NEW YORK (AP) — George Springer celebrated his 34th birthday with his 57th career leadoff homer, Bo Bichette hit a two-run drive and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 7-1 on Tuesday night.
Toronto began the night one game ahead of Seattle and Texas for the second AL wild card. The Yankees entered six games back for the last AL wild card, needing to overcome Seattle and Texas.
Yusei Kikuchi (10-6) was pulled one batter into the sixth because of a left upper trap muscle cramp. Kikucki allowed one run in five-plus innings for his first win since Aug. 2.
Springer reached 20 homers for the eighth time when he connected off Clarke Schmidt (9-9). Springer also walked ahead of Bichette’s first homer since Aug. 20.
Alejandro Kirk padded the lead with a two-run shot in the ninth.
TWINS 7, REDS 0
CINCINNATI (AP) — Willi Castro hit a two-run homer and made two spectacular catches in center field, Kenta Maeda combined with four relievers on a four-hitter and Minnesota beat Cincinnati in another step toward its third AL Central title in five seasons.
Ryan Jeffers added a solo homer for the Twins, who entered with a seven-game lead over second-place Cleveland.
Cincinnati, shut out for the 10th time, remained just outside playoff position in the National League.
In his first season after Tommy John surgery, Maeda (6-7) won his third straight start after four no-decisions. He allowed one hit in five innings, retiring his first 11 batters. He struck out eight and walked one.
Fernando Cruz (1-2) took the loss.
RAYS 6, ANGELS 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Osleivis Basabe hit a tiebreaking two-run double in a four-run eighth inning and playoff-bound Tampa Bay topped Los Angeles.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases against Aaron Loup (2-3) before Basabe lined his double to center field. René Pinto followed with a two-run single.
Randy Arozarena homered for the AL wild card-leading Rays, who started the day 2 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East. Yandy Díaz had three hits and Robert Stephenson (3-4) won in relief.
Logan O’Hoppe and Zach Neto homered for the Angels, who have lost six in a row.
Angels star Shohei Ohtani had elbow surgery earlier in the day, and his doctor said he expects the two-way star will be available as a hitter on opening day next season and will return to the mound as a pitcher in 2025.
MARLINS 4, METS 3
MIAMI (AP) — Jake Burger hit a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning and Miami beat New York after blowing a late lead.
Josh Bell had an early RBI double and Braxton Garrett did not allow an earned run in six stellar innings for the Marlins, who began the day a half-game out of the final NL wild-card spot.
All-Star infielder Luis Arraez, who leads the majors with a .354 batting average, was a late scratch from Miami’s lineup because of a left ankle sprain.
Miami took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, but Tanner Scott (9-5) gave up a two-run double to Brandon Nimmo with two outs.
Mets reliever Trevor Gott (0-5) hit Nick Fortes with a pitch leading off the bottom half and gave up Burger's two-out single.
BRAVES 9, PHILLIES 3
ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. homered twice on his bobblehead night and stole his 67th base, leaving him one long ball shy of becoming Major League Baseball’s first 40-60 player, and Atlanta beat Philadelphia to stop a four-game losing streak.
Spencer Strider (18-5) increased his major league-leading wins total and struck out 11 to increase his big league-high total 270 with his 17th career double-digit strikeout game, his 11th this season.
Acuña homered on the first pitch of the game from Cristopher Sánchez (2-5) and had another solo homer off Yunior Marte in the sixth. Acuña has a Braves record 33 leadoff homers, including seven this season.
NL East champion Atlanta avoided its first five-game skid since September 2017. Marcell Ozuna drove in three runs with three hits, including a two-run double, as the Braves outhit the Phillies 13-4.
Bryce Harper hit his 19th homer for Philadelphia, which leads the NL wild-card race.
NATIONALS 4, WHITE SOX 3
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pinch-hitter Joey Meneses launched a three-run homer in the seventh inning and Washington defeated Chicago.
Jackson Rutledge, a 2019 first-round draft pick, allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings in his first home start for Washington. The last-place Nationals had lost six of seven.
Luis Robert Jr. and Yoán Moncada homered for the White Sox, who have lost 13 of 18.
Robert Garcia (2-2) retired both hitters he faced. Kyle Finnegan gave up Moncada’s run-scoring single in the ninth but earned his 26th save.
Meneses connected off Bryan Shaw. Aaron Bummer (4-5) took the loss.
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