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MLB roundup

National League

Cardinals 5, Brewers 2

Harrison Bader tripled and homered to help St. Louis clinch a postseason berth on the final day of the regular season with a win over Milwaukee, and the Brewers also earned a playoff spot Sunday via help on the West Coast moments later.

St. Louis (30-28) will be the fifth seed in the NL and open a three-game wild-card series at San Diego on Wednesday. By winning, the Cardinals avoided having to travel to Detroit for two makeup games Monday. St. Louis finished the regular season with 23 games in 18 days as it made up a slew of postponements caused by a coronavirus outbreak in the clubhouse.

“You had to throw some of the expectations out the window not knowing what to expect after taking those couple weeks off and all those doubleheaders and so many new guys,” Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “It was very different, very fulfilling to make the playoffs.”

The Brewers (29-31) locked up the eighth seed and a third consecutive postseason berth after the Padres beat San Francisco 5-4 in a game that ended about 15 minutes after St. Louis' victory. The Giants finished with an identical record as the Brewers but lost out on a tiebreaker due to an inferior intradivision record.

“It’s fitting for 2020 and everything we went through,” Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich said. "It felt just as good as past years. This year’s a unique one. There’s so many challenges we had to go through on a daily basis behind the scenes, things you don’t deal with in a normal year.”

Milwaukee will face the top-seeded Dodgers in Los Angeles in a three-game series that also starts Wednesday.

The Brewers haven't had a winning record at any point this season. Milwaukee and Houston will be the first teams ever to qualify for the playoffs with a losing mark.

“It’s a celebration," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re in the playoffs. That’s how you see it. There’s no reason to apologize for getting into the playoffs.”

Cardinals starter Austin Gomber allowed one run, one hit and two walks and struck out three over four innings.

Giovanny Gallegos (2-0), Génesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes combined to pitch the final five innings. Reyes got his first save.

“We’d have been happy getting in as the eight seed,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We’d have been happy being the one seed, but people can say we got in if there was no expanded playoffs so that’s even another feather in this group’s cap.”

Brett Anderson (4-4) surrendered a triple to Bader and a walk to Tyler O’Neill to start the third inning before departing with a blister on his left index finger. Anderson opened the season on the injured list with a blister on the same finger and did not make his debut until Aug. 3.

Freddy Peralta replaced him a day after being activated from the paternity list, and O’Neill promptly stole second. Kolten Wong then hit a line drive off Peralta’s leg that Peralta threw into right field to score Bader and O’Neill.

Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong each added RBI singles to push the St. Louis lead to 4-0.

After Milwaukee scored in the top of the fifth, Bader hit his fifth home run of the season.

“That was a big counterpunch,” Shildt said of Bader. “Got them on their heels again.”

Yadier Molina grounded into a triple play in the eighth inning when he hit a one hop grounder to Jace Peterson at third base in the eighth inning. It was Milwaukee’s first triple play since Sept. 23, 2016, when Cincinnati’s Joey Votto lined out to first base. Molina was also the last Cardinals player to hit into a triple play when he grounded out to third base at Boston on Aug. 15, 2017.

Nationals 15, Mets 5

Juan Soto became the National League’s youngest batting champion, Trea Turner hit a grand slam and drove in seven runs, and Washington beat New York.

Soto walked and singled before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the third inning, elevating his average to .351 and sealing the NL lead in the category. The 21-year-old surpassed Brooklyn’s Pete Reiser for the youngest ever to take a batting crown. Reiser was 22 when he ended the 1941 season hitting a league-leading .343.

Yan Gomes also homered for Washington, which closed the season on a three-game winning streak and caught the Mets in the NL East standings. The Nationals finished 26-34 a year after winning their first World Series.

Pete Alonso homered twice for 26-34 New York and finished with 16 after clubbing a rookie-record 53 last season. Guillermo Heredia added a solo shot for the Mets. The Nationals chased Mets starter Seth Lugo (3-4) after 1 1/3 innings.

Washington right-hander Austin Voth (2-5) needed 36 pitches to escape the first but made it through five innings to close his season with back-to-back victories. Voth allowed four runs while striking out four.

Padres 5, Giants 4

San Francisco had its postseason hopes dashed on the final day of the regular season, finishing 29-31 under first-year manager Gabe Kapler.

The Giants finished tied with Milwaukee for the eighth and final NL playoff spot but lost the tiebreaker.

Wil Myers homered in the second for San Diego (37-23), the NL’s No. 4 seed, as the Padres prepare for their first postseason in 14 years. They’ll host a three-game series against St. Louis beginning Wednesday.

Trevor Rosenthal closed it out for his 11th save, retiring Austin Slater on a called third strike to end it. Slater put his hands on his head, and Giants players cursed from the dugout at plate umpire Rob Drake.

Mauricio Dubon homered in the bottom of the second for San Francisco, which also missed giving Drew Smyly (0-1) his first victory in five starts and seven appearances.

Dan Altavilla (2-3) relieved and pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win.

Diamondbacks 11, Rockies 3

Madison Bumgarner pitched five scoreless innings to win his first game for Arizona in his ninth and final start this season.

Bumgarner (1-4), a former World Series MVP for San Francisco, left the Giants as a free agent for an $85 million, five-year contract to pitch in the desert. The 31-year-old left-hander never got untracked, plagued by inconsistency and a monthlong stint on the injured list with a mid-back strain.

Bumgarner allowed two hits with four strikeouts for first win since Sept. 4, 2019. He finished with a 6.48 ERA.

Arizona scored two runs in the first inning off Kyle Freeland (2-1) and four more in the third to close with five wins in its final six games.

American League

Rangers 8, Astros 4

Houston is going into the playoffs with a losing record after Rougned Odor homered twice for Texas in a win, the third in a row for the Rangers over the defending American League champions.

Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz hit solo homers for the Astros (29-31), who went from a majors-best 107 wins last season to being the last AL team to clinch a berth in an expanded playoff during this pandemic-shortened season. They got in as the second-place team in the AL West.

Houston and Milwaukee — also 29-31 — are the first teams to ever qualify for the postseason with losing records.

Taylor Hearn (1-0), the third of seven Rangers pitchers, earned the win. Astros starter Chase De Jong (0-1) struck six in 3 2/3 innings, but also gave up six runs and six hits while walking two.

Athletics 6, Mariners 2

Mark Canha drove in four runs and Oakland came back to beat Seattle in its final tune-up before the postseason.

Oakland’s victory, coupled with Minnesota’s loss to Cincinnati, gave the AL West champion A’s the No. 2 seed in the American League playoffs. They’ll be home at the Coliseum for a best-of-three series against the seventh-seeded Chicago White Sox beginning Tuesday.

Frankie Montas had a career-high 13 strikeouts in six innings for Oakland. Jake Lamb homered and Tommy La Stella added a pair of hits. Yusmeiro Petit (2-1) retired all three batters he faced to get the win.

Lamb’s tiebreaking home run off Yoshihisa Hirano (0-1) leading off the seventh put the A’s up 3-2.

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 5

Toronto Blue is set to face the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round of the postseason after losing to Baltimore in its regular season finale.

The Orioles denied Toronto (32-28) a chance to finish second in the AL East and instead relegated the Blue Jays to the eighth and final seed in the AL playoffs. Toronto will open a three-game series in Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Renato Núñez reached base three times in his return to the lineup and Cedric Mullins hit two triples for the Orioles. Baltimore’s Travis Lakins Sr. (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Cesar Valdez worked the ninth for his third save in three chances.

Toronto’s Shun Yamaguchi (2-4) took the loss, allowing three runs and four hits in two innings.

Royals 3, Tigers 1

Brady Singer (4-5) finished his rookie season with a stellar performance, Alex Gordon wrapped up his long Royals career with a fond farewell and Kansas City ended its season with a win over Detroit.

Adalberto Mondesi and Ryan McBroom homered for the Royals, who finished just above the Tigers in the AL Central in their first season under manager Mike Matheny. Kansas City (26-34) has been fourth in the division in back-to-back seasons. The Royals haven’t reached postseason play since winning the World Series in 2015.

Detroit (23-35) finished last for the fourth time in six years. Lloyd McClendon wound up the season as the Tigers’ manager after Ron Gardenhire retired on Sept. 19.

Mondesi hit his sixth home run in the fourth, connecting off Tarik Skubel (1-4) to make it 1-all. McBroom hit a solo homer the next inning.

Interleague

Rays 5, Phillies 0

Rookie pitcher Josh Fleming allowed four hits over six innings and AL East champion Tampa Bay eliminated Philadelphia from the playoff race.

Philadelphia (28-32) needed a win over the Rays and losses by San Francisco and Milwaukee to earn its first playoff berth in nine years. The Brewers and Giants both lost, but the Phillies were unable to give themselves a chance.

Fleming (5-0) struck out five and walked one for the top-seeded Rays, who will face No. 8 seed Toronto in a best-of-three wild-card series that starts Tuesday at Tropicana Field. Oliver Drake, Aaron Loup and Ryan Sherriff completed a six-hitter.

Tampa Bay (40-20) has the AL’s top record after reaching the postseason last season as a wild card. The Rays will host Toronto in a wild-card series starting Tuesday.

Pinch-hitter Kevan Smith had a run-scoring single in the second before Joey Wendle and Hunter Renfroe both had third-inning RBI hits off Aaron Nola (5-5) that put the Rays up 3-0. Nola gave up three runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings

Reds 5, Twins 3

Tucker Barnhart and Eugenio Suárez had RBI singles a three-run 10th inning, and Cincinnati beat Minnesota in a regular-season finale that determined postseason matchups.

Cincinnati (31-29) became the National League’s seventh seed and will play No. 2 Atlanta starting Wednesday.

Minnesota (36-24) clinched its second straight American League Central title despite the defeat when the Chicago White Sox lost to the Cubs. The Twins host No. 6 Houston starting Tuesday.

Joey Votto had a based-loaded walk in the 10th for the Reds.

Raisel Iglesias (4-3) pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing Marwin Gonzalez’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th.

Caleb Thielbar (2-1) started the 10th and got one out, then was replaced by Sergio Romo, who allowed the run-scoring hits and bases-loaded walks while failing to get any outs.

Dodgers 5, Angels 0

AJ Pollock homered twice and NL West champion Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep of the Angels.

Pollock’s drive gave the Dodgers a major league-leading 118 homers. It was their fifth shutout victory; they went 15-1-4 in series this season. The Dodgers won their eighth consecutive division title and finished 43-17 for the best record in the majors over the 60-game schedule.

The Angels stumbled to a 26-34 mark. They announced as the game ended that general manager Billy Eppler was fired after his fifth straight losing season.

Victor González made his first career start for the Dodgers, tossing a scoreless inning with one strikeout before turning the ball over to Dustin May (3-1). The red-headed right-hander allowed two hits in four innings, struck out five and walked two.

Angels starter Patrick Sandoval (1-5) left the game with an apparent injury after giving up three straight walks that led to two runs with two outs in the third.

Cubs 10, White Sox 8

Reynaldo López (1-3) struggled and the White Sox tumbled out of position for a home playoff series, losing to Kris Bryant and the crosstown Cubs.

The White Sox (35-25) finished the season with seven losses in eight games to go from first in the AL Central to the seventh seed for their first playoff appearance since 2008. They were in second place in the division heading into the final day, but Cleveland rallied for an 8-6 victory over Pittsburgh and hopped over Chicago based on its 8-2 record in the season series.

The South Siders scored five in the eighth inning, and Yasmani Grandal’s two-run homer trimmed the Cubs’ lead to 10-8 in the ninth. Andrew Chafin came in with two outs and a runner on and struck out Nomar Mazara looking for his first save of the season.

Bryant, Billy Hamilton and David Bote homered for the Cubs (34-26), who rested Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ a day after clinching the NL Central title. Adbert Alzolay (1-1) struck out a career-high eight in five effective innings.

The Cubs are the NL’s third seed for their fifth playoff appearance in the last six years. They will be at Wrigley Field for the wild-card round beginning on Wednesday against No. 6 seed Miami.

Indians 8, Pirates 6

Carlos Santana had four RBIs and delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning as Cleveland rallied to clinch home-field advantage for its AL wild-card series.

The Indians moved into second place in the AL Central and fourth in the AL on the final day of the regular season. They will host the Yankees in a best-of-three series beginning Tuesday.

The Pirates held a 6-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Franmil Reyes belted a three-run homer that chased starter JT Brubaker.

Nik Turley (0-3) entered for the seventh, hitting César Hernández with a pitch and giving up a double to José Ramírez before Santana plated them both to put Cleveland ahead 7-6. A sacrifice fly by Reyes drove in Santana, who hit a two-run homer in the third.

James Karinchak (1-2) struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh for the win and Brad Hand got four outs for his AL-high 16th save in 16 opportunities.

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