NEW YORK — Aaron Hicks robbed Wilson Ramos of a first-inning grand slam in the outfielder’s return from the disabled list, and the playoff-bound New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 Tuesday night to clinch home-field advantage if they end up in the AL wild-card game next week.

Tampa Bay’s first three batters reached against rookie Jordan Montgomery (9-7), and Hicks leaped at the 385-foot sign in right-center to get his glove above the wall. He squeezed the webbing tight, preventing the ball from popping out and limiting Ramos to a sacrifice fly.

Hicks strained his left oblique at Boston on Sept. 2 when he reached up to make a running catch on the warning track of Hanley Ramirez’s drive. He walked three times, struck out in the sixth and left the game.

With its 17th win in 23 games, New York (88-69) moved 19 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 95-67 in 2012. Assured no worse than a wild-card berth, the Yankees closed within three games of AL East-leading Boston with five remaining.

TWINS 8, INDIANS 6: Brian Dozier’s three-run homer in the eighth inning pushed Minnesota to the brink of a playoff berth as the visiting Twins rallied for a win over Cleveland, which lost for just the third time in 32 games.

Dozier connected for his 33rd homer against Bryan Shaw (4-6) as the Twins lowered their magic number for clinching a playoff berth to one.

Minnesota can wrap up its first trip to the postseason since 2010 if the Los Angeles Angels lose in Chicago.


PHILLIES 4, NATIONALS 1: Jake Thompson and four relievers combined to hold visiting Washington in check and Philadelphia spoiled Bryce Harper’s return.

With the loss, Washington locked itself into the second seed in the NL playoffs behind the Dodgers. The Nationals will host the NL Central champion – either the Cubs or Milwaukee – in a Division Series beginning Oct. 6 at Nationals Park.

The win ensures that Philadelphia (63-95) will not lose 100 games.

METS 4, BRAVES 3: Travis Taijeron singled home the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and New York rallied late to beat visiting Atlanta.

New York was stymied by R.A. Dickey much of the night and trailed 3-0 in the seventh before Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run homer off the 42-year-old knuckleballer. Asdrubal Cabrera tied it with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.


PIRATES 10, ORIOLES 1: Andrew McCutchen hit his first career grand slam as part of an eight-RBI game and Pittsburgh rolled to a win at home.

McCutchen had 5,016 major-league at-bats coming into the game and 201 home runs, but had yet to hit a grand slam until he sent a pitch from Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman into the center-field seats in the second inning.

He has referenced hitting a grand slam as one of his “bucket list” items that he had not yet checked off in his career, and he raised a fist in triumph as he rounded the bases. McCutchen was brought back to the field for a curtain call by the cheers of the PNC Park faithful.

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