NEW YORK — Luis Severino cruised through his final postseason tuneup and Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks homered during a four-run sixth inning, lifting the New York Yankees over the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 on Wednesday night.

New York improved to a season-high 20 games over .500 and remained three games behind Boston in the AL East with four to play. The Yankees would host the AL wild-card game if they don’t win the division.

Severino (14-6) is lined up to start the playoff opener.

Tampa Bay (76-82) was ensured its fourth straight losing season.

INDIANS 4, TWINS 2: Minnesota missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot on its own, as Danny Salazar gave Cleveland’s brain trust more to consider with a strong start and Yan Gomes homered, lifting the Indians at home.

The Indians improved to 30-3 since Aug. 24 and stayed one game ahead of Houston for the best record in the AL.

ASTROS 12, RANGERS 2: Justin Verlander struck out 11 to win his fifth straight start since getting traded to Houston, major league batting leader Jose Altuve reached 200 hits for the fourth season in a row, and the AL West champions completed a three-game sweep at Arlington, Texas.

Carlos Correa hit two home runs and George Springer had a grand slam for Houston.

ATHLETICS 6, MARINERS 5: Mark Canha hit a game-ending home run in the ninth inning to lift Oakland at home.


CUBS 5, CARDINALS 1: Addison Russell hit a three-run homer and John Lackey pitched six strong innings as Chicago clinched its second consecutive National League Central title with a victory at St. Louis.

The Cubs reached the postseason for the third straight year for the first time since 1908. They are also the first defending World Series champion to win their division the next season since the 2009 Phillies, and the first defending champion to reach the playoffs the next season since the Cardinals in 2012.

Lackey (12-11) retired the final 10 batters he faced. The former Cardinal struck out three and gave up two hits and two walks.

ROCKIES 15, MARLINS 9: Ian Desmond hit a three-run homer as part of a six-run second inning, and playoff-chasing Colorado won at Denver.

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and remained at 57 homers.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, GIANTS 3: David Peralta capped a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth by drawing a one-out, bases-loaded walk, giving Arizona a win at Phoenix.

J.D. Martinez led off the inning with a solo homer, tying Ralph Kiner’s 1949 NL record for home runs in September with 16.

METS 7, BRAVES 1: Terry Collins was a winner in perhaps his final home game as manager of the Mets, who won at home behind rookie pitcher Robert Gsellman.

Travis d’Arnaud drove in three runs and pinch-hitter Dominic Smith launched a three-run homer for the Mets.


PIRATES 5, ORIOLES 3: Josh Bell hit a two-run homer and host Pittsburgh swept the two-game series.

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