(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Friday’s Major League Baseball games:
Astros 3, Red Sox 2
The Houston Astros kept Boston’s champagne on ice and also kept their own hopes for home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs alive with a 3-2 decision over the Red Sox.
Houston’s second straight win over the Red Sox kept Boston’s magic number for clinching the American League East at one, with the New York Yankees winning earlier in the day to stay alive.
Still, one Boston win or one New York loss and the Red Sox have their second straight AL East title.
Alex Bregman had an RBI single and two-run homer among his three hits and Charlie Morton (14-7) and four relievers combined on a four-hitter in Houston’s fifth straight win. The Astros recorded their second 100-win season in franchise history.
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 0
Masahiro Tanaka struck out a career-high 15 hitters in seven dominant innings as New York blanked Toronto.
Tanaka delivered the best start of his four-year tenure with the Yankees, who stayed alive in the American League East race.
The Yankees, who will at the least host the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card game, are two games behind Boston with two to play.
Tanaka (13-12) joined Washington’s Stephen Strasburg as the second pitcher to notch 15 strikeouts in an outing this season.
Indians 10, White Sox 1
Jose Ramirez had three hits, including his 54th and 55th doubles of the season, and Trevor Bauer pitched six strong innings as Cleveland routed Chicago.
Bauer (17-9) gave up one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Chicago starter Mike Pelfrey (3-12) gave up all 10 of Cleveland’s runs in 2 2/3 innings, although three of the runs were unearned.
Cleveland won its 101st game of the season, the second most in franchise history.
Rockies 9, Dodgers 1
Colorado moved closer to reaching the post-season for the first time since 2009 after walloping Los Angeles.
The victory reduced the Rockies’ magic number to one as they closed in on the post-season for the fourth time in their 25 seasons of play.
Chad Bettis (2-4) made one of the best starts this season for the Rockies since coming back from testicular cancer and returning to the rotation on Aug. 14, giving up four hits and one run, and retiring the final 14 batters he faced.
Brewers 5, Cardinals 3
Chase Anderson worked into the eighth inning and Stephen Vogt knocked in three runs as Milwaukee beat St Louis.
Anderson (12-4) gave up only three hits and a run in seven-plus innings, walking one and fanning five.
Vogt was 2-for-4 for the Brewers, delivering their first three runs. The third, a ground-out to second base in the sixth, scored Travis Shaw for a 3-1 lead.
Nationals 6, Pirates 1
Stephen Strasburg allowed just two hits and no runs in 7 2/3 innings and Ryan Zimmerman went 4-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs as Washington walloped Pittsburgh.
Zimmerman had doubles in his first two at-bats, then hit a two-run homer off A.J. Schugel in the sixth to give the Nationals a 4-0 lead. He then had a solo homer in the eighth off Dan Runzler to make it 5-0.
Cubs 5, Reds 4
Ian Happ slugged his 24th home run, a three-run shot in the eighth inning that helped Chicago to a come-from-behind victory over Cincinnati.
Happ’s homer came on a 1-1 pitch off right-handed reliever Michael Lorenzen as the National League Central champion Cubs won their third straight and fifth in six games.
Lorenzen (8-4) took the loss after working two-thirds of an inning as the Reds (67-93) dropped their ninth in 10 games.
Rays 7, Orioles 0
As consolation prizes go, Tampa Bay earned one by locking up third place in the American League East with a win over Baltimore.
The Rays have been eliminated from playoff contention and assured of a losing record, but they now know they will finish ahead of the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays. Third place represents their highest finish in the division since 2013.
Twins 6, Tigers 3
Eduardo Escobar had three hits and was a triple shy of the cycle, Brian Dozier reached base four times and Minnesota came from behind to beat Detroit.
Dozier and Escobar homered back-to-back in the second inning to put Minnesota ahead after Detroit scored three runs in the first off Twins starter Kyle Gibson.
Gibson lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and string out six batters.
Royals 2, Diamondbacks 1
Whit Merrifield hit a go-ahead home run and Ian Kennedy ended a franchise-record home winless streak in Kansas City’s victory over Arizona.
Merrifield homered in the third inning for the decisive run. Kennedy (5-13), who was 0-9 with a 6.13 ERA in 18 home starts since an Aug. 20, 2016, victory over Minnesota, threw 86 pitches in five innings.
Rangers 5, Athletics 3
Left-hander Martin Perez carried a shutout into the seventh inning as Texas snapped its longest losing streak of the season by beating Oakland Athletics.
Texas had lost seven straight games, but this win assured the Rangers of a better record than the A‘s, who will finish last in the American League West for the third consecutive year.
Perez (13-12) allowed just two hits over the first six innings and had a 5-0 lead to work with before the A’s came to life late.
Marlins 6, Braves 5
In a tale of two halves, visiting Atlanta scored early while Miami answered late for a comeback victory.
The Braves tallied four times in the first inning and added another in the second for a 5-0 lead. But the Marlins answered with two runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh inning.
Phillies 6, Mets 2
Behind three home runs, Philadelphia beat New York on the same day it announced that manager Pete Mackanin will not be retained following the 2017 season.
Mackanin, like his Mets counterpart Terry Collins, will finish out the season as manager and could possibly have won his final game in a Phillies uniform on Friday.
Giants 8, Padres 0
Buster Posey drove in three runs with three doubles and right-hander Chris Stratton combined with three relievers on an eight-hit shutout, lifting San Francisco over San Diego in the opener of a three-game series.
Brandon Crawford also collected three hits and three RBIs for the Giants (63-97), who, with the win, were assured of not losing 100 games this season.
Angels 6, Mariners 5
Luis Valbuena’s two-out, two-run pinch-hit double capped a four-run eighth inning to help Los Angeles rally past Seattle at Angels Stadium.
The Mariners got home runs from Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino to power their way to a three-run lead before things unraveled in the eighth inning against their bullpen.
Mike Trout led off the inning with the second of his two homers in the game, Albert Pujols doubled and later scored on C.J. Cron’s two-out single to make put the game in reach.