MLB Wrap: Playoff-bound Tampa Bay down Angels 5-4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Manuel Margot flared a run-scoring single to right field to complete a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning and playoff-bound Tampa Bay Rays beat the visiting Los Angeles Angels 5-4 on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay, which holds the top AL wild card, is 1 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Baltimore, which holds the tiebreaker.

Pinch-hitter Harold Ramírez and Yandy Díaz started the ninth with singles off Angels closer Carlos Estévez (5-5). Ramírez went to third on Curtis Mead’s fly ball and scored to tie it at 4 on Isaac Paredes RBI single.

After Randy Arozarena struck out and Josh Lowe walked to load the bases, Margot delievered his opposite-field game-winning hit that handed Estévez his fourth blown save in 34 chances.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. scored his 140th run of 2023 — the most in the majors in 16 years — after tripling, Matt Olson hit his 53rd homer and Ozzie Albies went deep for one of his four hits, lifting NL East champion Atlanta past last-place Washington.

The Braves out-hit the Nationals 18-8, and every member of Atlanta’s daunting starting lineup reached base at least once. Olson raised his RBI total to 132, equaling Gary Sheffield in 2003 for the most by a Braves player since the club moved to Atlanta. Albies went 4 for 6, including his 32nd homer, with four RBIs to top 100 in a season for the second time in his career.

Austin Riley, Michael Harris II and Orlando Arcia each collected three hits.

Max Fried (8-1), who got extra rest between starts to avoid developing a finger blister, allowed one run — on Alex Call’s homer in the third — and three hits in six innings while striking out seven. He lowered his ERA to 2.55.


NEW YORK (AP) — Gerrit Cole retired the first 16 hitters and pitched eight outstanding innings to strengthen his Cy Young Award credentials as New York moved back over .500 with a victory over Toronto.

Cole (14-4) allowed a run and two hits in his longest outing since pitching a two-hit shutout against Minnesota on April 16. He struck out nine, walked none and permitted two baserunners while lowering his AL-best ERA to 2.75.

Cole won his fourth straight decision since getting tagged for six runs in an 8-1 loss to Boston on Aug. 19. He also allowed two runs or fewer for the major league-best 25th time this year and improved to 8-3 following a New York loss.

Jake Bauers hit a three-run homer four batters in against Jose Berríos (11-11), Aaron Judge and Estevan Florial added RBI doubles and the Yankees avoided a three-game sweep.


CLEVELAND (AP) — Ramón Laureano drew a bases-loaded walk off Jacob Webb for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, sending Cleveland past AL East-leading Baltimore.

The Guardians scored three times in the bottom of the eighth — all charged to Cionel Pérez (4-2) — immediately after the Orioles tied the game with two in the top half. Bo Naylor’s run-scoring single and Gabriel Arias’ RBI grounder followed Laureano’s walk that plated Josh Naylor.

Baltimore, which is headed to the postseason for the first time since 2016, holds a 1 1/2-game lead over Tampa Bay in the division and for the best record in the AL. The Rays beat the Angels 5-4 earlier in the day.

Trevor Stephan (7-7) gave up two runs in one inning and Emmanuel Clase picked up his major league-best 42nd save in 53 opportunities for Cleveland, which has eight games remaining and trails first-place Minnesota by 8 1/2 games in the AL Central.


CHICAGO (AP) — Miguel Andújar had thee hits and drove in three runs, Joshua Palacios hit a pinch-hit three-run homer in the ninth inning, and Pittsburgh held off a late rally by slumping Chicago.

The loss was the 10th in the last 13 games for the Cubs, who fell into a tie with Miami for the final NL wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh’s Johan Oviedo (9-14) threw six scoreless innings, giving up four hits. The right-hander walked five but escaped trouble on multiple occasions and held the Cubs hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Connor Joe and Ji Hwan Bae each drove in a run for the Pirates, whose bullpen surrendered six runs in the last three innings.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Castellanos homered and drove in four runs to reach a career-best 103 RBIs in a season, and Philadelphia maintained its hold on the top NL wild-card spot by beating New York.

Alec Bohm also went deep and Bryce Harper added a pair of hits for the defending NL champion Phillies, who opened a seven-game homestand with their fifth win in their last seven game. Philadelphia (84-69) is 3 games ahead of Arizona for the first NL wild card.

Mark Vientos homered, and Jeff McNeil singled, doubled, tripled and drove in a run for the Mets.

Castellanos hit a 92 mph fastball from Jeff Brigham (1-3) 454 feet off the facing of the second deck in left field in the sixth inning to put Philadelphia in front 5-4.


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