SAN DIEGO — The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the pandemic-shortened season, beating the San Diego Padres 7-5 Wednesday behind Dustin May’s gutty effort out of the bullpen and home runs from AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor.

Will Smith drove in three runs for the seven-time defending NL West champion Dodgers, who opened a 3 1/2-game lead in the division by winning 2 of 3 in the matchup of the NL’s two best teams.

Mookie Betts tied his career high with three stolen bases, had two hits and scored a run.

At 35-15, the Dodgers breezed into the expanded 16-team postseason field. Los Angeles is seeking its first World Series title since 1988.

ROYALS 4, TIGERS 0: Brady Singer was stellar for a second straight start, allowing two hits in six innings, and Kansas City won at Detroit.

Singer pitched eight one-hit innings in his previous outing at Cleveland. The rookie right-hander struck out the first five Detroit hitters and retired the first 10.

Singer (3-4) struck out eight with one walk. Salvador Perez homered and drove in three runs for the Royals, who have won 7 of 8.

REDS 1, PIRATES 0: Luis Castillo pitched a masterful seven innings, Shogo Akiyama drove in the game’s only run, and the host Reds extended their winning streak to a season-high five games .

Castillo (3-5), coming off his first career complete game in a 3-1 win at St. Louis on Friday, retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced and gave up only three hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts,.

YANKEES 13, BLUE JAYS 2: Kyle Higashioka hit a career-high three home runs, DJ LeMahieu connected twice and host New York hit a season-best seven homers in another Bronx air show.

Luke Voit lofted a three-run drive for his major league-leading 19th homer and Clint Frazier added a solo shot as the Yankees won their seventh straight game following a 5-15 slide. New York moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Toronto for second place in the AL East, with the top two teams ensured spots in the expanded postseason that begins in less than two weeks.

LeMahieu, Voit and Frazier also connected Tuesday – Voit homered twice – when New York hit six home runs and pummeled Toronto 20-6. It’s the first time the Yankees have hit six homers in consecutive games.

Gerrit Cole (6-3) had another overpowering start for New York, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth. The right-hander completed seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out eight and walking two.

Aaron Judge was activated from the injured list but wasn’t much help, going hitless with three strikeouts. The two-time All-Star had been out since Aug. 26 after re-aggravating a strained right calf.

METS 5, PHILLIES 4: Jacob deGrom exited early from a rare rough outing because of a right hamstring spasm, but visiting New York overcame a four-run deficit and rallied past Philadelphia.

Phillies reliever Hector Neris (2-2) dropped the ball on the mound for a balk that moved the go-ahead run to second base in the ninth inning. Mets rookie Andres Gimenez hit an RBI single to put New York ahead.

The 32-year-old deGrom (4-2) had a surprisingly difficult two innings that pointed toward an apparent injury and could derail his bid for a third straight NL Cy Young Award. He allowed three earned runs in a start for the first time this season, pushing his ERA back over 2.00 at 2.09. The right-hander, who struck out 12 Phillies on Sept. 6, was pulled after only 40 pitches and one strikeout.

ORIOLES 5, BRAVES 1: Cole Hamels finally got on the mound in an Atlanta uniform, allowing three runs before reaching his predetermined pitch count in the fourth inning,  in losing at Baltimore.

Rookie Keegan Akin struck out nine over five scoreless innings to earn his first big league victory and help the Orioles win the deciding matchup of a three-game set against the NL East leaders.

ATHLETICS 3, ROCKIES 1: Mike Fiers threw six sharp innings before turning it over to a lights-out bullpen and visiting Oakland snapped a six-game skid against Colorado.

Next up, a well-earned day off for the Athletics, who have played 16 games in 13 days. They finished the stretch 9-7.

Fiers (6-2) may not throw hard – his fastball routinely hits the upper 80s – but he limited Colorado to a run by mixing in an effective slider and change-up. The Rockies were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against the 35-year-old Fiers.

The bullpen with the best ERA in baseball took it from there. Jake Diekman struck out three over 1 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 1/3 innings this season. Liam Hendriks got the final five outs to pick up his 13th save in 14 chances.

Tony Kemp made an acrobatic move to score the game’s first run. Caught in a rundown heading for home, he somehow swerved around the tag of first baseman Josh Fuentes – who was covering the plate – and touched home with his left hand as he tumbled to the dirt.

Jake Lamb had two hits, including an RBI single as part of a two-run sixth that gave the Athletics a 3-1 lead. Lamb is 5 for 11 since agreeing to terms with Oakland on Sept. 14 after being released by Arizona. He was 5 for 43 with the Diamondbacks this season.

NATIONALS 4, RAYS 2: Rookie Luis Garcia hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning and visiting Washington beat AL East-leading Tampa Bay.

With Carter Kieboom on second base to start extra innings, the 20-year-old Garcia hit a leadoff drive on the first pitch from Nick Anderson (1-1).

Brandon Lowe got the Rays even at 2 when he hit a solo homer off Daniel Hudson (2-2) on a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth.

CARDINALS-BREWERS SPLIT: Brent Suter and three relievers combined on a two-hitter, Ryan Braun hit his 350th career homer and host Milwaukee beat St. Louis 6-0 to split a doubleheader.

The Cardinals took the opener 4-2 behind Adam Wainwright’s four-hitter.

NOTES

ROCKIES: The Colorado Rockies have shut down starter Jon Gray for the season due to a sore right shoulder.

The 28-year-old last pitched Sept. 1 before going on the injured list with what was described as inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Gray finished the season 2-4 with a 6.69 ERA. He threw 39 innings with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks.

VIRUS: A Major League Baseball umpire tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting a late shift in crew assignments in Florida this week, several people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The affected umpire, who wasn’t identified, was not on the field when the result was learned.

MLB medical experts didn’t believe the positive test represented a threat of infection or presented a risk to other personnel, according to those familiar with the matter. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.

The Washington-Tampa Bay game at Tropicana Field began Tuesday night with only three umpires. Fill-in Clint Vondrak came on the field in the fourth inning.

Meanwhile, veteran ump Andy Fletcher, who had been scheduled to work at Tampa Bay, instead traveled to Miami and joined three young umpires as the crew chief for the Boston-Marlins game.


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