Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Pirates beat Rockies 13-7 to clinch playoff berth

WALKER’S WIN:Neil Walker had six RBIs, including a three-run homer as Pittsburgh secured at least a wild card, while in Toronto, the Blue Jays shut out the Yankees

AP, DENVER, Colorado

Neil Walker of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two RBI single off starting pitcher Christian Bergman of the Colorado Rockies to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Neil Walker had a career-high six RBIs, including a three-run homer, and the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched their third straight playoff berth by beating the Colorado Rockies 13-7 on Wednesday night.

The Pirates secured at least a National League wild card as they chase first-place St Louis in the NL Central. They trail by four games with a home series coming up against the Cardinals.

Walker provided the bulk of the offense with a bloop, two-run single in the first and a towering three-run homer in the third off fill-in starter Christian Bergman (3-1). Walker ended his night with a run-scoring single as part of a six-run ninth to break open a tight game.

BLUE JAYS 4, YANKEES 0

In Toronto, Russell Martin hit a three-run home run, Marcus Stroman pitched seven strong innings to win his third straight start and the Blue Jays beat the Yankees, extending their American League East lead to 3.5 games.

Martin, who used to play for the Yankees, connected off Andrew Bailey in the seventh. Martin matched his career high for homers with 21 as Toronto took two of three from New York in a showdown between the division’s top teams.

Stroman (3-0) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out five in his third start since returning from a torn knee ligament suffered in spring training. The outing lowered his ERA to 1.89.

Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished.

Starting in place of Masahiro Tanaka (right hamstring), New York right-hander Ivan Nova (6-9) took the mound for the first time since allowing six runs in 1-2/3 innings of a Sept. 12 loss to Toronto.

BRAVES 6, METS 3

In New York, Freddie Freeman broke a ninth-inning tie with a three-run homer after driving in two as a pinch hitter in the seventh as the Braves stunned the Mets in the finale of New York’s rough homestand.

David Wright had a tying, two-out single off Brandon Cuniff in the seventh after the Braves scored three times in the top half to take a 3-2 lead. However, closer Jeurys Familia failed in the ninth as the NL East leaders finished 3-6 on their penultimate set at Citi Field.

New York stayed 6.5 games in front of second-place Washington, whose 4-3 loss to Baltimore trimmed the Mets’ magic number to five for clinching the division title.

TWINS 4, INDIANS 2

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Phil Hughes pitched five scoreless innings in his return to the rotation as the Twins had rare success against Corey Kluber in a victory over the Indians to move within a game of the second AL wild-card spot.

Minnesota trails Houston by a game after the Astros lost to the Angels earlier on Wednesday.

Hughes (11-9) allowed four hits and struck out four. Brian Dozier homered and Trevor Plouffe had two doubles, a single and an RBI for the Twins (78-73).

Kluber (8-15) gave up four runs on five hits and struck out six in 3-2/3 innings for the Indians. Cleveland played without star outfielder Michael Brantley, who injured his shoulder while diving for a ball on Tuesday night.

Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Indians (74-76), who now trail the Astros by 5.5 games with 12 left to play.

In other MLB action, it was:

‧ Angels 6, Astros 5

‧ Royals 4, Mariners 3, 10 inns

‧ Tigers 7, White Sox 4

‧ Orioles 4, Nationals 3

‧ Marlins 4, Phillies 3, 11 inns

‧ Rays 6, Red Sox 2

‧ Brewers 4, Cubs 1

‧ Cardinals 10, Reds 2

‧ Padres 5, Giants 4

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