And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 20, Tigers 4: Well, that was something. Eight homers in all for the Red Sox. Two from David Ortiz, who picked up his 2,000th career hit as well. Injury added to insult: Jose Iglesias left the game with shin splints.

Cardinals 5, Reds 4: A sixteen inning affair in which Matt Adams homered twice in extra innings. Once in the 14th and once in the 16th. The latter, obviously provided the margin of victory. The Cards are two and a half up on Cincinnati for second place. They play their last head-to-head game today. That is, unless you count the wild card game for which they are on a collision course.

Athletics 11, Rangers 4: And the West is tied again. A’s bats knock Yu Darvish around like crazy and Jarrod Parker extends his unbeaten streak to 18 games. He hasn’t lost since May 22. Darvish walked six guys in five innings and change. He’s 1-5 against Oakland.

Indians 6, Orioles 4: With this the Indians move ahead of the Orioles and just behind the Yankees in the wild card race. Watch out for Cleveland. Yes, they have two teams ahead of them in that race now, but they also play 14 of their final 23 against the likes of the White Sox, Twins and Astros.

Nationals 3, Phillies 2: Roy Halladay is a shell of his former self, but he battled hard with the few weapons he has left after starting out the game with multiple walks and all kinds of other trouble. Of course the Phillies’ pen couldn’t hold a lead for him. They’re exactly like their former selves.

Mets 5, Braves 2: Call it a hunch, but I don’t think Kameron Loe is going to be in the Braves playoff rotation. Andrew Brown and Lucas Duda homered off of him and Dillon Gee didn’t give the Braves much of anything to work with.

Astros 6, Twins 5: Trevor Crowe knocked in Jonathan Villar in the ninth with the game-winning single. It was the first time in six tries the Astros beat the Twins.

Cubs 9, Marlins 7: The Cubs avoid getting swept, hitting four homers in the process and posting a four-run seventh inning. The Marlins pen blew 6-3 and 7-4 leads.

Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 3: The Diamondbacks walked off with a Willie Bloomquist single. Then they did what has become their little walkoff celebration: getting muddy. Like, literally adding water to some infield dirt and smearing the guy with mud. This is where the whole “the Diamondbacks are gritty” thing has led. It has also led to them still being 7 games out of a playoff spot, but hey, grit.

Giants 13, Padres 5: Pablo Sandoval has had a nightmare season but he hit three homers here, reminding everyone of his Game 1 performance in last year’s World Series. He only had 10 homers all season coming into this game.

Yankees 6, White Sox 5: CC Sabathia looked OK for a change, allowing three runs in seven and a third. A couple RBI a piece for Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano. The Yanks sweep the mailing-it-in White Sox. The Yankees are 2.5 back of the wild card.

Mariners 6, Royals 4: Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for the winning margin. The Royals used eight pitchers in nine innings because, I dunno, Ned Yost wanted some screen time.

Brewers 9, Pirates 3: I suppose it would be some story if the Pirates went on a 25-game losing streak to end the season and deprive themselves of a winning record. That’s not gonna happen, but it really would be something.

Rays 3, Angels 1: Two homers for Wil Myers, off Jered Weaver no less. In other news, when I was a kid parents knew how to spell their childrens’ names properly.

Rockies 7, Dodgers 5: Jorge De La Rosa ties for the NL wins lead with 16. Brian Kenny then dropped into the ballpark from his Kill-the-Win-a-Copter wearing a Bane mask, sprayed the crowd with gunfire and told them all that only when De La Rosa leads the league in FIP and WAR do they have his permission to cheer.

Rays beat Mets 8-5, clinch 1st AL East title in 10 years

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK (AP) Confetti instead of champagne. Silly string instead of beer.

The Tampa Bay Rays, long accustomed to doing more with less, figured out a way to maximize the division-clinching celebration they were allowed to enjoy during a 2020 season shortened by the coronavirus.

Randy Arozarena homered twice and the Rays clinched their first AL East title in 10 years Wednesday night with an 8-5 victory over the New York Mets.

“I’m completely dry right now, which I’m not a huge fan of,” center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, the longest-tenured Rays player, said with a grin. “But you have to adapt to what we’re asked of.”

With teams instructed to celebrate in a muted and socially distant style, the Rays went old school – or maybe elementary school – with their clinching party.

The team filed slowly onto the field after Nick Anderson fanned Andres Gimenez for the final out. A couple of players shot off canisters filled with confetti that eventually dotted the grass and dirt at Citi Field. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged before the Rays doused one another with silly string and lit some cigars in the visiting clubhouse.

Later, hooting and hollering could be heard from the visitors’ dugout.

“We’re little kids trapped in grown men’s bodies,” Kiermaier said.

Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe also went deep for the Rays to back Tyler Glasnow‘s six solid innings. Tampa Bay will be home at quirky Tropicana Field for a best-of-three first-round playoff series beginning next Tuesday.

It is the third division crown for the thrifty Rays, whose payroll this season is just over $28 million – more than only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. Tampa Bay, which began play in 1998, also won the AL East, home of two big-spending powers in the Yankees and Red Sox, in 2008 and 2010.

“It feels great to win the division, no matter what division you’re in,” Kiermaier said. “But especially the American League East – it’s just a different animal.”

After missing a chance to clinch Tuesday, the Rays went into Wednesday again needing just a win or a Yankees loss against Toronto to lock up the division championship.

The Rays (37-20) broke a 2-all tie in the sixth on Arozarena’s two-run homer off Michael Wacha and pulled away, taking care of business themselves while New York was routed 14-1 by the Blue Jays.

“At the end of the day, a clinch is a clinch,” said Wendle, who homered in the second. “But to do it on a win – everybody’s kind of riding the high of winning the game along with the division. We didn’t want to see it come down to them losing a game.”

Tampa Bay also is closing in on wrapping up the top record in the AL and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Lowe, who had an RBI fielder’s choice in the third, hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Willy Adames added an RBI single later in the inning and Arozarena homered again in the ninth.

The insurance came in handy for the Rays when the Mets scored three times off Oliver Drake in the ninth – via an RBI groundout by Robinson Cano and a two-run homer by Todd Frazier – before Anderson closed the door.

“I think we had the game pretty much in control (and) certainly recognized what was going on in Buffalo, but I don’t know if you can ever prepare for a moment like that – it’s pretty special,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Glasnow (5-1) allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

Gimenez and Dominic Smith homered off Glasnow in the final home game of the season for the Mets, whose long-shot playoff hopes were further damaged with the loss. New York began the day 2 1/2 games out of an NL wild-card spot.

“We still have a shot with the four games left and we’re competing,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We’ve just got to do what we do – just keep fighting like we did in the ninth.”

Wacha allowed four runs on six hits and struck out four in six innings.

STABLE SHIRT

Rays pitcher Charlie Morton sported a T-shirt picturing a stable of horses as he spoke with reporters during a pregame Zoom call. Morton did little to discourage the notion the shirt was inspired by Cash’s viral rant earlier this month, when he declared the Rays have “a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph” after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw near Mike Brousseau’s head in the ninth inning Sept. 4.

“The stable shirt?” Morton said. “It was in my locker last week and I like horses.”

With a grin obviously growing even behind his Rays mask, Morton said he rode horses as a kid.

“So I was ecstatic to see this shirt in my locker and I wore it,” he said.

As for the fireballers on the Rays’ pitching staff?

“We’ve got some guys that throw really hard,” Morton said.

ANOTHER LOSING SEASON

The loss guaranteed the Mets (25-31) will finish with a sub-.500 record for the ninth time in the last 12 seasons – a total matched or exceeded only by the Chicago White Sox (nine), Miami Marlins (10) and San Diego Padres (10). The White Sox and Padres have already clinched playoff spots and a winning record, while the Marlins are in second place in the NL East.

New York made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016 and went 86-76 last year.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: LHP Jose Alvarado (shoulder, lat) is scheduled to throw batting practice to 3B Yandy Diaz (hamstring) and 1B Ji-Man Choi (hamstring) at Tropicana Field on Thursday. Cash said all three players are progressing and he hopes they are available for the playoffs. . Brousseau (oblique) missed a fourth consecutive game. Cash said he would have been available off the bench if needed

Mets: RF Michael Conforto (hamstring) returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing two games and went 0 for 4. . The Mets activated RHP Dellin Betances (lat), who last pitched Aug. 29, and optioned RHP Corey Oswalt to the alternate site.

UP NEXT

Rays: After a day off Thursday, Morton (2-2, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to get his postseason tuneup in the opener of a series against the Phillies on Friday.

Mets: Rookie LHP David Peterson (5-2, 3.80 ERA) opens a four-game road series against the Nationals. Peterson struck out a career-high 10 against the Braves last Saturday.