Gerrit Cole eclipsed the 300-strikeout mark for the season and did so in style, pitching host Houston to a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, allowing the Astros to clinch their fourth playoff berth in five years.
Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve slugged homers for the American League West-leading Astros, who can do no worse than landing an AL wild card. The win also lowered Houston’s magic number to two to lock up the division title.
Cole (18-5) struck out Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo to end the top of the sixth inning for No. 300. He became just the third pitcher in franchise history to reach that benchmark in a single year, joining fellow right-handers J.R. Richard (313 in 1979, 303 in 1978) and Mike Scott (306 in 1986).
Cole worked eight innings and allowed two runs on six hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts. His milestone strikeout came in 198 1/3 innings, just missing the record held by Randy Johnson, who recorded his 300th strikeout in 197 2/3 innings in 2001.
Giants 11, Red Sox 3
Jeff Samardzija took a no-hitter into the sixth inning to highlight Bruce Bochy’s 2,000th managerial victory as San Francisco won at Boston.
Bochy became the 11th skipper in big league history to reach 2,000 career wins, accomplishing the feat just over a week before he intends to retire. Stephen Vogt had four RBIs, and Kevin Pillar and Cristhian Adames added three hits as the Giants won their third straight.
Rafael Devers had the Red Sox’s first hit when he homered with two outs in the sixth inning, his 30th blast of the season to go with his 50 doubles. He and Xander Bogaerts (31 HR, 50 2B) are the first teammates in major league history to reach 30 homers and 50 doubles in the same season.
Angels 3, Yankees 2
Michael Hermosillo scored the tiebreaking run on a throwing error by reliever Adam Ottavino in the sixth inning, and visiting Los Angeles prevented New York from clinching the American League East in what was likely CC Sabathia’s final home start.
The Yankees needed a win or a loss by Tampa Bay to clinch their first division title since 2012. Later, the visiting Rays beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to keep the AL East race alive for at least one more day.
New York was sloppy in the sixth. After Hermosillo doubled, Yankees first baseman Luke Voit allowed a ball by Matt Thaiss to deflect off his glove, then didn’t cover first on a grounder by David Fletcher that loaded the bases. After Ottavino (6-5) got the first out, Albert Pujols hit a grounder in front of the mound that Ottavino fielded but threw the ball over catcher Kyle Higashioka’s head as the Angels went ahead.
Cardinals 5, Nationals 1
Adam Wainwright allowed one unearned run over seven innings to help St. Louis win against visiting Washington in the rubber game of a three-game series. Wainwright (13-9) scattered eight hits, struck out three and walked one.
Matt Wieters hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh inning to give St. Louis a four-run cushion. Tommy Edman homered, singled, drove in two runs and scored twice. Kolten Wong also had two hits for the Cardinals, who boosted their lead in the NL Central to three games over the Brewers and Cubs.
Washington’s Max Scherzer gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out 11 and didn’t walk a batter. The Nationals hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the Brewers and Cubs in the race for the two NL wild cards.
Rays 8, Dodgers 7 (11 innings)
Tommy Pham had five hits, and Austin Meadows hit a go-ahead home run in the 11th inning as visiting Tampa Bay rallied past Los Angeles and stayed a half-game ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the race for the second American League wild card.
The Rays rallied for two runs in the ninth inning against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and then took the lead on Meadows’ 32nd home run, a drive to right field against rookie Josh Sborz (0-1).
Ji-Man Choi had an RBI single off Jansen with one out in the ninth, and Travis d’Arnaud added a sacrifice fly to bring home pinch runner Johnny Davis and tie the game 6-6. Choi added an insurance run in the 11th on a sacrifice fly.
Reds 3, Cubs 2 (10 innings)
Jose Iglesias hit a go-ahead double in the top of the 10th inning to lead Cincinnati to a win in Chicago, allowing the Reds to take two of three in the series. Eugenio Suarez homered and Alex Blandino also drove in a run for Cincinnati.
Suarez’s blast marked the most homers in a single season by a Venezuelan-born player, passing Andres Galarraga, who hit 47 homers with the Colorado Rockies in 1996. It also tied him for the most home runs by a National League third baseman, joining Adrian Beltre (2004) and Mike Schmidt (1980).
Willson Contreras homered and Kyle Schwarber drove in a run for Chicago.
Mets 7, Rockies 4
Pete Alonso homered, had two hits and drove in the winning run with a walk in the ninth inning, and New York beat Colorado to move 3 games behind the Cubs and Brewers for the second NL wild card.
Jeff McNeil also had two hits and a homer, and Brandon Nimmo had three singles for the Mets, who also got an RBI single from reliever Seth Lugo in the ninth.
Sam Hilliard hit two home runs, and pitcher Jeff Hoffman, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado also had two hits apiece for the Rockies. Hoffman allowed two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Padres 2, Brewers 1
Dinelson Lamet struck out a career-high 14 batters over six innings and earned the win as visiting San Diego slowed down red-hot Milwaukee and snapped a six-game losing streak.
The loss was just the second in the last 13 games for the Brewers.
Lamet (3-5) allowed one run — a solo homer in the sixth by Keston Hiura — on three hits while walking three in the most impressive of his 13 starts this season. Seth Mejias-Brean provided Lamet the only offense he’d need in the third, when the rookie hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot.
Phillies 4, Braves 1
Zach Eflin (9-12) worked seven strong innings as Philadelphia won at Atlanta. Eflin, who allowed one unearned run on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts, has a 2.23 ERA over his past six starts.
The victory kept Philadelphia alive in the chase for the NL wild card, three games behind the Cubs and Brewers and tied with the Mets.
The Phillies handed the Braves their first loss in a multi-game series since dropping two to Kansas City July 23-24. The Phillies have won 10 of 18 games against Atlanta. The Braves have lost three in a row but still hold a nine-game lead over second-place Washington in the NL East.
Athletics 1, Royals 0 (11 innings)
Mark Canha stroked a two-out, two-strike RBI double in the 11th inning to lift host Oakland over Kansas City in a game that featured a brilliant pitchers’ duel.
A’s right-hander Homer Bailey and Royals lefty Danny Duffy authored one of the season’s best scoreless stalemates, combining to allow just five hits and two walks while striking out 17 in seven innings apiece.
After the Royals stranded the bases loaded against J.B. Wendelken (3-1) in the top of the 11th, Jesse Hahn (0-1) walked Jurickson Profar to open the bottom of the inning. Profar then stole second. Hahn got two strikeouts before intentionally walking Matt Olson, setting the stage for Canha’s clutch hit.
White Sox 3, Twins 1
Zack Collins hit a home run, Yoan Moncada had two doubles and an RBI, and eight pitchers teamed up for a three-hitter as Chicago snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Jace Fry (3-4), who pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings, picked up the win. Alex Colome tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his 28th save. Leury Garcia, Eloy Jimenez and Yolmer Sanchez each had two hits for Chicago.
Jake Odorizzi (14-7) gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings for Minnesota, which saw its American League Central lead over Cleveland shrink to four games with 10 games remaining. Eddie Rosario went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Indians 2, Tigers 1 (10 innings)
Yasiel Puig hit a long single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, and Cleveland continued its dominance over visiting Detroit.
The Indians have won 16 straight games against the Tigers, but they needed extra innings to extend the streak. In the 10th, an infield error, a bunt, a groundout and two intentional walks set up Puig’s single off the right field wall.
Puig had four hits to lead Cleveland’s attack while Carlos Santana added two hits and an RBI. Adam Cimber (6-3) tossed an inning of scoreless relief to secure the victory.
Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 4
Christian Walker and Abraham Almonte homered, and Mike Leake won despite giving up his 39th and 40th homers of the season as Arizona edged Miami in Phoenix.
Walker, Alex Avila and Jarrod Dyson had two hits each, and Domingo Leyba tripled and had two RBIs for the Diamondbacks, who are now 4 1/2 games back of the Cubs and Brewers in the NL wild-card race.
Starlin Castro had three hits, his 20th homer and two doubles, and Austin Dean also homered for the Marlins, who have lost eight of 10 and are nearing the third 100-loss season in franchise history. Miami lost a record 108 games in 1998.
Mariners 4, Pirates 1
Kyle Lewis and Tom Murphy hit solo homers as Seattle won at Pittsburgh.
Dylan Moore added a two-out, two-run double for the Mariners, who have won four straight and six of eight. They will look for a three-game series sweep Thursday afternoon.
Tommy Milone (4-9) got the win, throwing five shutout innings in relief. Matt Magill gave up two singles to being the ninth before retiring the next three batters to record his fifth save.
Blue Jays 11, Orioles 10
Randal Grichuk hit a grand slam off Miguel Castro with two outs in the top of the ninth to cap a six-run inning as Toronto came back to edge host Baltimore.
The Orioles held a 9-5 lead going into the ninth when Castro came on and got into trouble. He eventually gave up a bases-loaded single to Cavan Biggio that scored one run. Grichuk followed with his home run on a 3-1 sinker from Castro (1-3) for a 10-9 lead. The blast was Grichuk’s 30th homer of the year.
Brock Stewart (4-0) got the victory in relief, and Derek Law earned his fifth save despite a rocky bottom of the ninth in which he gave up one run and threw 31 pitches.
—Field Level Media