Yanks clinch AL East as Judge stalls; Cards claim NL Central

The New York Yankees celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 in a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Toronto. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO — Aaron Judge walked four times and stayed at 60 home runs, one shy of Roger Maris’ American League record, as the New York Yankees clinched the AL East title by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Tuesday night.

The Yankees celebrated their 20th division championship, tied for second-most with the Dodgers behind Atlanta’s 21, but not home run history. New York (95-59) secured a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the Division Series.


Judge lined out in his first at-bat and then drew four straight walks in his seventh straight game without a home run. The Yankees have eight games left in the regular season for Judge to tie or break the AL mark set by Maris in 1961.

Despite the loss, Toronto (87-68) maintained its place atop the AL wild-card standings.

Gleyber Torres had three hits and drove in three runs to back Jameson Taillon (14-5), who pitched 7 1/3 sharp innings, allowing two runs and five hits. He’s 4-0 in five career starts in Toronto.

José Berríos (11-7) allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, losing his second straight outing after a six-start unbeaten streak. His ERA rose to 5.37. Berríos reached 1,000 career strikeouts.


MILWAUKEE — Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis clinched the NL Central title by beating Milwaukee behind six strong innings from Miles Mikolas.

Andrew Knizner hit a two-run homer and Goldschmidt added two RBIs as St. Louis sealed its first division crown since 2019 and fourth straight playoff berth by defeating the team that won last year’s NL Central championship.

The Cardinals (90-65) guaranteed themselves at least a tie with second-place Milwaukee (82-72), and they now own the tiebreaker because the victory Tuesday gave St. Louis an insurmountable 10-8 lead in the season series.

The Brewers remain 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the final NL wild card. The Phillies won the season series with Milwaukee and would get the playoff bid if the two teams end up tied.

This clincher didn’t feature much suspense as St. Louis scored the first six runs. Mikolas (12-13) struck out nine and allowed only four hits and one walk. The Brewers’ lone run off him came in the sixth when Rowdy Tellez hit his 34th homer.


WASHINGTON — Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a pair of solo home runs and Atlanta beat Washington, extending its winning streak to four games and moving into a first-place tie in the NL East with the New York Mets.

Orlando Arcia also homered and Michael Harris II had a two-run triple for the Braves, who caught the Mets when they lost 6-4 at home to Miami. Both teams have seven games remaining, including a head-to-head three-game series beginning Friday in Atlanta.

With the win, the Braves (97-58) are guaranteed the No. 2 playoff seed in the National League if they finish ahead of the Mets.

Victor Robles homered and Luke Voit had two doubles for the last-place Nationals (53-101).

Collin McHugh (3-2) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. Paolo Espino (0-8) retired the first 10 Braves batters before giving up four runs and five hits.


NEW YORK — Carlos Carrasco had another short start, lasting just three innings as New York fell into a first-place tie in the NL East with a loss to Miami.

The Marlins closed out the Mets not long after Atlanta completed an 8-2 victory over Washington. The Mets and Braves are both 97-58 with seven games left. The teams are scheduled to play a three-game series this weekend in Atlanta, though the path of Hurricane Ian could force a postponement or relocation.

The Marlins scored twice against Carrasco (15-7) in the first, when Bryan De La Cruz delivered a sacrifice fly and Brian Anderson raced home on a wild pitch. They added two more in the third, when JJ Bleday hit a 339-foot homer just over the right-field wall.

Carrasco allowed six hits and walked one with two strikeouts while throwing four or fewer innings for the fourth time in his last six starts.

Pete Alonso’s three-run homer in the fourth — which made him the first Mets player with two 40-homer seasons — cut it to 4-3. But the Marlins answered in the fifth, when Jacob Stallings hit a two-run single off Trevor Williams.


CLEVELAND — Harold Ramírez’s two-run double with two outs in the 11th inning gave Tampa Bay a win over Cleveland, helping the Rays tighten the AL wild-card race and ending the Guardians’ seven-game winning streak.

The Rays closed within 1 1/2 games of Toronto for the wild-card lead.

Ramírez pulled a 1-2 pitch from Trevor Stephan (6-5) down the left-field line for his second double of the game to score Taylor Walls and Wander Franco. The clutch hit — Tampa Bay’s first since the fourth inning — allowed the Rays to open a nine-game road trip with a win over the AL Central champion Guardians.

Javy Guerra (2-0) pitched one inning for the win, and Calvin Faucher, Tampa Bay’s ninth pitcher, worked the 11th for his first career save.

Jose Siri hit a two-run homer for Rays.

Guardians reliever Enyel De Los Santos pitched the fourth immaculate inning — nine pitches, three strikeouts — and 112th in major league history in the seventh. The right-hander joined Zach Plesac (2020), Carlos Carrasco (2018) and Justin Masterson (2014) in the team’s record books.


SAN DIEGO — Jorge Alfaro drew a bases-loaded walk from Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the 10th inning and San Diego beat NL West champion Los Angeles to reduce its magic number for clinching a wild-card berth to four.

The Padres started the winning rally against Kimbrel (6-7) when Kim Ha-seong sacrificed automatic runner José Azocar to third. Juan Soto was intentionally walked, Manny Machado struck out and Brandon Drury walked to load the bases. Alfaro worked the count full before walking to bring in Azocar.

Pierce Johnson (1-1) pitched a perfect 10th, including striking out Mookie Betts for the third out.

The Dodgers remained at 106 wins, one shy of breaking the franchise record.


CHICAGO — Marcus Stroman pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, and Yan Gomes hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning, lifting Chicago over Philadelphia.

The Phillies’ magic number to clinch a National League playoff berth is stalled at eight after their third straight loss. The Cubs (68-86) won for the sixth time in seven games.

Stroman (5-7) struck out six and lowered his ERA to 2.50 over his last six starts. Rookie Christopher Morel homered in the third inning for Chicago.

Ian Happ led off the seventh with a single through the middle of the infield off Connor Brogdon (2-2). With two out, Gomes poked a double into the right field corner, scoring Happ.

Bryson Stott walked to start the sixth. After Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins struck out, Bryce Harper hit a deep drive that grazed off the outstretched glove of a diving Morel in left-center, scoring Stott for the Phillies’ only run.


SEATTLE — Top prospect Josh Jung hit two home runs and finished with five RBIs, and Seattle continued slumping in its quest for a postseason berth in a loss to Texas.

Despite the defeat, the Mariners inched closer to ending the longest playoff drought in baseball thanks to Boston’s victory over Baltimore. The loss by the Orioles kept them 3 1/2 games behind Seattle and reduced its magic number to five for clinching one of the three American League wild cards.

Jung hit a solo homer in the second inning, and his two-out RBI single in the sixth scored Marcus Semien. Then came the final blow in the eighth. Jung greeted reliever Diego Castillo with a three-run homer to center field for his first career multi-homer game.

Texas used Jesús Tinoco as an opener before Tyson Miller (1-1) took over. The pair allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts.

Ray (12-11) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing six hits. He struck out eight and walked two.


BOSTON — Baltimore wasted four homers, including two more by Anthony Santander, in a loss to Triston Casas and Boston, hurting the Orioles’ chances of earning an AL wild card.

Adley Rutschman and Ramón Urías also went deep, but Baltimore (80-74) lost for the third time in four games. The Orioles were 3 1/2 back of Seattle for the third AL wild card heading into the day.

Casas hit a two-run homer for Boston, which had dropped six in a row. Tommy Pham had three RBIs, and Rafael Devers hit a two-run single.

The Red Sox scored six runs in the third and five more in the fourth, taking advantage of a series of blunders by the Orioles.

Two of the Boston runs scored on bases-loaded walks by Connor Wong and Xander Bogaerts, and another came home when Rob Refsnyder was hit by a pitch with the bases jammed. Second baseman Rougned Odor committed two errors in the fourth, right after the Orioles scored five in the top half to tie it at 8.

Matt Strahm (4-4), one of four Boston pitchers, earned the win. Joey Krehbiel (5-5), one of seven pitchers used by Baltimore, took the loss.


HOUSTON — Jose Altuve hit two of Houston’s five home runs to lead the Astros over Arizona in a game in which Yordan Alvarez left with an ankle injury.

The AL West champion Astros moved within one win or one loss by the New York Yankees of securing home-field advantage through the AL playoffs.

Altuve made it 5-1 with his solo home run with two outs in the sixth off Ian Kennedy. David Hensley hit his first major league homer with a two-run shot later in the inning, and the Astros went back-to-back with Alex Bregman homering to left. Jeremy Peña added a two-run drive in the eighth.

Alvarez, who is tied for second in the American League with 37 homers, exited in the fifth inning with left ankle discomfort after rolling his ankle running out of the box on a single in the first.

Luis Garcia (14-8) allowed four hits and one run with six strikeouts in six innings to get his sixth straight win. Arizona starter Zach Davies (2-5) yielded six hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss.

Geraldo Perdomo and Daulton Varsho hit solo homers for the Diamondbacks, who lost for the fourth time in five games.


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jo Adell drove in Matt Duffy with a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning, and Los Angeles opened its final homestand of the season with a victory over Oakland.

A.J. Puk (3-3) hit Duffy with an 0-2 slider before pinch-hitter Michael Stefanic bunted Duffy to second, and Adell lined a single to left for just his third RBI in a quiet September.

Duffy, Livan Soto, Shohei Ohtani and Taylor Ward all had two-hit games for the Angels.

Ryan Tepera (5-3) pitched the eighth for the Angels, and Jimmy Herget earned his seventh save.

Nick Allen had a two-run double for the last-place A’s, who opened their last road trip of the season with their AL-worst 98th loss of the season.


PITTSBURGH — Miguel Andújar hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the seventh inning, leading Pittsburgh past Cincinnati.

Andújar’s hit snapped a 1-all tie and came in his second game with the Pirates. The designated hitter was claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees on Sunday.

The Pirates loaded the bases with one out on a single by Oneil Cruz and walks to Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski by Buck Farmer (2-2). Andújar then hit a long drive off the top of the bullpen door in left-center field, clearing the bases.

Wil Crowe (6-10) pitched two scoreless innings of relief. David Bednar worked the ninth for his 18th save in 22 chance as the Pirates won for the third time in four games.

The Reds, who have lost five of six and 15 of 19, got two hits each from Kyle Farmer and Mike Siani.


SAN FRANCISCO — Logan Webb struck out seven over five innings to win for the fourth time in five starts, and San Francisco continued its dominance of Colorado.

Joc Pederson homered in the first for his 23rd of the year and later added an RBI triple. Mike Yastrezemski added a sacrifice fly in the inning off Rockies right-hander Germán Márquez (8-13). J.D. Davis homered to start the fourth as San Francisco gave Webb (15-9) plenty of run support.

Thairo Estrada contributed a run-scoring single as the Giants opened their final homestand of the season by beating Colorado for the sixth straight time to take a 12-5 advantage in the 2022 season series.

Márquez was tagged for three runs and six hits over six innings with six strikeouts and one walk. His 13 losses are a career high.


MINNEAPOLIS — Matt Wallner hit a two-run homer, Bailey Ober had a career-high 10 strikeouts and Minnesota beat Chicago.

Ober (2-3) threw a career-high 7 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits.

Wallner, the rookie outfielder from nearby Forest Lake, hit his second homer in his 11th career game and first at home. Jose Miranda added three hits for Minnesota.

Lance Lynn (7-7) gave up four runs on 10 hits in five-plus innings for Chicago. White Sox interim manager Miguel Cairo was ejected following Wallner’s homer.

Chicago struck out 14 times in the game.


DETROIT — Harold Castro singled in the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning after tying it with a two-run single in the eighth in for Detroit.

Tucker Barnhart bunted pinch-runner Ryan Kreidler to third and Anthony Misiewicz (3-2) intentionally walked pinch-hitter Eric Haase. Riley Greene struck out, and the Royals decided to walk Javy Báez to pitch to Castro with the bases loaded. He hit a soft grounder up the middle to win it.

Alex Lange (6-4) earned the win.

Kansas City took an early 2-0 lead on a homer by Hunter Dozier, his 10th in 32 career games at Comerica Park.

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