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Baseball Notebook

Mets have top payroll, Dodgers drop to second without suspended Trevor Bauer

Mets owner Steve Cohen has had no problem spending big to try and bring a World Series title to Queens for the first time since 1986.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The Mets are on track to have baseball’s highest payroll for the first time since 1989, among a record-tying six teams set to pay a penalty for spending.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who started the season as the top spender, fell into second due to Trevor Bauer’s suspension.

New York entered the last full month of the season with a $273.9 million payroll, according to updated figures through Aug. 31 complied by Major League Baseball. The Dodgers are second at $267.2 million, followed by the New York Yankees at $254.4 million.

The Mets hope to win their first World Series title since 1986. Pitcher Max Scherzer, at a big league-high $43.3 million, makes roughly $5 million less than Oakland’s entire team and combines with teammates Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor for about $103 million — more than eight of the 30 clubs.

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When the Mets last topped MLB in payroll, their total was $21.3 million.

The Dodgers’ payroll dropped when Bauer was suspended for two years without pay on April 29 for violating the sport’s domestic violence policy.

The Yankees have a tax payroll of $267 million and a projected tax of $9.4 million, and the Phillies at $243 million would owe $2.6 million.

Boston, just over the first threshold at $234.5 million, would owe about $900,000. After paying tax for the first time last year, San Diego is a second offender with a payroll of about $233 million and a tax of just over $800,000.

Tigers hire Giants GM Harris to oversee baseball operations

Scott Harris was hired Monday as the Detroit Tigers’ president of baseball operations, leaving the San Francisco Giants after three years as general manager.

The 36-year-old takes over for Tigers general manager Al Avila, who was fired on Aug. 10. Detroit went 404-573 under Avila, who failed to take the team to the postseason during seven seasons overseeing baseball operations.

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Detroit hoped to reach the postseason but entered the week last in the AL Central at 55-91.

Harris has high expectations for the Tigers, who haven’t had a winning season since 2016 and last reached the playoffs in 2014.

Harris takes over for Al Avila.Eric Risberg/Associated Press

“He’s all in. He wants to win the World Series,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s competitive. He wants to win. He made it clear to me that’s a priority to him, and that’s what you want to hear when you’re in my situation.”

Harris played a major role in fortifying San Francisco’s roster over the last three seasons, where he worked under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. The Giants went 107-55 in 2021 and won the NL West, the best regular-season record in franchise history. The Giants were 205-163 during Harris’s three seasons in San Francisco.

Naylor, Rosario hit three-run homers, Guardians rout Twins

The Houston Astros clinched their fifth AL West title in six years, getting a leadoff home run from Jose Altuve in a 4-0 victory over the Rays

Headed to the postseason for the sixth straight season, Houston won for the eighth time in nine games and improved the AL’s best record to 97-51.

Luis Garcia (13-8) won his fifth straight decision, giving up two hits and four walks in five innings while striking out four. Hunter Brown pitched three innings and Héctor Neris finished the five-hitter, the Astros 16th shutout this season.

Altuve and the Astros celebrated another postseason berth after their win over the Rays Monday.Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Tampa Bay (82-65) is in position for the second of three AL wild card berths, one game behind Toronto (83-64) and a half-game ahead of Seattle (81-65).

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After the three-game series that ends Wednesday, the Rays host the Blue Jays in a four-game series.

Alexander loses no-no

Tyler Alexander held Baltimore hitless until the seventh inning, Riley Greene drove in three run,s and the Detroit Tigers stalled the Orioles’ playoff push with an 11-0 victory night.

Baltimore fell five games behind Seattle in the race for the last of three AL wild-card spots. Both teams have 16 games left, and the Mariners own the tiebreaker advantage for winning the season series.

Alexander (4-10) permitted only two baserunners over the first six innings, both on walks, before Ryan Mountcastle led off the seventh by lofting a single in front of Greene in center. Anthony Santander followed with another single, but both runners were stranded.

Naylor, Rosario hit three-run homers, Guardians rout Twins

Josh Naylor and Amed Rosario hit three-run homers, Cal Quantrill kept his home unbeaten streak intact, and Cleveland thumped Minnesota 11-4, taking four of five from one of their AL Central pursuers. The Guardians followed up a sweep at Minnesota earlier this month by winning a series they had to have and opening a seven-game lead over the Twins. Naylor homered in the first inning off Sonny Gray (8-5) and Rosario connected in the sixth off rookie Ronny Henriquez to make it 7-3 as the first-place Guardians opened a four-game division lead over Chicago . . . Carlos Santana homered twice, including his first grand slam in three years, Ty France drove in four runs, and the Seattle Mariners stopped a three-game losing streak with a 9-1 victory over the Angels. Santana had the 15th multi-homer game of his career and fourth this season.

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