Marlins, D-Backs, Rangers, Astros, Blue Jays all clinch playoff berths on next-to-last day

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jazz Chisholm hit his 19th home run, Josh Bell delivered a late two-run double and the Marlins clinched the fourth playoff berth in franchise history with a 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.

The final five playoff berths were clinched Saturday by the Marlins, Rangers, Astros, Blue Jays and Diamondbacks. The field of 12 is now set, with only the first-round matchups to be decided Sunday.

A.J. Puk (7-5) and seven other relievers kept the Pirates in check, rendering any scoreboard-watching pointless.

Closer Tanner Scott wrapped up his 12th save by striking out the side in the ninth, setting off a celebration on the field and behind the Miami dugout, where a small clutch of fans chanted “Lets Go Marlins” in the ninth.

Jon Berti had three hits for the Marlins and started the go-ahead rally with a leadoff walk in the sixth off Quinn Priester (3-3), beginning a sequence that symbolized Miami’s “whatever it takes” approach.

Priester, a first-round pick in the 2019 amateur draft, put together 5 1/3 workmanlike innings as he tries to position himself for a spot in the starting rotation in 2024. Priester allowed four runs on 10 hits with a walk and three strikeouts to finish his rookie season with a 7.74 ERA in 10 games (seven starts).


SEATTLE (AP) — Texas is back in the postseason for the first time since 2016, beating Seattle to clinch a playoff spot in the American League.

Texas can claim the AL West title and the No. 2 seed in the AL playoffs with a win over the Mariners in the regular-season finale or a loss by Houston at Arizona on Sunday.

The Rangers put together a four-run third inning against Luis Castillo, highlighted by two-out hits from Nathaniel Lowe, Jonah Heim and Leody Tavares that all plated runs.

Castillo (14-9) was pulled after 2 2/3 innings. He needed 86 pitches to record eight outs.

Reliever Josh Sborz (6-7) got Texas out of a jam in the fifth inning.

Eugenio Suárez hit his 22nd homer in the eighth inning for Seattle’s only run.


PHOENIX (AP) — Justin Verlander threw five innings, José Abreu hit a run-scoring double and Houston beat Arizona as both teams clinched spots in the upcoming playoffs.

The Astros still have plenty to play for Sunday — they could clinch the AL West and a first-round bye with a win on Sunday and a Texas loss.

Arizona’s seeding could still change depending on Sunday’s results, which also could determine whether the Marlins have to fly back to New York on Monday to finish a suspended game with the Mets.

Verlander (13-8) helped the Astros to World Series wins in 2017 and 2022 but signed as a free agent with the New York Mets during the offseason. After a disappointing few months, the Mets traded the three-time Cy Young Award winner back to the Astros at the trade deadline.

He provided another good outing Saturday, giving up two hits and three walks while striking out five.

Arizona’s Merrill Kelly (12-8) went seven innings, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out five.


TORONTO (AP) — Toronto clinched a playoff spot despite its lost to Taylor Walls and Tampa Bay.

Walls lifted the Rays to a 6-4 lead with a two-run single off Jordan Hicks (3-9) with two out in the 10th. Junior Caminero then drove in Raimel Tapia with an infield single.

Rays right-hander Chris Devenski (6-4) pitched two innings for the win, working around Bo Bichette’s RBI double in the 10th.

Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu allowed two runs and seven hits in three innings in his shortest start of the season.

Right-hander Shawn Armstrong opened for the Rays, pitching around a pair of walks in his lone inning. Recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game, Cooper Criswell followed and allowed four runs, three earned, and four hits in three innings.


ATLANTA (AP) — Marcell Ozuna hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fifth inning, Spencer Strider shook off a shaky first inning to get his 20th win and major league-leading Atlanta beat Washington.

Strider, the MLB leader in strikeouts and victories, got off to a rough start with a 36-pitch, three-run first inning. He settled down to finish with seven strikeouts on 94 pitches — 57 strikes — in five innings.

Strider (20-5) was charged with three runs, six hits and three walks. Pierce Johnson struck out the side in the sixth, Kirby Yates faced the minimum in the seventh and A.J. Minter pitched around two singles in the eighth. Closer Raisel Iglesias pitched around Abrams’ leadoff double in the ninth to earn his 33rd save in 37 chances.

Nationals starter Joan Adon allowed three runs and six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in four innings. Jordan Weems (5-1) gave up two hits and two runs in one-third of an inning to take the loss.


BATLIMORE (AP) — Ryan Mountcastle hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning and scored on an infield hit to lead AL East champion Baltimore over last-place Boston for its 101st win.

Baltimore (101-60), which hosts an AL Division Series starting Oct. 7, is finishing its winningest season since going 102-57 in 1979.

After Kutter Crawford allowed one hit in six innings, Josh Winckowski (4-4) gave up a single to Adley Rutschman leading off the seventh. Pinch-runner Jorge Mateo stole second standing up, and Mountcastle doubled to right with two outs for a 1-0 lead.

Bruce Zimmermann (2-0), recalled from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day, pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Kyle Gibson, who allowed seven hits in five scoreless innings.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Clayton Kershaw lost for the first time since May, allowing the go-ahead run when Max Muncy misplayed a potential inning-ending double-play grounder in a 2-1 defeat to San Francisco that left Los Angeles one win shy of 100 going into their season finale.

Kershaw (13-5), a 35-year-old three-time Cy Young Award winner, had been 7-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 13 starts since a May 21 loss at St. Louis. Facing the Giants for the 59th time, he allowed a third-inning homer to Tyler Fitzgerald and gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

NL West champion Los Angeles, preparing to host a Division Series opener on Oct. 7, is attempting to reach 100 wins for the third straight year following the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Ryan Walker (5-3) allowed one hit over two innings and Camilo Doval got his 39th save in 47 chances. Chris Taylor singled with two outs and was caught stealing second by catcher Patrick Bailey.


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Yan Gomes hit a grand slam, but Chicago was eliminated from postseason contention during its victory over Milwaukee.

Chicago’s game was going into the eighth inning when Miami secured an NL wild card and knocked the Cubs out of the playoff race.

Chicago spent the top of the first inning taking out its frustration on Eric Lauer (4-6), who was making his first major league appearance since May 20 with the NL Central champion Brewers resting their top starting pitchers.

On Lauer’s third pitch, Christopher Morel hit a 431-foot drive over the wall in left. Lauer walked three of his next four batters before Gomes connected for his 10th homer. Two batters later, Patrick Wisdom homered to right-center to make it 6-0.

Lauer allowed eight runs, nine hits and four walks in four innings.

Hayden Wesneski (3-5), Javier Assad and Jameson Taillon combined for 7 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Wicks. Taillon worked four innings for his first career save.


DENVER (AP) — Trevor Larnach hit his first career grand slam, one of Minnesota’s four home runs, and the playoff-bound Twins beat Colorado.

Edouard Julien had three hits, including his 16th home run, and Max Kepler and Matt Wallner also went deep for AL Central Division champion Minnesota.

Elehuris Montero, Sean Bouchard and Brenton Doyle homered for the Rockies (58-103), who will not win at least 60 games for the first time in the club’s 31-season history.

Chris Paddock (1-0) gave up two hits and struck out four in three complete innings, his longest outing since going 5 1/3 innings on May 2, 2022, which was the last time he recorded a win.

Colorado opened with reliever Matt Koch and after one inning he gave way to Karl Kauffmann (2-5), who was roughed up for seven hits and eight runs over 4 1/3 innings.



NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Álvarez drove in a career-high six runs with his first big league grand slam and a two-run homer Saturday night, powering New York to a doubleheader sweep of playoff-bound Philadelphia.

Mets right-hander Tylor Megill unveiled his attempt at throwing Kodai Senga’s Ghost Fork in the opener, when he threw a career-high 7 1/3 innings in a 4-3 victory.

Álvarez, who sat out the opener, hit a two-run homer off the signage along the second deck in left field to cap a three-run second against Michael Plassmeyer (0-1).

Plassmeyer, pitching for the Phillies for the first time since Oct. 5, surrendered 10 runs — nine earned — in 3 2/3 innings.

Reed Garrett (1-0) struck out four over three innings to earn his first big league win.

Megill, whose previous high was seven innings against the Yankees in September 2021, gave up four hits and struck out seven in the opener. The right-hander threw a handful of split-fingered fastballs he learned from the Mets’ Rookie of the Year contender, using the pitch to strike out Cristian Pache in the third and retire Brandon Marsh on a grounder in the fifth.

Megill (9-8) said he didn’t want to use the pitch in a game until he was pitching with a healthy lead, which the Mets provided by scoring four times in the first two innings against Taijuan Walker (15-6).

Walker, in line to start a Game 3 of an NL Wild Card series on Thursday, went seven innings and finished the season with a career-high 172 2/3 innings and 31 starts. He had a 7.05 first-inning ERA but a 3.81 in the subsequent innings.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cincinnati's bid to become just the third team to make the playoffs following a 100-loss season ended in game No. 161 when they were eliminated during the seventh inning of a loss to St. Louis.

Elly De La Cruz had just grounded out for the final out of the top of the seventh when the Marlins beat Pittsburgh to clinch a wild-card berth.

Connor Phillips (1-1) lasted just 12 pitches — all balls. After his walks to Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt and Lars Nootbar, Jordan Walker lined a two-run double on an 0-2 pitch from Fernando Cruz. Rookie Iván Herrera hit a two-run double and scored on rookie Luken Baker’s double for a 5-0 lead.

Nootbar hit a three-run homer in the second off Cruz, and rookie José Fermín’s two-run double against Buck Farmer boosted the lead to 10-0. Paul Goldschmidt drove in a run in the third with his second double.

Drew VerHagen (5-1) pitched one inning in relief for the win for the Cardinals, who are trying to avoid losing 92 games for the first time since 1990.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Frankie Montas earned the win out of the bullpen in his season debut for New York, which clinched its 31st straight winning season with one game to spare.

Montas (1-0) retired four batters while allowing two hits and a walk. He left with one out and runners on second and third in the sixth inning, but Greg Weissert promptly struck out Nick Pratto and Maikel Garcia to end the threat.

Clay Holmes pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save in 27 chances.

Alec Marsh (3-9) replaced opener Steven Cruz and allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings for Kansas City, which fell to 55-106 and matched the 2005 team for the most losses in a season in club history.


CHICAGO (AP) — Ha-Seong Kim had four hits to lead San Diego over Chicago, which lost 100 games for the first time since 2018.

Michael Wacha (14-4) struck out seven, walked one and allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings as the Padres, who were eliminated from playoff contention Friday, moved to above .500 (81-80) for the first time since May 10.

Jurickson Profar had two hits and drove in four runs and Ji Man Choi added a pair of hits, his first with San Diego.

Mike Clevinger (9-9) was roughed up for six runs in 1 2/3 innings against his former team.

Lenyn Sosa homered off Ray Kerr in the eighth for the White Sox, who reached 100 losses for the fifth time. They joined Oakland and Kansas City to give AL three 100-loss teams.


DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera followed a pregame retirement celebration by scoring the first run and driving in another, helping Detroit beat Cleveland to clinch second place in the AL Central.

The start of the game was delayed 33 minutes by the retirement celebration of Cabrera, the 40-year-old, 12-time All-Star who is playing his 21st and last big league season.

Guardians starter Tristan McKenzie (0-3) gave up one run, three hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.

Beau Brieske (2-3), the third of seven Tigers pitchers, allowed one hit over 2 1/3 innings as Detroit pitched its ninth shutout. Cleveland was blanked for the 13th time.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shea Langeliers hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the Athletics’ five-run eighth inning, leading Oakland over Los Angeles.

Zack Gelof homered and added two late RBI singles for the 111-loss A’s, who earned their fourth victory in 16 games on the penultimate day of their franchise’s worst season since 1916.

Gelof hit his 14th homer in the first inning off Angels opener Andrew Wantz. He added run-scoring singles in the eighth and ninth innings for his first career three-RBI game.

Logan O’Hoppe hit a two-run homer in the Angels’ three-run seventh off Joe Boyle (2-0), who had thrown six hitless innings for Oakland in his third big league appearance.

But the Angels’ bullpen promptly blew a two-run lead when four straight A’s reached to begin the eighth, capped by Gelof’s RBI single that chased Ben Joyce (1-1). Jose Soriano then balked in the tying run before Langeliers’ two-out shot to right.



The Associated Press