Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena celebrates with first-base coach Ozzie Timmons after a double in the third inning Wednesday at St. Petersburg, Fla. Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kevin Kiermaier was hit by a pitch, apparent retribution for scooping up a Toronto scouting report two days earlier, and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched a postseason berth with a 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Reliever Ryan Borucki hit Kiermaier on the back with his first pitch of the eighth inning, when the Rays led 7-1.

Borucki was ejected after the umpires met, which prompted Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo and enraged pitching coach Pete Walker to storm out of the dugout to argue as played spilled onto the field. Walker also was tossed and there were no incidents between the players.

On Monday, Kiermaier picked up a scouting card that fell off the wristband of Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk during a play at the plate and refused to give it back. Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Cash apologized to the Blue Jays’ organization Tuesday and Montoyo said the matter was “agua under the bridge.”

Austin Meadows hit a three-run homer during a six-run third inning for the AL East-leading Rays (94-59). The postseason berth is the third in a row and seventh since 2008 for the defending AL champions, who lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games last year.

The Blue Jays lost 2 of 3 to Tampa Bay and are 16-5 in September.

Six Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a four-hitter. JT Chargois (6-1) struck out two during a hitless fourth.

YANKEES 7, RANGERS 3: Gleyber Torres doubled home Joey Gallo for the tie-breaking run in the eighth inning, Gary Sanchez followed with a two-run homer and host New York rallied past Texas for a three-game sweep heading into a divisional gauntlet that will decide its postseason fate.

New York made two errors, allowed two stolen bases, had a baserunner sprint through a stop sign but score easily and another thrown out at home plate.
Hardly textbook, but enough against the last-place Rangers. It’s about to get significantly tougher.

The Yankees’ wild-card chase takes them to Fenway Park for three games starting Friday night followed by three at at Toronto and a season-ending three-game homestand against Tampa Bay.

New York is half a game ahead of Toronto for the second and final AL wild card after the Blue Jays lost to Tampa Bay.

The Yankees won their third straight following a 7-15 slump. They scored four runs with two outs in the eighth inning.

NATIONALS 7, MARLINS 3: Juan Soto took over the NL batting lead, getting three hits and three RBI to help Washington win at Miami.

Soto singled, doubled and hit his 27th homer, raising his average to .321 and passing former teammate Trea Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who began the night at .318. Soto walked twice and with 130 tied Bryce Harper’s team season record, set in 2018.

PHILLIES 4, ORIOLES 3: Bryce Harper threw out the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run to give Philadelphia a win at home.

The Phillies took 2 of 3 against the 104-loss Orioles and now finish the seven-game homestand with four against the 94-loss Pirates.

TWINS 5, CUBS 4: Max Kepler homered twice, rookie Joe Ryan struck out a season-high 11, and Minnesota won at Chicago.

CARDINALS 10, BREWERS 2: Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill homered as visiting St. Louis won its 11th straight game, extending its lead for the second NL wild-card spot and beating division-leading Milwaukee.

Goldschmidt also doubled, singled and scored four runs to help St. Louis stretch its best winning streak since an 11-game string in 2001.


BLUE JAYS: Infielder Breyvic Valera was placed on the COVID-19 related IL and infielder Kevin Smith was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

The moves were made to allow for Valera to have contact tracing after a family member tested positive.

Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo said Valera has tested negative.

REDS: The Cincinnati Reds and Manager David Bell announced a two-year extension through of his contract through 2023.

Bell, 49, agreed in October 2018 to a three-year contract that included a team option for 2022. The Reds are 76-74 this season, third in the NL Central, and 184-190 under Bell.

Gus Bell, the manager’s grandfather, and Buddy Bell, the manager’s father, both played for the Reds.

DODGERS: The Los Angeles Dodgers activated outfielder AJ Pollock from the injured list a day earlier than they were anticipating in order to have another position player on the bench.

With outfielder Cody Bellinger going on the injured list and infielder/outfielder Chris Taylor dealing with a sore neck, the Dodgers elected to bring back Pollock on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies. He’s been sidelined since Sept. 5 with a strained right hamstring.

Pollock was expected to be available in a pinch-hit capacity Wednesday with plans to start in left field on Thursday.

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