Alexander loses no-hit bid in 7th as Tigers beat Orioles 11-0

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BALTIMORE – Long after it became apparent Baltimore was going to lose ground in its pursuit of a playoff berth, there still was an aura of mystery surrounding this mismatch between the Orioles and Detroit Tigers.

As Tyler Alexander stacked one hitless inning after another, the tension mounted with every pitch.

“You get in the seventh inning, and you start wondering if we’re seeing something,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said.

Alexander’s no-hit bid ended in the seventh, but that might have been the only downer for the Tigers in an 11-0 blowout Monday 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 Riley Greene in center. Anthony Santander followed with another single, but both runners were stranded.

Prior to that, the closest Baltimore came to a hit was in the sixth, when Ryan Kreidler snagged Adley Rutchman’s two-out grounder down the third-base line and fired the ball to first.

Alexander matched his career high by pitching seven innings. The lefty, who struck out four, was winless in four starts since Aug. 20.

“I had fastball command for the first time in a while, which was good. It opened up a lot of the plate,” Alexander said.

As the game went on he couldn’t help thinking of a no-hitter, but the 28-year-old tried not to get ahead of himself.

“I just kept telling myself, dominate the next inning,” he said.

When his bid for history ended, Alexander took solace in the fact that he was dominant for seven shutout innings.

“I wasn’t too upset when the ball landed. At that point, I just wanted to get through seven clean,” he said. “And then with the hit by the next guy, I’m glad I kept it together and put up another zero.”

Will Vest worked the eighth and Jose Cisnero completed the two-hitter.

After losing six of their previous seven games, the last-place Tigers took control with a five-run fourth against Tyler Wells (7-7) that made it 6-0. Greene contributed an RBI double, and he doubled in two runs in the sixth for an 8-0 lead.

Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera returned from a stay on the injured list with a left biceps strain to contribute two singles and an RBI. The two hits moved the 39-year-old into a tie with Cap Anson for 24th with 3,081.

After their 10th shutout loss of the season stalled their pursuit of a wild-card berth, the Orioles tried to look ahead.

“Tonight was just nothing went right for us, and hopefully we can rebound tomorrow,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ll turn the page on this.”

MEET THE NEW BOSS

Detroit hired 36-year-old Scott Harris to be president of baseball operations following his successful three-year stint as general manager of the San Francisco Giants. Harris takes over for Tigers GM Al Avila, who was fired on Aug. 10.

MIGGY’S SCHEDULE

Hinch said Cabrera will be given Tuesday off and return to the lineup for the series finale Wednesday night. Hinch outlined the schedule because when the Tigers were in town last year, he rested Cabrera so the slugger could seek his 500th career homer at home. “I don’t want get booed again by the fans when I sat him at 499,” Hinch said. “I had a fan tell me I owed him 50 bucks for the ticket he bought.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: Still nursing a sore elbow after being hit by a pitch on Saturday, Mountcastle served as the designated hitter instead of playing first base.

UP NEXT

The Orioles attempt to make up ground in the wild card race on Tuesday night, sending Austin Voth (5-2, 4.36 ERA) to the mound against the Tigers and rookie left-hander Joey Wentz (1-2, 4.15).

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.