Judge still looking for 61st homer, Yankees clinch playoffs

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • New York Yankees' Aaron Judge reacts after hitting a fly out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in New York.

    New York Yankees' Aaron Judge reacts after hitting a fly out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in New York. Associated Press

 
 
Posted9/23/2022 7:00 AM

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge fell a few feet short of a record-tying 61st homer, hitting a 404-foot drive caught just in front of the center-field wall, and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Thursday night on Josh Donaldson's 10th-inning single.

New York clinched its sixth straight playoff berth.

 

Judge had walked three times and struck out once before he came to the plate with the score tied 4-all in the ninth. The crowd of 43,123 was on its feet for every pitch, and Judge drove a 2-2 fastball from Matt Barnes just to the right of straightaway center.

The ball left the bat at 113 mph, and fans waited in anticipation as Judge jogged toward first base. But they groaned in unison as Kiké Hernández made the catch a step in front of the fence.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer for the Yankees. Clay Holmes (7-4) got the win.

Triston Casas and Reese McGuire homered for Boston. Kaleb Ort (0-2) got the loss.

CARDINALS 5, PADRES 4

SAN DIEGO -- Brendan Donovan hit a grand slam in the seventh inning, and the NL Central-leading Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak.

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St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols remained at 698 career homers, although he did drive two balls to deep left field, one for a single and one for an out on the warning track. The next stop in his pursuit of the 700-homer club is Dodger Stadium, where the Cardinals open a three-game series on Friday.

Manny Machado hit his 30th homer for the Padres, who had won five in a row. Nick Martinez (4-4) got the loss.

Donovan's slam made a winner of Jack Flaherty (1-1), who struck out nine in six innings. Giovanny Gallegos pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

RAYS 10, BLUE JAYS 5

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Wander Franco had three RBIs and Jonathan Aranda homered, powering Tampa Bay to the win in the opener of a big four-game series between playoff contenders.

Randy Arozarena had three hits and drove in two runs for the Rays, who were coming off a three-game series in which they were swept by Houston and scored just twice. Ryan Yarbrough (3-8) got the win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Tampa Bay (83-67) pulled within one game of Toronto (84-66) for the top spot in the AL wild-card standings. Seattle (82-67) is in third, four games ahead of Baltimore.

Whit Merrifield homered twice for Toronto, and Teoscar Hernández also went deep. José Berríos (11-6) was tagged for six runs and seven hits in two innings.

PHILLIES 1, BRAVES 0

PHILADELPHIA -- Ranger Suárez pitched six sparkling innings, and the Phillies continued their push toward the club's first playoff berth in a decade.

Matt Vierling knocked in the only run in the game with a second-inning sacrifice fly.

Suárez allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two. Zach Eflin got five outs before José Alvarado finished the six-hitter for his second save.

Philadelphia (82-67) moved within a half-game of San Diego for the National League's second wild-card spot and remained 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the final playoff berth.

The Braves (93-57) fell 1 1/2 games behind the idle New York Mets for the NL East lead.

Atlanta played without outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., who was scratched because of back tightness.

Braves starter Max Fried (13-7) struck out eight in five innings.

GUARDIANS 4, WHITE SOX 2

CHICAGO -- Shane Bieber pitched two-run ball into the eighth inning, and the Guardians beat the White Sox for a three-game series sweep.

Cleveland opened a seven-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central with its 15th win in 18 games. The Guardians (83-67) are going for the franchise's first division title since 2018.

Bieber (12-8) earned his fourth straight win. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked none in 7 2/3 innings.

Emmanuel Clase handled the ninth for his AL-best 37th save in 41 chances.

Gavin Sheets homered for Chicago in the eighth. Johnny Cueto (7-9) allowed four runs, three earned, and eight hits in six innings in his third straight loss.

MARINERS 9, ATHLETICS 5

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Julio Rodríguez doubled and scored before leaving with lower back tightness, and the Mariners avoided a three-game sweep.

Rodríguez slowly walked off the field with a trainer in the bottom half of the first inning. He recently missed three games in Anaheim with a lower back issue.

Jarred Kelenic homered and doubled for Seattle in his first game since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma. Adam Frazier had three RBIs, and Matthew Boyd (2-0) pitched two innings for the win.

Seattle entered the day with a four-game lead over Baltimore for the third and final AL wild card.

Stephen Vogt tripled in three runs for Oakland. Vogt also announced he will retire at the end of the season, ending a 10-year major league career.

Kirby Snead (1-1) was charged with the loss.

ORIOLES 2, ASTROS 0

BALTIMORE -- Kyle Bradish came within one out of his first career shutout, outpitching Justin Verlander in a stellar performance and leading Baltimore to the victory.

Bradish (4-7) struck out 10 and walked none. He departed after Jeremy Pena's two-out single in the ninth, and Felix Bautista struck out Aledmys Díaz for his 15th save.

Trey Mancini went 0 for 3 in his first game back at Camden Yards since the Orioles traded him to Houston on Aug. 1, and the Astros failed in their first attempt at earning their 100th victory this season.

The Orioles remained four games behind Seattle in the race for a postseason spot, but they were set to gain ground on the loser of the Tampa Bay-Toronto game.

Verlander (17-4) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings in his second game back from a calf injury.

BREWERS 5, REDS 1

CINCINNATI -- Kolten Wong hit a career-high three homers and drove in five runs, leading Brandon Woodruff and Milwaukee to the victory.

Wong hit a two-run drive in the second inning against Hunter Greene (4-13). He hit another two-run shot in the sixth off Dauri Moreta and a solo drive in the eighth against Joel Kuhnel. Wong has 15 homers and 46 RBIs on the season.

The second-place Brewers (80-70) opened a four-game set against lowly Cincinnati with their second straight win.

Woodruff (12-4) struck out 11 in six innings.

Kyle Farmer hit his 13th homer in the sixth for Cincinnati.

DODGERS 3, DIAMONDBACKS 2

LOS ANGELES -- Max Muncy hit a tying infield single in the ninth inning and pinch-hitter Mookie Betts singled home the winning run, helping Los Angeles edge Arizona for its major league-leading 45th comeback victory.

The Dodgers didn't take the lead until Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen left after a career-high eight innings. He struck out a career-best 13 and gave up only two hits.

Craig Kimbrel (6-6) got the win despite giving up Christian Walker's 36th homer, which gave Arizona a 2-1 lead in the ninth.

Cody Bellinger doubled leading off the ninth against Reyes Moronta (1-1).

Muncy had an RBI double in the fourth.

ROYALS 4, TWINS 1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jonathan Heasley pitched six innings of two-hit ball, and the Royals beat the Twins to complete a three-game series sweep.

Edward Oliveras and Drew Waters homered for Kansas City. Salvador Perez also drove in a run, extending his streak to seven straight games with an RBI.

Heasley (4-8) allowed one run, struck out three and walked two. Brad Keller got three outs for his first career save.

The first home sweep of at least three games by the Royals since July 2021 also probably ended the fading playoff hopes of the Twins, who two weeks ago were in the midst of an AL Central race but lost eight of nine on their road trip.

Minnesota rookie Josh Winder (4-5) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.

GIANTS 3, ROCKIES 0

DENVER -- Mike Yastrzemski homered and John Brebbia pitched an inning in his second start of the series, helping the Giants complete a four-game sweep.

Brebbia was followed by five relievers in the 10-hit shutout. Jharel Cotton (3-2) pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win in his first big league appearance since he was claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Sunday. Camilo Doval got three outs for his 24th save.

Brebbia also worked a scoreless inning when he got the start for Tuesday night's 6-3 victory. He became the first Giants pitcher to start twice in the same series since Dominic Leone against San Diego last September.

San Francisco pulled off its first sweep of at least four games against the Rockies since July 15-17, 2019.

The Rockies lost their fifth in a row at home and were shut out for the 12th time this season.

Colorado right-hander José Ureña (3-7) was charged with two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

RANGERS 5, ANGELS 3

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Corey Seager hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, sending Texas to the win.

Seager drove a 1-1 fastball from José Quijada (0-5) deep to left-center for his 32nd homer, extending his career best in his first season with Texas. Quijada came in to pitch the eighth and walked leadoff hitter Marcus Semien before Seager connected for his opposite-field shot.

Matt Moore (5-2) got three outs for the win, and Jose Leclerc handled the ninth for his seventh save in eight opportunities.

Angels star Shohei Ohtani was held out of the starting lineup, but he pinch-hit with one out in the ninth and doubled into the right-field corner. Luis Rengifo and Mike Trout then struck out swinging.

CUBS 3, PIRATES 2

PITTSBURGH -- Cubs rookie Hayden Wesneski had an immaculate inning in his second major league start.

Wesneski (2-1) permitted two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings in his fourth appearance in the majors.

Wesneski had an immaculate inning in the fifth when he struck out the side on nine pitches. He fanned the three hitters at the bottom of the order: Jack Suwinski, Zack Collins and Jason Delay.

It was the 111th immaculate inning in major league history and fourth in Cubs history. The last Cubs pitcher to accomplish the feat was LaTroy Hawkins in 2004.

Christopher Morel hit a two-run double in Chicago's third straight win. Mark Leiter Jr. got seven outs for his third save.

Last-place Pittsburgh lost its seventh straight game. Kevin Newman homered, and Mitch Keller (5-12) pitched six innings of two-run ball.

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