Baseball-Highlights of Wednesday's MLB games

(Adds final game) Sept 21 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Wednesday: Yankees 11, Rays 5 Red-hot Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hit two more home runs, giving him five in his last four games, as New York rolled to an 11-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. With the win and Baltimore's loss to Boston, the Yankees (79-72) pulled to within 2-1/2 games of the second wild card in the American League with 11 games remaining in the season. New York jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two innings, then held off the Rays (64-87), who inched back with five solo home runs. Rockies 11, Cardinals 1 Nolan Arenado hit a grand slam as the Colorado Rockies piled on rookie starter Luke Weaver early and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-1. Arenado's grand slam came with two outs in the second and was his first since Sept. 26, 2015, against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the fourth of his career. It was his National League-leading 39th homer and gave the Rockies a 6-1 lead. Astros 6, Athletics 5 Evan Gattis hit two home runs, right-hander Collin McHugh won his fifth straight game and the Houston Astros continued their wild-card playoff push with a 6-5 victory against the Oakland Athletics. The Astros entered the game trailing Baltimore by two games for the American League's second wild-card spot. McHugh (12-10) allowed two runs on six hits over 5-2/3 innings, striking out five and walking two. Mariners 2, Blue Jays 1 (12 innings) Felix Hernandez (11-6) gutted through seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays, but the real stars were Seattle's relievers, who combined for six innings and allowed four hits while striking out six. The Blue Jays were forced to use starter R.A. Dickey in the 12th inning after exhausting their bullpen. Seattle (80-71) are struggling to stay in the race for a American League wild-card spot, but their offense simply could not find a way to score more than one run against Aaron Sanchez and a strong effort from the Toronto bullpen. Red Sox 5, Orioles 1 Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer after Boston scored two runs on a throwing error during a five-run sixth inning as the Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles. Boston (88-64) have now won seven consecutive games, while Baltimore (82-70) slipped to six games behind the Red Sox in the American League East, missing a chance to tie Toronto (83-69) for second place as the Blue Jays lost in Seattle earlier. Phillies 8, White Sox 3 Tommy Joseph homered and drove in three runs as the Philadelphia Phillies completed beat the Chicago White Sox. Jerad Eickhoff (11-14) went seven innings for the win, giving up three runs on six hits. The right-hander struck out six against just one walk, throwing 93 pitches, 62 strikes. White Sox ace Chris Sale (16-9) had an unusually rough outing, giving up three runs in the opening frame. He also hit three batters in a game for the first time in his seven-year career. Braves 4, Mets 3 Ender Inciarte drove home the winning run with an RBI groundout in the top of the ninth and made a game-saving catch to end the bottom of the inning as the Atlanta Braves continued to play wild-card spoiler by beating the New York Mets. The Braves (61-91) trailed 3-0 entering the seventh before storming back to stun the Mets (80-72), who entered the game in a three-way tie for the National League's two wild-card spots with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets are assured of no worse than being tied for the second wild card by virtue of the Cardinals' loss to the Colorado Rockies. Indians 4, Royals 3 Jose Ramirez hit three of Cleveland's six doubles, and Corey Kluber struck out nine in 6-1/3 innings in winning his 18th game as the Indians beat the Kansas City Royals. The loss officially eliminates the Royals from the American League Central Division race, and the win for Cleveland reduces the Indians' magic number for clinching the division to five. Kluber (18-9) gave up four consecutive singles and two runs in the third inning, but no runs and two hits in the other 5-1/3 innings he pitched. Nationals 8, Marlins 3 Max Scherzer earned his 18th win and Ryan Zimmerman slugged a three-run homer to lead the Washington Nationals to an 8-3 victory over the Miami Marlins. Scherzer (18-7) struck out eight and was working on a shutout until the seventh, when he gave up a solo homer to the upper deck in right field by Christian Yelich and a two-run, pinch-hit blast by Derek Dietrich. That was it for Scherzer, who allowed four hits, two walks and three runs in 6-2/3 innings. Cubs 9, Reds 2 John Lackey picked up his first victory since Aug. 9 and joined four fellow starters with double-digit wins as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds. Lackey (10-8) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings as the Cubs won their third successive game. The Cubs (97-55) matched the win total from their 2015 wild-card season and reduced their magic number to two to secure National League postseason home-field advantage. Cincinnati starter Robert Stephenson (2-2) worked an abbreviated 3-2/3-inning outing and took the loss. Angels 5, Rangers 4 The Los Angeles Angels held on to the lead this time and beat the Texas Rangers. After watching Texas rally to win the first two games of the series, the Angels' bullpen pitched three shutout innings to back starter Jered Weaver. Mike Trout's three-run home run gave Los Angeles a lead they would not surrender. The Rangers (90-63) had their magic number to clinch the American League West remain at two. Texas also hold a one-game lead on Cleveland (88-63) for the best record in the AL. Pirates 4, Brewers 1 Home runs from Andrew McCutchen and Sean Rodriguez paced the Pittsburgh Pirates offense and Chad Kuhl struck out six in a 4-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. McCutchen and Rodriguez finished with two hits each while Rodriguez drove in three runs. Kuhl (5-3) held Milwaukee to a run on five hits and a walk over six innings of work and earned his second consecutive victory. He's allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his last nine starts. Padres 3, Diamondbacks 2 Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt smacked two home runs and Zack Greinke continued his dominance over San Diego. Goldschmidt had a solo blast in the first inning and a two-run shot in the sixth as the Diamondbacks avoided the three-game sweep in winning for just the second time in six outings. Greinke (13-7) beat the Padres for the eighth occasion in nine decisions. He worked six innings, charged with two runs, two hits and four walks (one intentional). Dodgers 9, Giants 3 Yasiel Puig smacked a three-run home run in the first inning to spark an early surge as the Los Angeles Dodgers pounded the San Francisco Giants. Howie Kendrick went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs for the Dodgers. First-place Los Angeles (86-66) pushed their lead over San Francisco (80-72) to six games in the National League West. The Giants, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals all lost on Wednesday, leaving them in a three-way tie for the two NL wild-card spots. Tigers v Twins (postponed)