Carlson, Mikolas help Cards top Padres in wild-card showdown

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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 half-game behind the Yankees. Toronto fell to 13-3 in September.

Guerrero hit a solo homer in the third that pulled Toronto within 6-3. He moved one ahead of Kansas City’s 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.

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.

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The Associated Press

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