MLB scores, schedule, live team updates, news: Red Sox clinch AL East in the Bronx

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

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. 

For more on the clinch, click here

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 three hits: Nick Martini (including a home run), Marcus Semien (including a double and five RBI) and Josh Phegley

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. 

Nationals milestones/game

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: 

  1. Randy Johnson, 372, 2001
  2. Randy Johnson, 364, 1999
  3. Randy Johnson, 347, 2000
  4. Randy Johnson, 334, 2002
  5. Randy Johnson, 329, 1998
  6. Curt Schilling, 319, 1997
  7. Curt Schilling, 316, 2002
  8. Pedro Martinez, 313, 1999
  9. Chris Sale, 308, 2017
  10. Pedro Martinez, 305, 1997
  11. Clayton Kershaw, 301, 2015
  12. 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. 

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CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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