ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Troy Tulowitzki doubled and singled in his return to the Toronto lineup after missing three weeks with injuries, and the AL East champion Blue Jays rallied past the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 Friday night.
Tulowitzki went 2 for 5 and scored a run.
Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin homered for the Blue Jays, who started the day tied with Kansas City in the race for the AL’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Mark Buehrle (15-7) gave up four runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He is two innings away from reaching 200 for the 15th consecutive season.
Tampa Bay starter Erasmo Ramirez allowed four runs and 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings. Enny Romero (0-2) took the loss.
ANGELS 2, RANGERS 1
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Mike Trout hit a leadoff triple in the ninth inning and scored on Albert Pujols’ tiebreaking single, helping wild card-contending Los Angeles keep Texas from clinching the AL West title.
Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson (6-4) appeared in his fourth consecutive game. Trout hit the second pitch deep into the right-center gap, then slid headfirst into third base before emphatically pumping his right arm toward his teammates in the dugout.
Pujols followed with a soft single to left field on the next pitch.
Texas went into Friday already assured a playoff spot, but able to secure the division title with a win over the Angels or a loss by second-place Houston.
ROYALS 3, TWINS 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Ben Zobrist put a major dent in Minnesota’s postseason bid with an RBI double in the eighth inning against struggling All-Star Glen Perkins, and Kansas City topped the Twins.
Perkins, hampered by neck and back trouble that led to him losing the closer role, spoiled a stellar start by Ervin Santana (7-5) with a first-pitch fastball that Zobrist drove off the wall in right-center field. Zobrist then scored when right fielder Torii Hunter fumbled a single by Mike Moustakas.
The Twins entered the night trailing Houston by one game and tied with Los Angeles in the AL wild-card race.
Chris Young gave the defending AL champion Royals another reason to consider him for the postseason rotation, giving up four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Louis Coleman (1-0), Ryan Madson and Wade Davis wrapped up the win, with Davis notching his 16th save in 17 attempts.
ASTROS 21, DIAMONDBACKS 5
PHOENIX (AP) – Dallas Keuchel became the AL’s first 20-game winner and the Houston Astros backed him with the highest-scoring game in team history, moving closer to a playoff berth by routing Arizona.
The Astros have won five of six and held their one-game edge over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card spot. Houston trails West leader Texas by two games with two to play.
Keuchel (20-8) gave up two runs on six hits in six innings, becoming the Astros’ first 20-game winner since Roy Oswalt went 20-12 in 2005.
Carlos Correa hit a solo homer and bases-loaded triple. George Springer, Colby Rasmus and Luis Valbuena homered as Houston surpassed its previous high of 19 runs set twice, most recently against Pittsburgh in 1999.
Ruby De La Rosa (14-9) lasted three innings.
CUBS 6, BREWERS 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Jake Arrieta struck out seven in six strong innings, and Chicago tried to keep up with Pittsburgh in the race to host the NL wild card game.
Anthony Rizzo had two hits and three RBIs, including a solo homer into the Cubs’ bullpen in right in the fourth off Ariel Pena (2-1).
Arrieta (22-6) allowed two singles in his final tuneup before the postseason. His ERA dropped to 1.77.
His next start will likely come against Pittsburgh in the NL wild card game. Entering Friday, the Pirates held a two-game lead on the Cubs in the race to host the game with three games left in the regular season.
The Pirates were tied with the Reds in extra innings when the Cubs game ended.
INDIANS 6, RED SOX 2
CLEVELAND (AP) – Josh Tomlin pitched into the seventh inning and Carlos Santana drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double, leading Cleveland over Boston.
Tomlin (7-2) made one mistake – a two-run homer by David Ortiz in the fourth – in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out five and allowed five hits.
Santana’s double off Henry Owens (4-4) highlighted a four-run third inning. Chris Johnson added an RBI single, giving Cleveland a 4-0 lead.
Jerry Sands, who hit a solo homer in the seventh, had an RBI double in the fifth when Cleveland scored three times.
WHITE SOX 2, TIGERS 1
CHICAGO (AP) – Chris Sale allowed one run over seven-plus innings and set a White Sox season strikeout record.
By getting James McCann looking at a 3-2 breaking ball for the first out of the second inning, Sale struck out his 270th batter of the season. He began the game with 267 strikeouts and broke the mark set by Hall of Famer Ed Walsh in 1908 when he struck out 269 batters.
Sale’s record came on an eventful day for the White Sox. Earlier Friday, general manager Rick Hahn said he expected manager Robin Ventura to return, and also announced the team would not be retaining bench coach Mark Parent after the end of a disappointing season.
Sale allowed Jefry Marte’s second-inning homer while giving up five hits and striking out seven to end his season with 274. Entering play Friday, Sale led the American League in strikeouts and was second in the majors behind only Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (294).
BRAVES 4, CARDINALS 0
ATLANTA (AP) – Julio Teheran pitched six strong innings, Daniel Castro drove in two runs and Atlanta beat St. Louis.
The Cardinals, who open the postseason at home next Friday, were coming off a three-game series win at Pittsburgh that secured their third straight division title.
Teheran (11-8) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out six. The right-hander closed his regular season by going 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last six starts.
The Cardinals had the bases loaded with no out in the fifth but came up empty when pinch-hitter John Jay grounded into a double play and Tommy Pham struck out.
Jaime Garcia (10-6) gave up six hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts in his last start of the regular season.
PIRATES 6, REDS 4, 12 innings
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Starling Marte’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning gave the Pittsburgh the win and extending Cincinnati’s losing streak to 13 games.
The Pirates (97-63) maintained a two-game lead over the Chicago Cubs for home-field advantage Wednesday night in the NL wild-card game. Pittsburgh can ensure the game is at PNC Park with a win in either of its two remaining games or one Cubs loss in Milwaukee.
Andrew McCutchen had three hits for the Pirates, including a home run.
Gregory Polanco drew a one-out walk from Colin Balester (1-1) in the 12th. Marte hit the next pitch into the right-field stands for his 19th home run of the season and third career walk-off shot. He also hit a game-ending homer Aug. 22 against San Francisco.
DODGERS 6, PADRES 2
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Corey Seager’s two-run single highlighted a five-run third inning and Los Angeles beat San Diego to take a half-game lead over the Mets for home-field advantage in their upcoming playoff series.
The Dodgers improved to 90-70 – their third straight season with as many wins – after the Mets (89-70) got rained out earlier. New York, however, holds the tiebreaker because it won the season series. The teams will meet in the NL Division Series starting next Friday.
Dodgers starter Alex Wood (12-12) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one.
Casey Kelly (0-2) gave up six runs – three earned – and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings in his second start of the season after missing most of the last two years while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander struck out three and walked two.
ATHLETICS 4, MARINERS 2
SEATTLE (AP) – Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, lifting Oakland past Seattle.
Josh Reddick opened the eighth with a single off reliever Danny Farquhar (1-8). Valencia, who had three hits, followed with his career-high 17th homer deep into the left-center field bleachers.
Aaron Brooks (3-4), who gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings, earned the victory. Sean Doolittle finished for his fifth save in six opportunities.
Hisashi Iwakuma pitched seven innings for the Mariners in a no-decision. He allowed one earned run and nine hits, striking out eight and walking none.
ROCKIES 9, GIANTS 3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Nolan Arenado hit his NL-leading 42nd home run and broke the major league record for extra-base hits in a season by a third baseman as Colorado ended a three-game losing streak.
Corey Dickerson added his third homer in eight games for the Rockies. Carlos Gonzalez had an RBI single and winning pitcher Kyle Kendrick walked and scored as part of a five-run third inning when Colorado broke the game open.
Arenado homered off starter Chris Heston leading off the fourth, then added a two-run double in the third. That gave the Rockies slugger 88 extra-base hits, breaking Chipper Jones’ single-season record set in 1999.
Kendrick (7-13) benefited from Arenado’s big night to win for the third time since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1.