Baz wins debut, AL East-leading Rays beat Blue Jays 6-4

Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk (30) tags out Tampa Bay Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier trying to score during the sixth inning of Monday’s game. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shane Baz pitched two-hit ball for five innings to win his major league debut and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays cut Toronto’s lead in the wild-card chase, holding off the Blue Jays 6-4 on Monday night.

Tampa Bay holds a seven-game advantage over second-place Boston with 11 games remaining.


The Blue Jays, who scored twice in the ninth inning and left the bases loaded, had their edge over the New York Yankees for the second AL wild-card spot drop to a half-game.

Baz (1-0) gave up a pair of home runs and little else, striking out five and walking none.

Toronto got homers from Teoscar Hernández, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Marcus Semien.


NEW YORK — Gary Sánchez hit a go-ahead home run, four pitchers combined for scoreless relief and New gained in the AL wild-card race with a win over Texas.

Sánchez put the Yankees ahead in the second inning against rookie A.J. Alexy (2-1) with his 22nd home run.

New York built a 4-0 lead before the Rangers closed the gap in a three-run fifth against Nestor Cortes.

Chad Green (8-7) retired five straight batters, Clay Holmes and Joely Rodríguez combined for the seventh and eighth, and Aroldis Chapman got three straight outs for his 28th save.

New York moved within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild card and with 11 games left is two back of Boston, the league’s wild-card leader.


MILWAUKEE — Jon Lester notched his 200th career win, Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer and St. Louis beat NL Central-leading Milwaukee for its ninth straight win.

The Cardinals have won nine straight to solidify their grip on the second NL wild card. They entered the night three games ahead of Cincinnati and Philadelphia for the final postseason spot.

Milwaukee’s magic number over the Cardinals to clinch the division title remained at three.

Lester (7-6) is the third active pitcher with 200 wins, joining Houston teammates Justin Verlander (226) and Zack Greinke (219). He surrendered three runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.

Freddy Peralta (9-5) took the loss. He gave up seven hits and three runs in six innings, striking out nine and walking one. Milwaukee got home runs from Avisail Garcia and Luis Urias.


PHILADELPHIA — John Means struck out six and stymied Philadelphia as Baltimore slowed the Phillies’ playoff push.

Losers of two straight, the Phillies entered two games behind Atlanta in the NL East. and 4½ games behind St. Louis for the second wild card.

Means (6-7) tossed four-hit ball into the seventh inning and helped himself with a double in the seventh for his first career extra-base hit.

Ranger Suarez (6-5) gave up consecutive RBI singles to Pedro Severino and Ryan McKenna in the first inning. He struck out five and his ERA bumped to 1.60.


DETROIT — Carlos Rodón was pulled after three rocky innings and Chicago squandered a three-run lead in a loss to Detroit.

Despite the defeat, Chicago’s magic number to clinch the AL Central dropped to two when second-place Cleveland was swept by Kansas City in a doubleheader.

Harold Castro’s eighth-inning single broke a 3-all tie for Detroit.

Drew Hutchison (2-1) picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Tigers rookie Alex Lange pitched the ninth for his first career save, becoming the eighth Detroit reliever to earn a save this season.

Craig Kimbrel (2-2) took the loss.


CINCINNATI — Joey Votto tied the game with his second homer of the game, Eugenio Suarez followed with a go-ahead shot and Cincinnati rallied from a five-run deficit in a win over Pittsburgh.

Votto tied the game 5-5 against Cody Ponce (0-5) in the fifth with his third homer in his last three at-bats spanning two games before Suarez homered off the top of the left-center field wall.

Nick Castellanos drove in three runs with three hits and Kyle Farmer also went deep as the Reds overcame back-to-back homers by Yoshi Tsutsogo and Bryan Reynolds.

The Reds couldn’t gain on St. Louis in the NL wild card race.

Luis Cessa (5-2) had three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings to get the win. Lucas Sims, Michael Lorenzen and Mychal Givens combined for four more shutout innings.


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Framber Valdez pitched seven innings of six-hit ball, Marwin González hit a grand slam and drove in five runs as Houston moved closer to the AL West title with a victory over Los Angeles.

Martin Maldonado launched a three-run homer in the eighth, José Siri hit a leadoff homer and Carlos Correa had an early RBI single among his four hits as the Astros (89-61) won for the fifth time in six games.

Houston continued to close in on its fourth division title in five seasons by moving seven games ahead of second-place Oakland, which lost at Seattle. The Astros’ magic number dropped to six.

Valdez (11-5) struck out six and pitched around three walks. Jaime Barría (2-4) gave up 10 hits while pitching into the sixth inning for the Angels, who lost their fourth straight.


OAKLAND, Calif. — Kyle Seager had a two-run single in the decisive third inning among his three hits and three RBIs, Mitch Haniger added two doubles as Seattle beat Oakland.

Tyler Anderson (2-1) struck out seven and walked one over seven innings, allowing one run on four hits to win for the first time in six starts since Aug. 17 at Texas.

Sean Manaea (10-10) matched his career high in losses.

Oakland trails Toronto by two games for the second AL wild card, while Seattle decreased its deficit to three games behind the Blue Jays.

Paul Sewald earned his ninth save , and A’s had their five-game winning streak snapped.


MIAMI — Jazz Chisholm Jr. homered twice and scored on a wild pitch in the 10th inning as Miami edged Washington.

After Dylan Floro (6-6) pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, Chisholm took his place at second to start the bottom of the inning as Miami’s automatic runner.

Washington reliever Sam Clay (0-5) intentionally walked Jesús Sánchez to face Lewis Brinson. Chisholm stole third during the at-bat and raced home after Clay’s breaking pitch bounced away from catcher Keibert Ruiz.

Sánchez hit a two-run homer in the third for Miami. Lane Thomas homered for Washington.



CLEVELAND — Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run, breaking Johnny Bench’s record for most by a catcher in a season to highlight the opener, then the Kansas City Royals completed the doubleheader sweep.

Perez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning of the opener, topping Bench’s total from 1970 for the highest total by a player who spent at least 75% of his team’s games at catcher. Perez also moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Perez leads the majors with 115 RBIs.

Joel Payamps, Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz, Josh Statamount and Scott Barlow combined on a four-hitter in the second game. Tapia (3-0) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings and Barlow pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

The Royals scored twice off Nick Wittgren (2-8) in the first when Carlos Santana drew a bases-loaded walk and Hunter Dozier added a sacrifice fly.

Dozier and Andrew Benintendi also hit two-run homers for the Royals in the opener.

Brady Singer (5-10), activated from the COVID-19-related injured list before the game, allowed two runs in seven innings.

Triston McKenzie (5-7) gave up all three home runs and allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.


PHOENIX — Austin Riley had three doubles and three RBIs, Adam Duvall added a two-run homer and Atlanta extended its lead in the NL East.

The Braves pushed their advantage to three games over the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost 2-0 to Baltimore.

The Diamondbacks led 3-2 heading to the fifth but the Braves responded with a huge inning, scoring seven runs.

Jacob Webb (5-3) pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the win. Eddie Rosario added a solo homer.

Humberto Mejia (0-2) took the loss, giving up six runs over four innings. Jake McCarthy hit his first big league homer in the seventh.

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