(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Wednesday’s Major League Baseball games:
Cubs 5, Cardinals 1
One big inning put the Chicago Cubs back in the post-season.
Chicago, scoring five runs in the top of the seventh inning, knocked off the St Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Wednesday to wrap up its second consecutive National League Central title.
Addison Russell wiped out a 1-0 deficit with one swing, cracking a three-run homer down the left field line to spoil a good game from Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha.
Jason Heyward and pinch hitter Tommy La Stella each added RBI doubles as seven straight Cubs reached base to start the inning.
Indians 4, Twins 2
Yan Gomes homered, and Carlos Santana had three hits as Cleveland snapped Minnesota’s five-game winning streak.
The Twins, though, clinched the AL’s second wild-card spot when the Chicago White Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels 6-4 in 10 innings.
The Indians maintained their one-game lead over Houston for the AL’s best record.
Rockies 15, Marlins 9
Trevor Story had a pair of two-run hits after Miami intentionally walked Nolan Arenado, helping Colorado win the rubber match of their series.
The victory helped the Rockies take a 2 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee for the final NL wild-card spot after the Brewers lost 6-0 to Cincinnati, reducing its magic number to two. Colorado hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009.
Reds 6, Brewers 0
Homer Bailey threw seven scoreless innings in his longest start since 2014, while Joey Votto and Tucker Barnhart homered as Cincinnati damaged Milwaukee’s postseason aspirations.
The Brewers, desperately needing a victory to keep pace with Colorado, were hurt by a short outing from rookie Brandon Woodruff (2-3), who gave up six runs on six hits and a walk in just 2 1/3 innings.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 7
Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run homer and finished with four RBIs as Boston inched closer to winning the American League East title with a victory over Toronto.
The Red Sox maintained their three-game lead over New York with four to play.
Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland each added solo home runs, and Rick Porcello (11-17) tossed 5 2/3 innings of five-run ball for the Red Sox. Jackie Bradley Jr, Dustin Pedroia and Rajai Davis drove in a run apiece for Boston.
Yankees 6, Rays 1
Luis Severino pitched six effective innings, and New York blasted three homers in the sixth inning to defeat Tampa Bay.
Severino (14-6) allowed one run on four hits in his final start before a likely start in Tuesday’s wild-card game, which the Yankees would host should they not win the AL East title.
He struck out nine, tying team mate CC Sabathia for the third-most strikeouts in a season in team history with 230.
Astros 12, Rangers 2
George Springer drilled a grand slam as Houston completed a sweep of Texas.
The Astros improved to a season-best 38 games above .500 with their 11th win in the last 13 contests. The Astros scored at least 11 in all three games, a first in franchise history, and outscored the Rangers 37-7.
Texas suffered its sixth straight loss and is assured of only its second losing season since 2009.
Diamondbacks 4, Giants 3
J.D. Martinez tied the National League record for homers in September, and Arizona scored three runs in the ninth inning for a walk-off victory over San Francisco.
Martinez led off the ninth inning with a solo homer, his 16th blast of September, to close the deficit to 3-2 and tie Ralph Kiner for the league record for homers in the month.
Jake Lamb and A.J. Pollock followed Martinez’s homer with singles off Sam Dyson (3-3), and a walk loaded the bases. John Ryan Murphy’s fielder’s choice scored the tying run, and Dyson then walked in the winning run.
White Sox 6, Angels 4 (10 innings)
Nicky Delmonico had three hits, including a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning, as Chicago ended Los Angeles’ playoff aspirations.
Avisail Garcia led off the 10th inning with a double into the left field corner against the Angels’ Blake Parker (3-3). Delmonico followed with the home run to right field. Delmonico also had a RBI double in the fourth inning.
Danny Farquhar (4-2) picked up the victory after recording the last two outs in the top of the 10th.
Dodgers 10, Padres 0
Rich Hill earned his 12th victory with an impressive seven-inning outing, and Los Angeles clubbed San Diego for the third straight game.
The Dodgers scored nine runs against the Padres in each of the first two games before topping that total Wednesday.
Yasiel Puig (No. 27), Curtis Granderson (26) and Corey Seager (22) homered in the series finale, and catcher Austin Barnes had three hits, two of them doubles, and two RBIs.
The Dodgers have 102 victories this season, tying the 1962 and 1974 teams for the most since the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
Phillies 7, Nationals 5
Aaron Altherr’s two-run triple and Odubel Herrera’s go-ahead RBI double gave Philadelphia a victory over Washington.
Altherr’s hit came after Nationals starter Tanner Roark (13-11) walked two batters. Herrera’s run-scoring two-base hit gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead.
That was enough for a Phillies relief corps that has been stellar in the final month of the season. Hector Neris pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 26th save of the season. It was the 20th consecutive save for Neris.
Athletics 6, Mariners 5
Mark Canha hit a solo walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as Oakland snapped a franchise-record eight-game losing streak versus Seattle.
Canha lined reliever Shae Simmons’ 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for his fifth home run of the season and second career walk-off homer, both this season. Simmons (0-1) took the loss.
Athletics reliever Blake Treinen (3-4) got the win after pitching a scoreless ninth.
Pirates 5, Orioles 3
Josh Bell hit his 25th homer, and Gregory Polanco added a solo shot as Pittsburgh defeated Baltimore.
Bell was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Pirates starter Chad Kuhl (8-11) pitched five-plus innings, allowing three runs and eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk. He has given up fewer than four earned runs in nine of his past 11 appearances.
Royals 7, Tigers 4
Alcides Escobar hit a two-run double in a three-run eighth, an inning after Paulo Orlando homered for the first time in more than a year, as Kansas City handed Detroit its ninth straight loss.
Scott Alexander (5-4) picked up the win with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Royals starter Jason Hammel did not allow a hit after giving up a RBI double to James McCann in the third inning. He allowed three runs and six hits while striking out six in six innings.
Mets 7, Braves 1
Robert Gsellman tossed six strong innings and Travis d’Arnaud collected three RBIs as New York defeated Atlanta.
Gsellman (8-7) allowed one run on six hits and one walk while striking out four. D’Arnaud tied the game with a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the fourth before giving the Mets a lead with a two-run single in the fifth.