ST. LOUIS (AP) — Dylan Carlson homered twice, including a grand slam, to help Miles Mikolas win for the first time in two years as the streaking St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 8-2 on Friday night in the opener of a critical series between wild-card contenders.
The Cardinals' sixth straight win kept them a game ahead of Cincinnati for the second National League wild card. San Diego dropped 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis.
Mikolas (1-2) threw 5 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out three. He last won on Sept. 12, 2019. Mikolas missed last season with an injured right shoulder, and a considerable part of this year with right forearm tightness.
Vince Velasquez (3-7) pitched four innings, allowing four runs and four hits.
REDS 3, DODGERS 1
CINCINNATI (AP) — Luis Castillo struck out 10 while outpitching Walker Buehler, Kyle Farmer doubled twice and Cincinnati snapped the Dodgers' six-game winning streak.
The Reds are one game behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card. Los Angeles, already assured at least a wild-card spot, began the day one game behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West.
Castillo (8-15) didn't allow a runner past second base in 6 1/3 shutout innings. Michael Lorenzen allowed Matt Beaty's RBI single with two outs in the ninth before getting pinch-hitter Albert Pujols to fly out for his fourth save.
Buehler (14-4) was hoping to notch his career-high 15th win, but the Reds reached him for three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings.
YANKEES 8, INDIANS 0
NEW YORK (AP) — Corey Kluber won for the first time in nearly four months, pitching six sharp innings in his first outing against the team that helped him blossom into a star, and New York routed Cleveland.
Joey Gallo homered twice, and Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton hit one each for the Yankees, who tied their season high with five home runs.
With 14 games left, New York moved a half-game ahead of Toronto for one of the two AL wild-card berths, a half-game behind Boston.
Kluber (5-3) allowed four hits and struck out four. The 35-year-old right-hander was 98-58 for the Indians from 2011-19, winning a pair of AL Cy Young Awards.
Zach Plesac (10-6) took the loss as Cleveland lost for the eighth time in 10 games and matched its season worst of three games under .500.
TWINS 7, BLUE JAYS 3
TORONTO (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. connected for his major league-leading 46th homer, but Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, and Miguel Sanó hit consecutive homers as Minnesota beat Toronto.
The Blue Jays slipped into the third spot in the AL wild-card race, one game behind Boston and a half-game behind the Yankees. Toronto fell to 13-3 in September.
Guerrero hit a solo homer in the third that pulled Toronto to 6-3. He moved one ahead of Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez.
Michael Pineda (7-8) pitched 5 2/3 innings to win his third straight start.
Blue Jays lefty Hyun Jin Ryu (13-9) is 2-4 with an 8.10 ERA in his past eight starts.
WHITE SOX 8, RANGERS 0
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Luis Robert hit a three-run double, Dylan Cease struck out 10 in five innings and Chicago moved closer to its first division title in 13 years by trouncing Texas.
Jose Abreu drove in two runs, giving him 111 RBIs this season as the White Sox began an 11-game trip that will close their road schedule.
Chicago's magic number over Cleveland fell to five for winning the AL Central and securing a second consecutive postseason berth for the first time in franchise history.
White Sox rookie Romy Gonzalez doubled twice among his career-best three hits and Cease (12-7) had his eighth double-digit strikeout game of the season.
Four relievers held Texas to four singles the rest of the way.
Taylor Hearn (6-5), trying to win his fifth consecutive start, allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings.
RED SOX 7, ORIOLES 1
BOSTON (AP) — Chris Sale returned from COVID-19 to pitch five innings of two-hit ball, and Bobby Dalbec homered to help Boston hand Baltimore its 100th loss.
One night after beating the Yankees in a walk-off win, the Orioles again helped the Red Sox close in on a playoff berth.
Alex Verdugo had three hits and a sliding catch in the left-field corner, and Hunter Renfroe had a three-run double for the Red Sox, who lead the AL wild-card race by a half-game over New York. Toronto is another half-game back.
Baltimore became the first team to reach 100 losses this season. The Orioles have lost at least 100 in each of the last three 162-game seasons.
GIANTS 6, BRAVES 5, 11 INNINGS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pinch-hitting pitcher Kevin Gausman lofted a full-count, bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 11th inning and San Francisco edged Atlanta to increase its NL West lead.
The Giants, saved when Donovan Solano came off the COVID-19 injured list and connected for a tying, pinch-hit home run with two outs in the ninth, moved two games ahead of the Dodgers in the division race.
Atlanta had its NL East lead trimmed to two games over Philadelphia.
The Giants were out of position players when Gausman, a .184 hitter this season, stepped up for reliever Camilo Doval (3-1), who had never batted in his pro career.
Gausman hit a flyball to shallow right field and Brandon Crawford beat the throw home with a head-first slide.
Crawford began the final inning at second base and advanced on a wild pickoff throw by Jacob Webb (4-3).
Tyler Matzek had retired Crawford on a grounder with two outs in the 10th and the bases loaded.
PHILLIES 4, METS 3
NEW YORK (AP) — Zack Wheeler limited the damage in a short but effective outing against his old team, Brad Miller hit a tiebreaking homer and Philadelphia held off New York.
The Phillies moved within two games of NL East leader Atlanta and stayed 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the league's second wild card, with San Diego and Cincinnati also in the way.
Ian Kennedy got four outs for his 23rd save of the season, seven since a deadline trade from Texas. The third-place Mets (72-76) dropped to 2-15 in their last 17 one-run games.
Wheeler (14-9) allowed a run and struck out six over five-plus innings. He reached 200 innings for the first time and leads the National League with 231 strikeouts.
BREWERS 8, CUBS 5
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Kolten Wong hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the eighth inning and Milwaukee moved closer to a playoff berth by beating Chicago.
The Brewers' magic number for wrapping up the NL Central title fell to four. Their magic number for clinching a fourth consecutive postseason appearance shrank to two.
Milwaukee scored four runs off reliever Rowan Wick (0-1) in the eighth to come from behind and beat the Cubs for the 10th straight time.
One night after blowing a 7-0 lead in a 17-8 loss to Philadelphia, the Cubs squandered an early 4-0 advantage.
Frank Schwindel hit a solo homer for Chicago.
Aaron Ashby (3-0) struck out five in three innings of shutout relief. Josh Hader earned his 32nd save in 33 opportunities.
RAYS 7, TIGERS 4, 10 INNINGS
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Brett Phillips hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and Tampa Bay came back from a three-run deficit in the ninth to beat Detroit.
The Rays maintained their 8 1/2-game lead in the AL East over Boston. The Yankees are nine back.
Taylor Walls drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Bryan Garcia (2-2) before Phillips sent a 3-1 pitch into the right-field seats.
Pinch-hitter Yandy Díaz had a two-run single in the ninth and Randy Arozarena tied it at 4 on a sacrifice fly.
Andrew Kittredge (9-3) worked a hitless 10th.
Akil Baddoo hit his first career leadoff homer for the Tigers.
MARINERS 6, ROYALS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Seattle rookie Jarred Kelenic spoiled the major league debut of Kansas City pitcher Jonathan Heasley by hitting a pair of two-run homers.
Kelenic's first multihomer game kept the Mariners 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the second AL wild card.
Chris Flexen (12-6) allowed one run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Heasley (0-1) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings.
ATHLETICS 5, ANGELS 4
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Cole Irvin pitched six solid innings to earn his first victory in four weeks, and Oakland kept pace in the AL wild-card race with a victory over Los Angeles.
Josh Harrison had two RBIs and Mark Canha scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the sixth for the A's (80-67), who won their third straight and remained 2 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot.
Irvin (10-13) allowed just one earned run despite giving up his sixth homer in four starts. Sergio Romo pitched the ninth for his third save.
Kurt Suzuki homered for the Angels, who opened their final homestand of another disappointing season with their seventh loss in 11 games.
PIRATES 2, MARLINS 1
MIAMI (AP) — Wil Crowe won for the first time since July 30 as Pittsburgh beat Miami.
Crowe (4-7) allowed one run and three hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked one, ending a string of five consecutive no-decisions.
Bryan Reynolds walked twice and doubled, and Anthony Alford had two hits for the Pirates.
Cole Tucker hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth off Miami starter Elieser Hernández (1-2) after a passed ball by Payton Henry in his first major league game.
After giving up a leadoff triple in the ninth, Chris Stratton struck out three batters for his sixth save.
ROCKIES 9, NATIONALS 8
WASHINGTON (AP) — Elías Díaz hit a tying homer and Brendan Rodgers had an RBI single as Colorado rallied in the ninth inning to beat Washington.
In the series opener between two teams out of the playoff race, the Rockies improved to 6-1 on their road trip.
Díaz connected against Kyle Finnegan (5-8) leading off the ninth and Rodgers put Colorado ahead. Rodgers and Sam Hilliard homered for the Rockies.
Lucas Gilbreath (2-1) got the win and Carlos Estévez earned his ninth save.
ASTROS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 3, 10 INNINGS
HOUSTON (AP) — Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the winning run in the 10th inning as Houston sent Arizona to its 100th loss.
The Astros tied it in the 10th with a bloop single by Jake Meyers, and after Aledmys Díaz walked to load the bases with one out, Tyler Clippard (1-1) hit McCormick in the head with an 0-2 pitch to score Yordan Alvarez. It was Houston's first win on a hit by pitch since August 1998.
David Peralta gave the Diamondbacks the lead in the top of the 10th with an RBI single off Ryne Stanek (3-4).
José Altuve launched a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth for the only hit off Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner, who went seven innings.
Before this, the only 100-loss season in Diamondbacks history was in 2004 when the club lost 111 games.