José Berríos pitched into the seventh inning to beat his former team, Bo Bichette homered in a five-run first inning and the Toronto Blue Jays increased their lead in the playoff race by beating the visiting Minnesota Twins 5-3 Sunday.
Toronto now leads the New York Yankees by 1 1/2 games for the second AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays are one game behind the Red Sox for the top slot.
The Blue Jays have 13 games remaining. The Yankees have 12 and Boston has 11.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had three hits and an RBI as the Blue Jays improved to 15-3 in September. Toronto (84-65) is a season-best 19 games above .500.
Traded to Toronto on July 30 after six seasons with the Twins, Berríos (12-9) faced his ex-teammates for the first time. He allowed three runs and four hits to win for the fourth time in five starts.
“I felt like I was playing back in Puerto Rico in my backyard with a lot of friends I know from a long time ago,” Berrios said. “I enjoyed this a lot today.
Yankees losing ground in wild-card race
Gerrit Cole stumbled when the New York Yankees needed an ace-like outing, allowing seven runs over 5 2/3 innings in a costly 11-1 defeat at home to the Cleveland Indians.
New York dropped 1½ games behind Toronto for the second AL wild card and 2½ games back of wild card leader Boston with 12 games left.
The Yankees were outscored 22-4 in the final two games of a series against a team with a losing record and since a 13-game winning streak are 7-15 — tied with woeful Baltimore for the worst record in the AL over that span.
Cole (15-8) matched his 2021 high for earned runs and gave up 10 hits for the first time since June 30, 2017, with Pittsburgh. Cleveland went 5 for 11 against his four-seam fastball, and his ERA rose to 3.03 and the Yankees dropped to 15-13 in his starts this year.
A’s outlast Ohtani, Angels
Shohei Ohtani struck out 10 but went winless in consecutive starts on the mound for the first time since June, and the Athletics rebounded to beat the host Angels, 3-2, in 10 innings.
Jed Lowie hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 10th off Raisel Iglesias (7-5), and Oakland won its fifth straight to remain within two games of Toronto for the second AL wild card.
Oakland will finish with a winning record in four straight years for the first time since 1999-2006. The A’s completed a three-game sweep and went 15-4 against the Angels, their most wins against them in a season.
Ohtani allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings with three walks. He tied a season high for strikeouts. With two pitching starts possible over the remainder of the season, Ohtani is 9-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 123 innings along with 44 walks.
Jose Rojas tied the score in the ninth off Sergio Romo, who blew a save for the fourth time in seven chances. Rojas singled in a run, and a second run scored when right fielder Seth Brown bobbled the ball and then threw the ball to the backstop for an error.
Kershaw a winner again
Clayton Kershaw pitched five sharp innings for his first win since June 27, Gavin Lux and Corey Seager each hit two-run homers, and the streaking Dodgers beat the sliding Reds, 8-5, in Cincinnati.
Will Smith also homered as the Dodgers won for the eighth time in nine games and moved one game behind the Dodgers in the NL West. The Reds, who are three games back the wild-card race, lost their eighth straight series.
The Giants got just four hits in losing to the visiting Braves, 3-0, in a matchup of division leaders as Eddie Rosario became the second Atlanta player in a month to hit for the cycle.
The Braves have a two-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL East after the Phillies lost, 3-2.
Rosario, acquired by Atlanta from Cleveland on July 30, hit a double in the second inning and a triple in the third. He homered in the seventh and then singled in the ninth.
Freddie Freeman was the last Braves player to hit for the cycle, accomplishing the feat on Aug. 18 at Miami.
Max Fried (12-7) allowed just three hits, striking out five, and walking one. The lefthander has yielded three earned runs or fewer in 10 consecutive starts, and Atlanta owns an 8-2 record in those games.
Peralta, Tigers stun Rays
Wily Peralta gave up three hits in seven innings, and Eric Haase and Dustin Garneau homered for the visiting Tigers in a 2-0 win over the AL East-leading Rays . . . Rookie Jarred Kelenic homered, doubled twice, and wrapped up his impressive series, leading visiting Seattle Mariners over the Kansas City Royals, 7-1. Kelenic also walked and scored twice as the Mariners remained four games behind Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot . . . Patrick Wisdom set a Cubs rookie record with his 27th homer, hitting a three-run drive that capped a five-run comeback in the eighth inning and sent Chicago over the host Brewers . . . Righthander Kohei Arihara was designed for assignment by the Rangers, who signed the Japanese pitcher to a two-year contract last winter.