. José Ramírez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th for a 5-3 win Tues­day.

Twins 7, Tigers 6

In Min­neapo­lis, Jake Cave hit a pair of home runs, Kenta Maeda fin­ished off his reg­u­lar sea­son with an­other strong start and Min­nesota beat Detroit to take over sole pos­ses­sion of the AL Cen­tral lead for the first time since late Au­gust.

Ed­die Rosario added a two-run homer for the Twins (35-22), who have won four straight. They moved a half-game ahead of the sec­ond-place White Sox (34-22).

Maeda (6-1) al­lowed three runs and four hits in six in­nings with nine strike­outs. Af­ter an in­field hit by the first bat­ter of the game, he set down 15 of his next 16 hit­ters. He gave up a three-run homer to Miguel Cabr­era in the sixth.

Cabr­era hit an­other three-run shot with two outs in the ninth off Ser­gio Romo, who re­tired Jeimer Can­de­lario for his fifth save.

Tigers rookie Casey Mize (0-3) gave up six runs and five hits in 4-2/3 in­nings. Mize, the top pick in the 2018 am­a­teur draft, fin­ished his rookie sea­son with a 6.99 ERA in seven starts.

Ath­let­ics 6, Dodgers 4 In Los Angeles, Ra­mon Lau­re­ano broke a ninth-in­ning tie with a two-run homer and Oak­land beat Los Angeles in a matchup of West Di­vi­sion cham­pi­ons.

Lau­re­ano also had an RBI sin­gle in the sev­enth and made a div­ing catch in cen­ter field.

Ed­win Rios, who re­placed Dodgers third base­man Justin Turner in the sixth, home­red in his first at-bat in the eighth, ty­ing it 4-all. It was the first run given up in 19 ap­pear­ances this sea­son by Jake Diek­man (1-0), who had a 22-in­ning score­less streak that dated to last Sept 16.

Stephen Pis­cotty sin­gled in the ninth off Blake Treinen (3-3). With two outs, Lau­re­ano home­red for a 6-4 lead.

Liam Hen­driks pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

Giants 7, Rock­ies 2

In San Fran­cisco, Mauri­cio Dubón hit a three-run homer off re­liever Yency Al­monte in the fifth in­ning and San Fran­cisco defeated Colorado to move barely in front in a crowded NL wild­card race.

Evan Lon­go­ria also went deep for the Giants. Brandon Belt added three hits and walked twice.

Lo­gan Webb (3-4) al­lowed two runs over 5-1/3 in­nings to win in his first ca­reer re­lief ap­pear­ance.

The Giants (28-27) have won three of four and are per­cent­age points ahead of Cincin­nati for the first of two NL wild cards.

Rock­ies starter Ryan Castel­lani (14) walked five and gave up five runs in 4-2/3 in­nings.

Phillies 12, Nationals 3

In Washington, given a chance to DH so he could ease the bur­den on his both­er­some back, Bryce Harper home­red twice against his for­mer team, help­ing Philadel­phia beat Washington and elim­i­nate the 2019 World Se­ries cham­pi­ons from the play­off race.

The loss ended Washington’s mod­est – al­beit sea­son-best – four-game win­ning streak and left their record at 23-33. The Nationals were knocked out of postseason con­tention hours lat

er when San Fran­cisco beat Colorado.

The Phillies are 28-29 and third in the NL East, right in the thick of the chase for an NL play­off berth.

Harper, who left the na­tion’s cap­i­tal for a $330 mil­lion con­tract with the team up I-95 be­fore last sea­son, con­nected off Erick Fedde (2-4) twice to reach 13 homers for the year. Harper was walked in­ten­tion­ally in his other three plate ap­pear­ances.

Zach Eflin (4-2) gave up three runs in eight-plus in­nings.

Roy­als 12, Car­di­nals 3

In Kansas City, Mo, Sal­vador Perez and Franchy Cordero each had two homers and five RBIs, and out-of-con­tention Kansas City pum­meled play­of­fchas­ing St Louis in their se­ries fi­nale.

The Car­di­nals (27-26) re­main 3-1/2 games back of first-place Chicago in the NL Cen­tral but had their edge for the No. 2 spot in the di­vi­sion nearly wiped out. The Reds (29-28) beat the Brewers (27-28) in their se­ries fi­nale to close within per­cent­age points of St Louis headed to­ward a piv­otal fi­nal week­end.

Both of Perez’s homers came off Carlos Martinez (0-3), who de­parted with a strained lower back in the sixth.

Braves 9, Mar­lins 4

In At­lanta, Dansby Swanson hit a three-run homer and the Braves cruised to their third straight win over the Mar­lins, in a game over­shad­owed by Max Fried’s early de­par­ture with an an­kle in­jury.

The Braves ace was mak­ing his fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son start, hop­ing to boost his NL Cy Young Award cre­den­tials ahead of start­ing Game 1 in the NL play­offs next week.

But Fried lasted only one in­ning, tweak­ing an an­kle while field­ing a bunt down the third-base line by Star­ling Marte. While the left-han­der didn’t ap­pear to be hurt, he wasn’t the same pitcher af­ter the play.

Red Sox 9, Ori­oles 1

In Bos­ton, Nathan Eo­valdi struck out eight over six score­less in­nings, Rafael Dev­ers hit a three-run dou­ble that capped a six-run third and the Red Sox beat the Ori­oles in a matchup of the AL East’s worst teams.

Kevin Plawecki had three hits and drove in two runs for the Red Sox, who won their third straight in their bid to es­cape last place.

Austin Hays hit a solo homer and had three hits for Bal­ti­more, who have lost six of seven. The Ori­oles are one game ahead of the Red Sox.

Dean Kre­mer (1-1) was tagged for seven runs and seven hits over 2-2/3 in­nings in his fourth big league start.

Di­a­mond­backs 7, Rangers 3 In Phoenix, rookie Wy­att Mathisen hit his first two ca­reer homers, fel­low rookie Daulton Varsho knocked in the go-ahead run with a triple, and the Di­a­mond­backs ral­lied over the Rangers.

The Di­a­mond­backs were trail­ing 3-1 go­ing into the sixth but ral­lied for a six-run in­ning off Rangers pitch­ers Wes Ben­jamin, Nick Goody and Brett Martin. Ari­zona sent 10 bat­ters to the plate. Car­son Kelly had a game-ty­ing, two-run sin­gle, Varsho fol­lowed with the go-ahead triple, and then Mathisen and Tim Lo­cas­tro hit back-to-back homers to push the lead to 7-3.

Goody (0-2) took the loss, giv­ing up three earned runs and record­ing only one out. Sam Huff had two dou­bles for the Rangers. Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a triple and two RBIs.

Reds 6, Brewers 1

In Cincin­nati, Joey Votto home­red for his first hit all sea­son against Mil­wau­kee, Trevor Bauer dom­i­nated on short rest and the Cincin­nati Reds won a piv­otal se­ries for play­off con­tention.

The Reds are in po­si­tion for a wild­card play­off berth af­ter tak­ing two of three from their NL Cen­tral ri­vals. Cincin­nati have won nine of 11, their best streak of the sea­son, to get a shot at their first play­off ap­pear­ance since 2013.

Re­flect­ing the ur­gency of win­ning the fi­nal game of the se­ries, Cincin­nati had Bauer (5-4) pitch on three days’ rest. He al­lowed four hits, struck out 12 in eight in­nings and ex­ited with an NL-best 1.73 ERA.

An­gels 5, Padres 2

In San Diego, Padres starter Mike Clevinger was pulled af­ter one in­ning be­cause of a tight right bi­ceps, po­ten­tially a big set­back for play­off-bound San Diego.

Clevinger, ac­quired last month in a trade with Cleve­land and the pre­sumed starter for Game 1 of the play­offs next week, was sent for an MRI. If Clevinger can’t go, that role could go to Dinel­son Lamet.

Clevinger breezed through a per­fect first in­ning on 12 pitches, in­clud­ing strik­ing out Mike Trout and David Fletcher. But rookie Adrian More­jon (2-2) be­gan warm­ing up in the bullpen while the Padres bat­ted in the bot­tom of the in­ning and came out to start the sec­ond.

Blue Jays 14, Yan­kees 1 In Buf­falo, New York, catcher Gary Sánchez made two of the Yan­kees’ sea­son-high four er­rors and Toronto da­m­aged New York hopes in their race for home-field ad­van­tage in the first round of the play­offs.

Danny Jansen home­red twice, once off No. 3 catcher Erik Kratz in the eighth, as the Blue Jays re­duced their magic num­ber to one for clinch­ing a wild-card berth and their first postseason ap­pear­ance since 2016.

A.J. Cole (3-0) got the win and Ross Stripling pitched four in­nings for his first save since 2017.

Pi­rates 2, Cubs 1

In Pitts­burgh, Adam Fra­zier and Ke’Bryan Hayes led off the bot­tom of the first in­ning with back-to-back homers off Kyle Hen­dricks, send­ing Pitts­burgh past Chicago.

The Cubs clinched their fifth postseason spot in six years on Tues­day night and main­tain a fairly healthy lead in the NL Cen­tral with four days left in the reg­u­lar sea­son. But they’ve scored just nine runs to­tal while drop­ping four of their last five games.

Hen­dricks (6-5) al­lowed seven hits in 7-2/3 in­nings.

Mariners 3, Astros 2 In Seat­tle, Nick Margevi­cius tossed six shutout in­nings, Ty France drove in a pair of runs and Seat­tle kept their slim postseason hopes alive.

The Mariners closed out the home por­tion of their sched­ule tak­ing two

of three from the Astros and en­ter the fi­nal week­end three back of Hous­ton with four games to play for sec­ond place in the AL West. Seat­tle closes with four games at Oak­land, while the Astros go to Texas for four games.

Zack Greinke (3-3) al­lowed eight hits in 4-2/3 in­nings and lost his third straight de­ci­sion.

Detroit Tigers’ Vic­tor Reyes beats the tag at­tempt by Min­nesota Twins short­stop Jorge Polanco to steal sec­ond base dur­ing the first in­ning of a base­ball game on Sept 23, in Min­neapo­lis. (AP)

Tampa Bay Rays’ Brandon Lowe fol­lows through on a two-run home run dur­ing the eighth in­ning of a base­ball game against the New York Mets on Sept 23, in New York. (AP)

San Fran­cisco Giants pitcher Lo­gan Webb throws to a Colorado Rock­ies bat­ter dur­ing the sec­ond in­ning of a base­ball game on Sept 23, in San Fran­cisco. (AP)

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