Ellsbury Returns to Sox
After being given a gelding paint horse named Tobiano as a retirement present, Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, right, joins his daughter Tierney Faith, second from right, and his wife Christy and daughter Gentry Grace in looking over the horse before the Rockies played the Boston Red Sox in a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Helton, who will retire at season's end, was playing in his final home game for the Rockies. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver — Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the Boston Red Sox lineup Wednesday night after a 16-game absence because of a fractured right foot.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing Jacoby back on the field — probably no one more than Jacoby himself,” Boston manager John Farrell said of his center fielder before the game against Colorado. “He’s been chomping on the bit to get back on the field after the work that he’s done.”
Farrell said Ellsbury had been cleared by Dr. Thomas Clanton while the team was in Colorado. Clanton is an orthopedic surgeon at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Aspern.
Ellsbury is hitting .320 with a home run and eight stolen bases in his last 17 games.
Rays 8, Yankees 3
New York — The Yankees failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years, getting mathematically eliminated during a loss to Tampa Bay.
Slowed by age and hobbled by injury, the Yankees (82-76) were chased with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Cleveland Indians completed a win over the Chicago White Sox. Despite baseball’s highest opening-day payroll at $230 million, the Yankees failed to claim one of the 10 playoff berths.
Since starting the latest run of success in 1995, New York had missed the playoffs only in 2008 — when the team bid goodbye to old Yankee Stadium. This time, the Yankees are saying goodbye to Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who are retiring when the season ends Sunday.
Indians 7, White Sox 2
Cleveland — Rookie Danny Salazar gave Cleveland a much-needed quality start and Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer as the Indians tightened their grip one of the AL wild-card spots with their 14th straight win over Chicago in their home finale.
Salazar (2-3) struck out eight in 51∕3 innings for the Indians, who won their final six home games to stay with the wild-card leaders. They entered the night with a one-game lead over Texas in the wild-card chase. Cleveland is also one game behind Tampa Bay for the top spot with just four games left.
Swisher homered in the fifth inning off Dylan Axlerod (4-11) as the Indians finished the season 16-2 against Chicago.
Cleveland hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007, but the Indians are closing in on a berth under first-year manager Terry Francona, who guided Boston to two World Series titles.
Angels 3, Athletics 1
Anaheim, Calif. — Jered Weaver pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, Josh Hamilton drove in two runs, and Los Angeles did a bit more damage to the Athletics’ home-field playoff hopes.
Dan Straily (10-8) allowed seven hits while pitching into the seventh inning of his first loss since Aug. 17 for the A’s, who began the day trailing Boston by one game for the majors’ best record.
Orioles 9, Blue Jays 5
Baltimore — Ryan Flaherty hit a pair of two-run homers, Jonathan Schoop had a solo shot in his big league debut and the Orioles beat Toronto to snap a six-game skid and clinch their second straight winning season.
Steve Pearce also homered for Baltimore and Chris Davis doubled in a run to increase his RBI total to 137 — tied with Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead, pending Detroit’s late game in Minnesota.
Rangers 7, Astros 3
Arlington, Texas — Leonys Martin hit a three-run double, Ian Kinsler homered and the Rangers kept pace in the AL wild-card chase, beating Houston 7-3 Wednesday night and handing the Astros their team-record 108th loss of the season.
The Rangers remained a game behind Cleveland for the AL’s second wild-card spot — Tampa Bay is a game ahead of the Indians. Texas has four games left in the regular season, with the series opener at home against the Los Angeles Angels tonight.
Cubs 4, Pirates 2
Chicago — The Pirates’ hopes of catching up in the NL Central took a big hit when Darnell McDonald launched a three-run homer, leading Chicago.
With three games remaining in the regular season for each team, the Pirates trail division-leading St. Louis by three games.
The Pirates, who already have clinched a playoff spot, hold a one-game lead over Cincinnati for the first wild-card slot. Pittsburgh and the Reds finish up with a three-game set in Cincinnati this weekend.
Mets 1, Reds 0
Cincinnati — Daisuke Matsuzaka scattered four hits in 72∕3 shutout innings to win his third consecutive start, outdueling Cincinnati’s Mat Latos in the Mets’ victory over the Reds.
Eric Young Jr. drove in the only run for the Mets, who won two of three in the series to further dampen Cincinnati’s hopes of hosting the National League wild-card playoff game on Tuesday.
The Reds came into the game in third place in the Central Division and second in the wild-card standings, one game behind Pittsburgh. The Pirates and Reds end the regular season with a three-game series starting Friday in Cincinnati.
Cardinals 4, Nationals 1
St. Louis — Rookie Shelby Miller won his 15th game, and Yadier Molina had the go-ahead hit for the Cardinals, who wrapped up a three-game sweep of Washington and moved another step closer to the NL Central title.
Jordan Zimmermann (19-9) missed his only shot at 20 wins, allowing four runs in seven innings. The Nationals had five hits one day after breaking up rookie Michael Wacha’s bid for a no-hitter in the ninth inning.
Brewers 4, Braves 0
Atlanta — Kyle Lohse pitched a two-hitter and Brewers overcame Carlos Gomez’s ejection in the first inning to beat Atlanta.
After losing three of four, Atlanta has fallen three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s best winning percentage.
Marlins 3, Phillies 2
Miami — Adeiny Hechavarria drove in three runs, including a go-ahead run in the eighth inning, to help Miami over Philadelphia.