MLB roundup: Braves hammer Nats, clinch playoff spot

Ronald Acuna Jr.’s two-run double highlighted a four-run seventh-inning rally Saturday that sparked visiting Atlanta to a 10-1 win over the Washington Nationals — and propelled the Braves into the playoffs.

Ronald Acuna Jr.’s two-run double highlighted a four-run seventh-inning rally Saturday that sparked visiting Atlanta to a 10-1 win over the Washington Nationals — and propelled the Braves into the playoffs.

While the win reduced Atlanta’s magic number for clinching the National League East to four, it also ensured the Braves will at worst get one the NL’s two wild-card spots. The Braves (93-57) increased their division lead to 10 1/2 games over the Nationals (81-66). The Braves have won 13 of their last 16 and are 11-7 against the Nationals.

Mike Foltynewicz (6-6) continued to pitch well since his return from the minor leagues. The right-hander worked six innings and allowed one run on four hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Foltynewicz has allowed only two runs in his last 18 innings. The Braves have won his last 11 starts.

The seventh-inning rally began when Wander Suero (5-8) walked Brian McCann and Swanson to start the inning. The Nationals called in Fernando Rodney from the bullpen, and his inside pitch hit Charlie Culberson below the right cheek. But home plate umpire Tim Timmons ruled Culberson had offered at the pitch while attempting to bunt, which resulted in a strike rather than a hit batter. The decision incensed Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, who was ejected for arguing. Duvall replaced Culberson and finished the at-bat, striking out before Acuna’s big hit.

Yankees 13, Blue Jays 3

Brett Gardner hit two home runs and had a season-best five RBIs, and left-hander James Paxton won a career-best ninth straight start as New York rolled host Toronto to even their three-game series.

Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit and Mike Ford also homered, and DJ LeMahieu had four hits for the Yankees, who outhit the Blue Jays 19-9. Gardner now has a career-best 25 homers.

Paxton (14-6) allowed one run, three hits and two walks while striking out three in five innings. Toronto starter Jacob Waguespack (4-5) allowed three runs, seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four

Astros 6, Royals 1

Zack Greinke pitched six strong innings to become the 19th pitcher to defeat all 30 major league teams as Houston beat host Kansas City after Kyle Tucker had four hits, including the go-ahead single in the sixth inning for the Astros.

Houston (97-53) saw its magic number to clinch the American League West reduced to six. Oakland beat Texas later Saturday, but Houston maintained a 7 1/2-game lead over the A’s.

Greinke (16-5) allowed one run on six hits. The former Royals first-round pick (sixth overall) in 2002 struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone. He is the third Astro to reach 16 wins this season.

Rays 3, Angels 1

Travis d’Arnaud’s two-out, three-run double in the sixth inning provided visiting Tampa Bay all the offense it would need to beat Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

The Rays finished with just five hits, two by d’Arnaud, whose game-winning hit allowed the Rays to increase their lead over the Cleveland Indians for the second AL wild-card berth to 2 1/2 games. Tampa Bay is a half-game behind Oakland for the top wild-card spot.

Six Rays pitchers combined to limit the Angels to one run — which came on a wild pitch in the seventh inning. The Angels were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Twins 9, Indians 5 (Game 2)

Miguel Sano belted a grand slam in the eighth inning as visiting Minnesota swept a split doubleheader from Cleveland to tighten its hold on the AL Central.

Eddie Rosario launched a two-run homer in the first inning, and Nelson Cruz followed suit in the sixth for the Twins (91-57), who boosted their lead to 5 1/2 games ahead of second-place Cleveland (86-63). Jorge Polanco sent an offering from Oliver Perez (2-3) off the wall in left field for an RBI double to forge a tie at 5-5 in the eighth inning, helping to set the stage for Sano.

Rookie Oscar Mercado crushed a two-run homer to highlight his three-hit performance, and Jordan Luplow also went deep for the Indians.

Twins 2, Indians 0 (Game 1)

Polanco hit a two-run home run and five Minnesota pitchers combined for a five-hitter as the Twins also took Game 1 from Cleveland, a game that was a makeup for Friday night, when rain forced postponement after two innings.

Max Kepler and Luis Arraez each doubled and had two hits for Minnesota, while Zack Littell (5-0) allowed one hit and struck out two over two innings after taking over for opener Devin Smeltzer (one hit, three innings).

Mike Clevinger (11-3) suffered the loss, his first since June 28 at Baltimore. That ended a streak during which he won 10 straight decisions over 13 starts. He allowed six hits and a walk while striking out 10 over eight innings.

A’s 8, Rangers 6

Mark Canha lined a two-run home run off the left field foul pole to break a 5-5 tie and Matt Chapman, Josh Phegley and Matt Olson also homered to lead Oakland past host Texas in Arlington.

Ramon Laureano doubled and had three hits and a run scored, and Sheldon Neuse also had two hits for Oakland (89-60), which has won five straight. The four home runs gave the A’s nine in the first two games of the series with the Rangers and 242 for the season, one off the franchise single-season record.

The A’s remained a half-game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the first wild-card spot in the AL and 7 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.

Rockies 11, Padres 10

Charlie Blackmon homered, Daniel Murphy had four hits, and starting pitcher Peter Lambert won for the first time in more than three months as Colorado hung on to top San Diego in Denver.

Trevor Story, Tony Wolters and Pat Valaika had two hits apiece to help Lambert get a victory for the first time in 16 starts. Jesus Tinoco, the Rockies’ ninth pitcher, got the final four outs for his first career save.

Manny Machado homered and Josh Naylor had two hits for San Diego, which lost first baseman Eric Hosmer and manager Andy Green when they were ejected in the fifth inning by third base umpire Carlos Torres after apparently arguing a call on a check swing.

Mets 3, Dodgers 0

Rajai Davis laced a pinch-hit, three-run double in the eighth inning to break a scoreless tie and lift host New York to its fifth win in six games by beating Los Angeles, which lost for only the fourth time in its last 12.

The Mets (77-71) remain three games behind the Chicago Cubs in the race for the NL’s second wild card. The Dodgers (96-54) have already clinched the NL West.

The Mets built their rally against three relievers and didn’t put a ball into play until Davis’ hit. Adam Kolarek opened the inning by striking out Robinson Cano, after which Joe Kelly (5-4) entered and plunked Todd Frazier with his first pitch. Kelly struck out Juan Lagares before being relieved by Julio Urias, who hit Brandon Nimmo with a pitch and walked Amed Rosario on five pitches. The 38-year-old Davis, who was hitless in his 10 previous at-bats, hit for Seth Lugo (6-3) and doubled to left on a 1-2 pitch.

Red Sox 2, Phillies 1

Andrew Benintendi hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning to lead Boston past host Philadelphia in the opener of a two-game series Saturday.

Benintendi pinch-hit with the bases loaded and one out and lofted a fly to left field to score pinch runner Chris Owings. Matt Barnes (5-4) earned the win for the Red Sox (78-70), and Brandon Workman pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his 13th save.

Hector Neris (3-6) took the loss for the Phillies. Philadelphia (76-71) dropped to 3 1/2 games back of the second NL wild card, currently held by Chicago. Earlier in the day, the Phillies were eliminated from the race for the NL East with Atlanta’s win over Washington.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 2

Jordan Lyles continued his pitching revival for Milwaukee with a victory over host St. Louis as the third-place Brewers (79-69) won for the eighth time in nine games and moved within four games of the NL Central-leading Cardinals (83-65).

Milwaukee remained one game back of the second-place Cubs for that second wild-card slot in the NL. The Cubs (80-68) clobbered the Pirates 14-1 Saturday afternoon.

Lyles is (11-8) 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA in nine starts for the Brewers since arriving from Pittsburgh in a trade just days before the deadline. He was 5-7 with a 5.36 ERA in 17 starts for the Pirates this season. He held the Cardinals to two runs (one earned) and six hits in six innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Josh Hader, the fourth Brewers reliever, closed out the ninth inning to earn his 32nd save.

Cubs 14, Pirates 1

Kris Bryant finished 3-for-3 with a home runs and four RBIs, Nicholas Castellanos went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs, and Chicago cruised past visiting Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field.

Ben Zobrist, Nico Hoerner and Victor Caratini also homered for Chicago (80-68), which won its third consecutive game and improved to 49-24 at home this season, compared with a 31-44 record on the road.

Castellanos, who has a career-high 52 doubles this season, has 15 doubles, 15 homers and 33 RBIs in 41 games since Chicago acquired him July 31 from the Detroit Tigers.

Diamondbacks 1, Reds 0

Nick Ahmed tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the third inning, and right-hander Merrill Kelly pitched seven scoreless innings as Arizona broke a six-game losing streak with a victory over Cincinnati in Phoenix.

Ahmed’s triple was the D-backs’ only hit of the game. Kelly (11-14) gave up only three hits, all singles, and struck out five to out-duel Cincinnati right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (9-9), who retired 21 of the 22 batters he faced in seven innings.

Arizona (76-73) remained on the fringes of the NL wild-card race, 4 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the wild-card race with 13 games remaining and four teams to pass.

Tigers 8, Orioles 4 (12 innings)

John Hicks blasted a walk-off grand slam in the 12th and Detroit handed visiting Baltimore its 100th loss of the season.

Hicks’ 12th home run of the season capped a five-run rally after the Orioles had taken the lead in the top of the inning.

Detroit — which has an MLB-worst 103 losses — loaded the bases with one out against Paul Fry (1-9) on a Harold Castro walk, a Travis Demeritte double and an intentional walk to Dawel Lugo. Ryan Eades came in and walked Brandon Dixon on four pitches to force in a run. Hicks then ripped a 2-2 slider over the left field wall.

Marlins 4, Giants 2

Miguel Rojas broke an eighth-inning tie with an RBI double and Lewis Brinson followed with a single to bring in an insurance run as Miami outlasted host San Francisco and Madison Bumgarner.

Both starters — Bumgarner and the Marlins’ Robert Dugger — took shutouts into the seventh inning. Miami had just two hits against Bumgarner before Starlin Castro singled with one out in the seventh and Jorge Alfaro followed with a two-run homer, his 15th of the season.

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Giants finally got to Dugger in the last of the seventh with a single by Crawford and a double by Mauricio Dubon. Brian Moran then replaced Dubon on the mound, and promptly gave up a game-tying, two-run triple to pinch hitter Donovan Solano.

Mariners 2, White Sox 1 (10 innings)

Omar Narvaez hit a controversial home run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning as Seattle beat the visiting Chicago after the ball appeared to hit off the top of the outfield wall and bounce back into play.

Narvaez hit his blast to right-center field off White Sox right-hander Alex Colome (4-4), the player for whom Narvaez was traded in the offseason. Narvaez stopped briefly at second base before umpires signaled a home run, Narvaez’s 21st of the season. After a review, the call stood.

Mariners right-hander Matt Magill (5-2) got the victory after the Mariners got a vintage performance from Felix Hernandez, who has won just once in an injury-plagued season. Hernandez went seven innings and allowed one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out four.

—Field Level Media

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