(Photo credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
MLB roundup: Thursday
Ronald Acuna Jr. made more history on Wednesday and helped the Atlanta Braves secure home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.
With one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Acuna singled home the tying run, stole second and scored on Ozzie Albies' single to give the Braves a 6-5 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Acuna became the first player in major league history to have 70 stolen bases and 40 home runs in the same season. He finished the night 2-for-5 with his 69th and 70th steals. Acuna has 41 homers on the year.
The Braves need one win to guarantee home-field advantage through the World Series. The Cubs fell two games behind Arizona for the second NL wild-card spot, as the Diamondbacks beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0 on Wednesday.
Astros 8, Mariners 3
Yordan Alvarez, Mauricio Dubon and Martin Maldonado homered as Houston improved its chances of making the postseason for the seventh consecutive year by winning at Seattle.
The Astros took two of three games in the series to move 1 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners in the race for the American League's third and final wild-card playoff berth. Houston relievers combined for five scoreless innings, with Kendall Graveman (5-6) getting the win.
J.P. Crawford homered for the Mariners. Bryce Miller (8-7) allowed four runs on six hits in four innings.
Yankees 6, Blue Jays 0
Aaron Judge hit a pair of two-run home runs, right-hander Gerrit Cole pitched nine innings and visiting New York defeated Toronto.
Cole (15-4) allowed two hits -- both to Brandon Belt -- and no walks. He struck out five in his final start of the season. Cole stamped himself as the leading contender to win the American League Cy Young Award. It was Cole's second shutout and second complete game of the season. The Yankees have won the first two games of the three-game series after dropping two of three to Toronto last week in New York. Cole was the winning pitcher in the Yankees victory in that series.
The Blue Jays, who haven't scored a run in the series, lead the Houston Astros by just a half-game in the race for the second American League wild card. Toronto right-hander Jose Berrios (11-12) allowed four runs and five hits while striking out 10 in six innings.
Diamondbacks 3, White Sox 0
Corbin Carroll hit a two-run double to support 5 2/3 shutout innings from Brandon Pfaadt as Arizona bolstered its wild-card chances with a shutout win against host Chicago.
Arizona is now two games ahead of the Cubs and Marlins for the second NL wild-card spot after Chicago lost to the Atlanta Braves and Miami split its doubleheader with the New York Mets Wednesday.
Despite outhitting Arizona 8-4, Chicago lost for the fifth time in seven games to fall to 60-98. The White Sox must win three of their four remaining games to avoid the franchise's first 100-loss season since 2018 -- currently the club's only such campaign since 1971.
Orioles 5, Nationals 1
Adley Rutschman homered and drove in three runs as host Baltimore beat Washington to reduce its magic number to one for clinching the American League East.
The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox so Baltimore is a win or a Tampa Bay loss from locking up the East and top seed in the AL playoffs. Grayson Rodriguez (7-4) pitched 5 2/3 innings for the win. He gave up one run on six hits and struck out five without a walk.
Keibert Ruiz had two hits for Washington, which has lost 11 of 15. Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (10-15) allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings and finished 2023 with a 5.20 ERA.
Brewers 3, Cardinals 2
Tyrone Taylor doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as Milwaukee rallied to beat visiting St. Louis and end a three-game losing streak.
Brian Anderson doubled to open the seventh off Jacob Barnes (0-1). Matthew Liberatore relieved and Anderson stole third. After William Contreras was intentionally walked with two outs, Taylor lined a run-scoring double to center to make it 3-2.
Joel Payamps (7-5) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief. Devin Williams survived a pair of two-out walks during a scoreless ninth for his 36th save in 40 opportunities.
Mets 11, Marlins 2 (Game 1)
Pete Alonso had four hits, including a two-run homer, and scored a career-high four runs as host New York damaged Miami's wild-card hopes with a blowout win in the opener of a doubleheader.
Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer in the third and Mark Vientos hit a two-run shot in the sixth for the Mets, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Lindor had a two-run single during a three-run seventh, with Jeff McNeil adding an RBI infield single.
Jon Berti finished a homer shy of the cycle for the Marlins, while Chisholm and Jake Burger each had two hits. Braxton Garrett (9-7), who entered Wednesday with a 2.10 ERA in his previous 10 starts, gave up four runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two over four innings.
Marlins 4, Mets 2 (Game 2)
Xavier Edwards scored the tie-breaking run on an error in the ninth inning for visiting Miami, who climbed into a tie for the final National League wild card spot by edging New York in the second game of a doubleheader.
Edwards singled leading off the ninth against Adam Ottavino (1-7) and stole second before going to third on Jon Berti's single. After Josh Bell was intentionally walked, Yuli Gurriel hit a slow roller to third that was bobbled twice by Brett Baty as Edwards raced home for the lead.
Francisco Lindor hit a pair of solo homers for the Mets to become the third major leaguer this season with 30 homers and 30 steals. Mets starter Kodai Senga closed out his strong rookie year by allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out eight over five innings. He is the first rookie to post a sub-3.00 ERA and 200 strikeouts since Hideo Nomo did so for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995.
Twins 6, Athletics 4
Trevor Larnach drove in the go-ahead run with a pinch-hit double in the eighth inning as Minnesota earned a come-from-behind victory over Oakland in Minneapolis.
Edouard Julien and Ryan Jeffers homered, Max Kepler went 4-for-4 and Willi Castro and Christian Vazquez both had two hits for the Twins and Jeffers had three RBIs for the American League Central champion Twins. Minnesota won for the sixth time in seven games. Dallas Keuchel (2-1) picked up the win with 1 2/3 scoreless relief innings.
Brent Rooker hit a two-run single, Lawrence Butler had two doubles and scored two runs and Nick Allen had a triple for Oakland. Reliever Dany Jimenez (0-2) picked up the loss as the A's dropped their third consecutive game.
Rangers 5, Angels 0
Dane Dunning pitched seven sharp innings, leading Texas to a victory over Los Angeles at Anaheim, Calif.
Adolis Garcia, Evan Carter and Marcus Semien homered for the Rangers, who won for the seventh time in eight games. Garcia added a run-scoring double. Dunning (12-6) struck out seven and gave up three hits and one walk while matching the longest scoreless start of his career. He is 3-0 over his past four turns. Texas moved closer toward clinching the American League West. The Rangers are 2 1/2 games ahead of Houston and four games in front of Seattle after the Astros beat the Mariners 8-3 later Wednesday night.
The Angels lost for the 11th time in 14 games. Los Angeles starter Griffin Canning (7-8) gave up two runs and five hits over six innings. He struck out five and walked two. The top four hitters in the Angels' order -- Randal Grichuk, Zach Neto, Brandon Drury and Mike Moustakas -- were hitless in 14 at-bats with nine strikeouts. The Angels managed just three hits overall.
Rays 5, Red Sox 0
Tyler Glasnow struck out nine in five shutout innings as Tampa Bay completed a two-game series sweep of host Boston.
Glasnow (10-7) allowed just two hits en route to his second scoreless start of the season, pushing Tampa Bay to its third win in four games to keep its slim American League East title hopes alive.
Leading Tampa Bay's 10-hit offensive attack, Josh Lowe went 3-for-3 with a home run and three runs to join the 20-homer, 30-stolen base club. Isaac Paredes also went deep as part of a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort.
Phillies 7, Pirates 6
Garrett Stubbs hit a three-run home run, while Bryce Harper homered and doubled twice to lead host Philadelphia past Pittsburgh. Edmundo Sosa also homered and doubled for the Phillies, who won their seventh in a row.
Reliever Orion Kerkering (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win in his second major league appearance. Gregory Soto picked up his third save after striking out the side in the ninth inning.
Connor Joe went 4-for-5 with an RBI and Ke'Bryan Hayes added two hits and an RBI for the Pirates, who have lost three in a row.
Tigers 4, Royals 0 (suspended)
The game between Detroit and visiting Kansas City was suspended after four innings due to rain with the Tigers leading 4-0.
Detroit starter Tarik Skubal cruised through the four innings, holding the Royals to two hits while racking up eight strikeouts and issuing no walks. Miguel Cabrera, who is retiring at the end of the season, blasted his fourth homer of the season and 511th of his career in the second inning.
The contest will be resumed at 1:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. The regularly scheduled Thursday game will begin approximately 40 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.
Guardians 4, Reds 3
Shane Bieber allowed one run in six innings to pick up his first win in 3 1/2 months, lifting host Cleveland to a victory over Cincinnati.
Cleveland's Brayan Rocchio and Tyler Freeman each had an RBI single and scored a run. Josh Naylor and Jose Tena also drove in a run for the Guardians, who were victorious in the final home game for manager Terry Francona.
Cincinnati's Jonathan India had an RBI double among his two hits and scored twice. TJ Friedl added an RBI single for the Reds, who have lost five of their last seven games to fall 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlin for the third and final National League wild-card spot.
Dodgers 8, Rockies 2
James Outman homered among his three hits, Freddie Freeman also went deep and Los Angeles beat Colorado in Denver.
Miguel Rojas had three hits, David Peralta hit two doubles and rookie Emmet Sheehan (4-1) pitched six innings of two-run ball.
Brendan Rodgers homered and doubled and Sean Bouchard also hit a home run for the Rockies. Rookie Noah Davis (0-4) allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Padres 5, Giants 2 (10 innings)
Manny Machado capped a nine-pitch battle with a two-out, two-RBI single in a three-run 10th inning to give San Diego a win at San Francisco.
A first win in 13 extra-inning contests this season allowed the Padres to remain alive -- barely -- in the National League wild-card race. San Diego sits 3 1/2 games out the NL's final playoff spot with just a three-game road matchup with the Chicago White Sox remaining on the schedule and needing to catch three teams.
John Brebbia (3-4), who served as the opener for the Giants in their Tuesday loss, worked the 10th to take the loss in this one, as well. Rookie Tom Cosgrove worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th for his first career save, preserving a win for Josh Hader (2-3), who struck out two in a scoreless ninth.
--Field Level Media