Danny Jansen hit a go-ahead, three-run homer, George Springer also went deep and the Blue Jays beat the Twins, 5-2, Sunday in Minneapolis to maintain pressure in the AL wild-card race before heading to Toronto for their final homestand.
Toronto will enter the final week one game back for the second AL wild card. The Yankees and Red Sox were tied for the wild-card lead heading into their game Sunday night, but the loser will drop back to only one game clear of the Blue Jays.
Toronto won the final two games of the four-game series. The Blue Jays host three-game series against New York and Baltimore.
Alek Manoah (8-2) won his third straight start, giving up two runs and six hits in 5⅔ innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. The rookie has 25 strikeouts in his last three outings.
Manoah and three relievers combined to strike out 15.
Griffin Jax (3-5) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings as the Twins lost a second time following a four-game winning streak.
Jansen homered in the second after a pair of one-out bloop singles by Corey Dickerson to left and Santiago Espinal to center.
Jake Cave hit an RBI single in the bottom half.
Springer homered in the fifth, a drive that like Jansen’s went into the bullpen in left-center field. Both players put on Toronto’s home run jacket — the Blue Jays have hit a major league-high 248.
Teoscar Hernández hit an RBI double in the eighth and leads the major leagues with 112 RBIs, including a big league high 64 since the All-Star break.
The Twins’ Byron Buxton homered in the fifth, his career-best 16th in just 55 games this season.
Brewers clinch NL Central title
The Brewers clinched their second NL Central title in four years, beating the sloppy Mets, 8-4, in Milwaukee behind Willy Adames’s two-run homer and three RBIs.
Josh Hader pitched a perfect ninth inning, retiring Brandon Nimmo on a game-ending flyout to left fielder Christian Yelich and sending the Brewers running onto the field to celebrate as the crowd of 43,430 erupted into cheers.
Milwaukee completed a three-game sweep and sent the skidding Mets to their 10th loss in 11 games.
A day after New York was eliminated from postseason contention in their first season under new owner Steven Cohen, the Mets (73-82) made three errors and were assured of a losing season for the fourth time in five years.
Ryan Braun threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game as part of his farewell, a 30-minute celebration of a 14-year major league career that included the 2011 NL MVP award and a lengthy suspension for a drug violation.
Now 37, Braun hasn’t played all season and said during spring training that he was leaning toward retirement. He announced Sept. 14 that he would not play again.
“My emotions today and over the last few weeks have admittedly been very mixed,” he said during a news conference before the game. “It starts with overwhelming gratitude and joy, but there is also a real sadness that it’s over, that this has actually come to an end.”
A six-time All-Star, Braun played his entire big league career with the Brewers from 2007-20.
“Thank you for picking me up when I fell down,” Braun told the appreciative crowd.
Shohei Ohtani, Angels can’t deny Mariners
Shohei Ohtani wasn’t enough to keep the Angels from their sixth straight losing season. Ohtani allowed Jarred Kelenic’s tying home run in the seventh inning, and Mitch Haniger hit a go-ahead single in a four-run eighth against the bullpen that lifted the Mariners over the Angels, 4-1, in Anaheim, Calif. Ohtani gave up one run and five hits in seven innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks. He remained 9-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.18 with 156 strikeouts and 44 walks in 130⅓ innings. Ohtani reached double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time this season and second start in a row. If he makes another start, it would also be against the Angels. He was 1 for 3 at the plate and is hitting .258 with 98 RBIs and 45 homers, one behind co-leaders Vladimir Guerrero of Toronto and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez. He has just one home run since Sept. 10. Seattle has won seven of eight and will enter the final week two games back for the AL’s second wild card with six games remaining. Toronto is also a game in front of the Mariners. Los Angeles is 75-82 and has not had a winning season since going 85-77 in 2015. Marco Gonzales (10-5) gave up one run on three hits over seven innings, improving to 7-0 in his last nine starts. Kurt Suzuki homered in the second, his 14th this season . . . Rookie Shane Baz pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings to win his second consecutive start and the AL East champion Rays beat the Marlins, 3-2, in St. Petersburg, Fla., for their team-record 14th series sweep. Baz (2-0), a 22-year-old righthander who was on the US Olympic team, allowed three hits, struck out nine and walked one. He gave up two runs and two hits — both homers — over five innings to beat Toronto in his big league debut Sept. 20 following his call-up from Triple-A Durham. Nelson Cruz had two RBIs for the Rays, who on Saturday night clinched their second consecutive division title and fourth since 2008. The defending AL champions at 97-59 are also closing on securing the best record in the league . . . Lucas Giolito pitched six scoreless innings, Eloy Jiménez had a two-run single and the AL champion White Sox defeated the Indians, 5-2, in Cleveland. Chicago clinched its first Central title since 2008 by beating the Indians in a doubleheader opener Thursday but is 34-33 since the All-Star break. Giolito (11-9) allowed five hits, struck out six and threw 100 pitches. Cleveland advanced only two runners to third base off Giolito, who escaped his biggest threat by retiring Owen Miller with men on first and second to end the sixth.
Cardinals win streak at 16
Make it a very sweet 16 for the St. Louis Cardinals. Andrew Knizner scored the go-ahead run on Codi Heuer’s wild pitch in the ninth inning, and the Cardinals beat the lowly Cubs, 4-2, in Chicago for their 16th straight victory. The Cardinals’ franchise-record streak is the longest in the majors since Cleveland took 22 in a row in 2017, and the best in the National League since the New York Giants won 16 straight in 1951 on their way to an improbable pennant. Paul Goldschmidt and Harrison Bader homered to extend a streak that has rocketed the Cardinals into position for the second NL wild card, leading Philadelphia and Cincinnati by six games with six to go. Next up is a three-game series against NL Central champion Milwaukee beginning on Tuesday night in St. Louis . . . Phillies starter Hans Crouse gave up a home run to Cole Tucker on his first major league pitch and host Philadelphia’s playoff hopes took a hit with a 6-0 loss to Max Kranick and the Pirates. The Phillies, who had won five in a row, began the day trailing NL East-leading Atlanta by 1½ games. Philadelphia visits the Braves for a three-game series starting Tuesday night. Bryce Harper and Philadelphia finished the home portion of their schedule with a record of 47-34 . . . Tyler Stephenson and Nick Castellanos hit consecutive home runs, Kyle Farmer broke open the game with a grand slam and the Reds kept alive their slim playoff hopes by routing the Nationals, 9-2, in Cincinnati. The Reds won their third straight and, at 81-75, ensured consecutive non-losing seasons for the first time since 2012 and ‘13 . . . Brandon Crawford homered to cap a four-run ninth inning and the Giants held their lead in the NL West, beating the Rockies, 6-2, in Denver. The Giants, who have won 15 of 19, maintained a two-game lead over the Dodgers. San Francisco now heads home to Oracle Park with a chance to clinch its first division title since 2012. Giants first baseman Brandon Belt left the game in the seventh inning after getting hit on the left hand with a pitch while squaring to bunt. Manager Gabe Kapler said X-rays were inconclusive and Belt will be reevaluated back in San Francisco . . . Corey Seager hit two solo homers, Julio Urías posted his MLB-leading 19th victory and the Dodgers won their 100th game of the season by beating the Diamondbacks, 3-0, in Phoenix.
Athletics lose Elvis Andrus, Jed Lowrie
Athletics shortstop Elvis Andrus was put on the 10-day injured list a day after breaking his left leg Saturday while scoring the winning run against the Astros.
The A’s also placed infielder Jed Lowrie on the IL with a sprained right hand.
Andrus singled leading off the bottom of the ninth against Houston’s Ryan Pressly on Saturday and scored from first when Starling Marte lined a double into the gap in right-center. Andrus stumbled rounding third and barely made it to home plate.
The Athletics' 2-1 win kept them in the AL wild-card race.
A’s trainer Nick Paparesta noted that Andrus had been hit in the same leg earlier in the game and had other minor injuries in his left leg. This injury was a fractured fibula.
“It could be a multitude of little micro-traumas that kind of caused this thing,” Paparesta said. “Then he puts all of his weight on it, and [in] doing everything he can to get to home I think may have caused the fracture.”
Andrus stayed on the ground for several moments before being helped into the dugout, and X-rays taken revealed the fracture. The 33-year-old is expected to fly back to Texas and meet with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Keith Meister before a determination is made on the next step.