MLB scores, highlights, live team updates, news: A's stun Astros; NL wild card getting tight

It's Friday, and we've got 15 games under the lights. Should we dig in? People, we should dig in ... 

Friday's scores

A's pull off late-inning shocker against Houston

The Athletics moved back to within one game of first place in the AL West with a thrilling win over the Astros in Oakland. The A's trailed by a run going into the bottom of the ninth. Chad Pinder walked with one out, and Ramon Laureano was summoned to pinch-run. Nick Martini doubled to right, and the strong-armed former Athletic Josh Reddick uncorked a throw as Laureano decided to round third for home ... 

Apparently, the review crew saw evidence that Laureano sneaked his hand in before the tag. Tie game. Blake Treinen pitched out of a semi-jam in the 10th, and then in the bottom half Matt Olson sent 'em home with his 23rd of the season ... 

That's Oakland's eighth walk-off win of the season, and now they're only one game back in the AL West. And speaking of close playoff races ... 

The NL wild card is tighter than ever

We've known for a while that the NL wild-card race has the potential to provide us with some beautiful chaos down the stretch. Speaking of which, peep the current wild-card standings ... 

TEAMWLPCTWCGBWCE#L10STRKLAST GAME
Philadelphia6854.557+1.005-5W28/17 vs NYM, W 4-2
Milwaukee6856.54803-7L28/17 vs STL, L 5-2
St. Louis6756.5450.5399-1W18/17 vs MIL, W 5-2
Colorado6656.5411.0396-4W28/17 vs ATL, W 11-5
L.A. Dodgers6657.5371.5384-6W28/17 vs SEA, W 11-1


The Cardinals topped the Brewers in St. Louis on Friday, thanks in large measure to Jack Flaherty's six shutout innings, which brought St. Louis to within a half-game of playoff position and bumped the Phillies up to the top wild-card spot (more on the Phillies' in below). The Cardinals are now 20-10 under Mike Shildt. Speaking of the Cardinals, enjoy this one from Kolten Wong ... 

Soon after the Dodgers bombed the Mariners in Seattle -- Manny Machado homered twice and Matt Kemp hit career homer No. 200 in a Dodger uniform -- and that drew them closer to playoff position. The Rockies, meantime, won in Atlanta (see below). 

At the same time, the Rockies and Dodgers are still hot on the heels of the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and the Phillies are just a half-game behind the Braves in the NL East. Let's assume the Cubs are safe for the moment (they're 4 1/2 up on the Brewers at the moment). That means we've got seven NL teams battling for four playoff spots with roughly six weeks to go. The potential for madness is undeniable, which is as it should be.

Nola dominates again

Every game's important for the Phillies, who are locked in a tight race in the NL East and in the NL wild-card fray, so it was good news for them that 25-year-old ace Aaron Nola was on the mound against the Mets. Good news indeed ... 

Nola's got good velocity and command of a full repertoire. Just ask Jose Bautista about his changeup ... 

With that gem against the Mets, Nola becomes the youngest Phillies pitcher to log five or more double-digit strikeout starts in a season since Ray Culp in 1963 (via STATS). Now for a look at Nola's updated numbers on the season ... 

View Profile
Aaron Nola PHI • SP • 27
2018
ERA2.24
IP161
BB44
K160
HR8

Additionally, Nola has struck out more than one-quarter of opposing hitters and has yet to allow an unearned run on the year. Also of note ... 

Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are justifiably receiving a lot of NL Cy Young hype right now, but Nola deserves to be in that discussion as well. Right now, though, he's surely more concerned with pitching the Phillies into the playoffs.

Hamels thrives again for Cubs

Deadline acquisition Cole Hamels has been a stabilizing force in the Cubs' rotation, and that was again the case on Friday as he blanked the Pirates for seven innings. Here's an updated look at his numbers since the trade ... 

So ... not bad. On offense, Kyle Schwarber provided all of it with his 21st homer of the season (but just his third of the second half). The Cubs became just the fourth team in MLB history to win consecutive 1-0 games with a solo home run. They also became the first team since the Astros on May 4, 1969, to turn seven double plays in a game. 

As for the Pirates, they slip below the .500 mark for the first time since July 15. They're just 5-10 since the non-waiver trade deadline. 

Stanton shows off oppo power

The Yankees came back and edged the Blue Jays in seven innings (game shortened by rain). The big blow came off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton, whose 31st homer of the season was an opposite-field bomb ... 

Good grief. That's some massive power the other way, but we already knew Stanton was capable of such things. Stanton, who's still just 28, continues to climb this list ... 

As you can see, he's now just two shy of No. 300 for his career. 

Reds walk it off in extras

The visiting Giants and host Reds went 11 innings on Friday. It was a stellar clash of bullpens, as a total of eight relievers combined for nine scoreless innings, until Phillip Ervin did this to a Ray Black slider ... 

Fun win for the Reds and a painful loss for a Giants team that's trying to hang around in the NL playoff derby. 

Rockies bring the bats to Atlanta

Colorado racked up 16 hits and 11 runs against Braves, most coming at the expense of Sean Newcomb. On the other side, Denver native Kyle Freeland allowed one run over six innings and in doing so lowered his ERA for the season down to 2.96. His Rockies are now 10 games over .500. 

While the Braves lost, Charlie Culberson, pressed into pitching duty, grabbed some eyeballs with this fastball ... 

Yep, that's a utility man hitting 94 on the gun. Who says losing is all bad. 

Scherzer pitches Nats to second straight win

Can the Nats get a little something going before time runs out? Cy Young frontrunner Max Scherzer twirled six scoreless innings and struck out seven en route to the win. Bryce Harper had three hits and picked up career RBI No. 499 and 500.  

Ramirez joins elite company with homer

Cleveland's Jose Ramirez -- thanks to his excellent plate production, defense and baserunning -- is among the leading AL MVP candidates in 2018. Speaking of Ramirez, here he is homering in the early innings against the Orioles on Friday evening ... 

That's his 37th homer of the season, and that ties him with Boston's J.D. Martinez for the MLB lead. That blast is also significant on another, lower level ... 

Yep, J-Ram is indeed listed at 5-foot-9. Given that we still have six or so weeks left of regular season, Ramirez is very likely going to climb this list of diminutive sluggers in the games to come. By the time we're done, he may well be second only to Hack Wilson on said list. 

As for the defeated Orioles, this pretty much sums up their 2018 ... 

Yeesh. 

Red Sox win No. 87

The mighty Red Sox snapped their stunning and appalling one-game losing streak with a comeback victory over the Rays on Friday. With the win, they match a season-best mark of 51 games over .500. They're also back to a 115-win pace, which means they're still on target to make a run at the all-time wins record of 116. 

In this one, Xander Bogaerts had three hits and wound up a home run shy of the cycle. The shortstop is now batting .280/.355/.518 on the season. Elsewhere, four Boston relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings. 

Don't despair, Rays, for you get the highlight. Here's Mallex Smith making a snare at great personal discomfort ... 

Hey, the dude can also hit. 

Quick hits

  • One major-league GM thinks Nationals OF and pending free agent Bryce Harper will sign with the Phillies this coming offseason. Read more here.
  • Indians manager Terry Francona says RHP Trevor Bauer (fractured fibula) could rejoin the rotation in four to six weeks.
  • The Rangers have received 3B Sherten Apostel from the Pirates to the complete the recent Keone Kela trade. 
  • The Rangers have received LHP Josh Javier from the Diamondbacks to complete the recent Jake Diekman trade.
  • The Red Sox have activated Ian Kinsler from the disabled list and placed Rafael Devers on the DL with a left hamstring injury. 
  • The Cubs have placed Mike Montgomery on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation. As a corresponding move, lefty reliever Randy Rosario is coming back up from the minors. Tyler Chatwood will take the start in place of Montgomery Saturday. 
  • As expected, the Astros have activated George Springer from the disabled list.
  • The Mariners have promoted infielder Gordon Beckham to the big-league club to help fill in for Jean Segura (paternity leave).
  • AL MVP watch | NL MVP watch

Live team updates

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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