MLB scores, schedule, live team updates, news: Red Sox clinch AL East in the Bronx
Also, the Braves' magic number is four, the A's score 21 runs, the Rays melt down and more
The penultimate Thursday of the 2018 regular season brings us a light eight-game slate of big league action, including no West Coast night games. Here is everything you need to know about Thursday's MLB action.
Thursday's baseball scores
- Athletics 21, Angels 3 (box score)
- Red Sox 11, Yankees 6 (box score)
- Mets 5, Nationals 4 (box score)
- Blue Jays 9, Rays 8 (box score)
- Reds 4, Marlins 2 (box score)
- White Sox 5, Indians 4 (box score)
- Tigers 11, Royals 8 (box score)
- Braves 8, Phillies 3 (box score)
Red Sox clinch third straight AL East title
A Giancarlo Stanton grand slam in the fourth inning looked like it might prevent the Red Sox from winning the AL East title in Yankee Stadium, but the Red Sox's offense was relentless in this one. The star in this one was, once again, Mookie Betts, who went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a home run, three runs and five RBI. He also put the proverbial nail in the coffin with a three-run shot in the eighth of Aroldis Chapman:
The Yankees actually made home run history in this one, as Luke Voit hit his 10th homer with the Yankees, giving them 12 players in double digits in home runs. That's an MLB record and pretty ridiculous.
Still, 99 percent of the focus here should be on the Red Sox. They never trailed the AL East by more than two games all year. They ran away with arguably baseball's toughest division. They weren't at least tied for first for 11 days, which is astounding. And now, they are one win shy of tying a franchise record.
Braves beat Phillies, trim magic number to four
Entering this series, the Phillies still had an outside shot at the division. It was a tall order, but if the Phillies could have swept the Braves, the deficit in the division would have been down to 1 1/2 with a week to go. It's hard to see it happening without a sweep, and the Braves took care of business on Thursday night.
Now, the lead is 6 1/2 games, the Braves' magic number is four and the Braves only have nine games left to play. The miracle comeback finish for the Phillies seems off the table.
A's offense explodes
There was one matinee on Thursday, and it was a veritable bloodbath in Oakland Coliseum. You can see the score above, so you already knew that, but let's run it down.
The A's had 22 hits, including four doubles and three home runs.
The following players had at least two hits: Matt Chapman (including a double and two RBI), Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis (including a double), Stephen Piscotty (including four RBI and we'll get back to him in a second) and Ramon Laureano (including a double) and two RBI.
Remarkably, the A's scored 13 of their 21 runs with two outs.
Believe it or not, through 2 1/2 innings, the Angels led, 1-0. The A's then scored five in the third, seven in the fourth, six in the sixth and three in the seventh. More:
On the Angels' end, it was the worst loss in franchise history.
During the third-inning rally, Piscotty's three run shot, his 26th homer of the year, sent this game on its track to a blowout.
Perhaps most importantly here, the A's win moved their magic number to clinching the second AL wild card down to four. It was a two-number jump on Thursday, because ...
The Rays completely melted down
The Rays had an 8-3 lead going to the bottom of the ninth in Toronto and lost. The game didn't even go to extra innings. The Blue Jays put a seven-spot on the Rays.
The sequence: Double, double, hit by pitch, strikeout, home run, strikeout, single, home run, home run.
Back-to-back homers with two outs for the walk-off! That's amazing.
Here is Lourdes Gurriel with the game-tying shot:
And Justin Smoak with the walk-off:
This loss paired with the A's win effectively kills any hope or a miracle playoff run for the Rays. To be 6 1/2 games back with 10 games to play and a magic number of four just isn't happening. If the Rays go 10-0 the rest of the way, they need the A's to go 3-6 in order to tie.
NL Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer took the ball for the Nationals Thursday night. He's allow three earned runs in seven innings against the Mets, but let's focus in on his strikeouts. He punched out 13 Mets, which moves him to 290 on the season and sets a new career high. With at least one start left -- only one is scheduled, but they have a day off in there and he could pitch the final game on regular rest -- here's the list of 300-strikeout seasons in the wild card era:
- Randy Johnson, 372, 2001
- Randy Johnson, 364, 1999
- Randy Johnson, 347, 2000
- Randy Johnson, 334, 2002
- Randy Johnson, 329, 1998
- Curt Schilling, 319, 1997
- Curt Schilling, 316, 2002
- Pedro Martinez, 313, 1999
- Chris Sale, 308, 2017
- Pedro Martinez, 305, 1997
- Clayton Kershaw, 301, 2015
- Curt Schilling, 300, 1998
Man, I really typed "Randy Johnson" five times without copying-and-pasting his name. That was dumb.
Anyway, the game would go 12 innings and the Mets topped the Nationals, but Scherzer was the most interesting thing in the game.
- As he plays what might be his final homestand with the Nationals, . Harper is due to become a free agent this offseason.
- With LHP Clayton Kershaw's opt-out looming, Kershaw can opt out of the final two years and $70 million left on his contract.
- . Communication issues and uncertainty about whether he's the right manager for a rebuilding club are the main concerns.
- Cubs RHP Pedro Strop said he expects to return to game action before the end of the season, reports MLB.com. Strop suffered a hamstring injury last week. "Everything is pain-free. We're letting that thing heal," he said.
- Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, reports MLB.com. He is expected to be ready in time for spring training. Fulmer posted a 4.69 ERA in 132 2/3 innings this season.
- Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl underwent Tommy John surgery on Thursday, the team announced. He'll miss the entire 2019 season. Kuhl was limited to 85 innings this year by ongoing elbow woes.
- Orioles pitching prospect RHP Hunter Harvey is having more elbow trouble, reports MASN Sports. He's been shut down from instructional league and will not pitch in the Arizona Fall League as scheduled.
- Red Sox RHP Austin Maddox underwent rotator cuff surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2019 season, reports NBC Sports Boston. Injuries limited Maddox to only 7 2/3 innings this season, all in the minors.
Live team updates
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