Phillies, Velasquez stumble again in loss

New York Mets' Amed Rosario slides into second base with a double as Philadelphia Phillies shorttstop Asdrubal Cabrera applies the late tag during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

NEW YORK — Even after Jacob deGrom was scratched on a rainy afternoon, the Phillies stumbled again when Vince Velasquez wasted a two-run lead in a 6-4 loss to the New York Mets that was as dismal for Philadelphia as Sunday’s weather.

Philadelphia led the NL East before play Aug. 12 but has faded by losing seven straight series and dropping 17 of its last 26 games. The Phillies started the day 3½ games behind first-place Atlanta and also trailed by the same margin for the second wild card with three weeks left.

Michael Conforto hit a three-run homer in a four-run fifth inning, tied a career best with four RBIs and made a fine catch. Rookie Jeff McNeil had his second straight three-hit game and fifth overall, raising his average to .340 as the Mets took two of three in the weekend series.

Mets manager Mickey Callaway decided not to pitch the big league ERA leader in a steady rain and switched to rookie Corey Oswalt during a 27-minute rain delay before the start.

Rhys Hoskins provided a first-inning lead when he homered for the third straight game and reached 30 for the first time.

Velasquez (9-11) gave up Amed Rosario’s eighth triple of the season leading off the bottom half, and Conforto followed with a run-scoring infield single — ending Velasquez’s streak of 14 consecutive scoreless first innings.

Cardinals 5, Tigers 2

The Cardinals wound up scoring five times in the inning and avoided a series sweep with a 5-2 victory. St. Louis has a one-game lead for the second NL wild card spot.

During the 2011 NL Division Series, a squirrel cut across the diamond at Busch Stadium, running right past home plate during a game against Philadelphia. The Cards went on to win the playoff series and later the championship — their World Series rings even depicted a squirrel.

The Cardinals John Gant (7-5) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six. Carlos Martinez pitched the ninth for his second save.

ATHLETICS 7, RANGERS 2

OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Piscotty homered and Oakland rallied from an early three-run deficit for its fourth straight win and sixth in seven games.

Matt Olson had two hits including a double for the A’s, who are 30 games over .500 (87-57) for the first time since closing out 2013 at 96-66. They’ve won nine of their last 10 against the Rangers.

Piscotty’s homer in the seventh inning was his career-high 23rd, surpassing his 2016 total with St. Louis.

BLUE JAYS 6, INDIANS 2

TORONTO –Right fielder Randal Grichuk was injured in a bizarre collision with a security guard’s chair, and replacement Teoscar Hernandez hit a three-run homer to lead Toronto.

The Indians began the day with a magic number of five to lock up their third straight AL Central title.

Grichuk was being checked for a possible concussion after slamming face-first into the guard’s chair while chasing Brandon Guyer’s foul fly in the fourth inning.

RAYS 8, ORIOLES 3

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Brandon Lowe hit a three-run homer in a five-run first inning and Tampa Bay tied a team record with its 11th consecutive home win.

Tampa Bay also won 11 in a row at Tropicana Field during the 2008 AL pennant-winning season. The Rays have won 16 of 19 overall, and outscored the Orioles 32-10 in a three-game sweep.

After the Orioles failed to score despite drawing three walks from Ryne Stanek in the top of the first, the Rays took control in their half on C.J. Cron’s RBI double, an RBI single by Willy Adames and Lowe’s three-run shot off Josh Rogers (1-2).

ANGELS 1, WHITE SOX 0

CHICAGO — Andrew Heaney tossed three-hit ball over seven innings and struck out a career-high 12, lifting Los Angeles to the three-game sweep.

Kole Calhoun drove in the only run with a seventh-inning single. Mike Trout went 2 for 4 and finished the series 8 for 11 with two homers and five RBIs for the Angels.

BREWERS 6, GIANTS 3

MILWAUKEE — Jonathan Schoop hit a grand slam after Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch in a tense sixth inning, and Milwaukee completed a series sweep and preserved its lead in the NL wild-card race.

Madison Bumgarner hit Braun with his third of three consecutive pitches inside to load the bases with two outs. Brewers players came a couple of steps out of the dugout, and manager Craig Counsell was ejected by plate umpire Tom Hallion.

Schoop, who had struck out in his first-two at-bats, then drove a 2-1 pitch from Bumgarner (5-6) over the wall in left to make it 5-2. It was Schoop’s fourth homer since being acquired from Baltimore on July 31.

TWINS 3, ROYALS 1

MINNEAPOLIS — Willians Astudillo hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning that lifted Minnesota.

Max Kepler doubled off Jason Hammel (2-13) with two outs in the Twins ninth. Astudillo then hit a drive deep to left field for his third home run of the season.

Trevor Hildenberger (4-3) got two outs to pick up the win.

DODGERS 9, ROCKIES 6

DENVER — Justin Turner hit a two-run homer and finished with four hits as Los Angeles closer to the first-place Colorado in the NL West.

The Dodgers captured two of three from the Rockies in a pivotal series and moved within a half-game for the division lead. Colorado has never won the NL West crown.

Enrique Hernandez homered and Chris Taylor added a two-run double as the Dodgers pounded out 14 hits.

BRAVES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 5

PHOENIX — Ender Inciarte hit a three-run homer during a six-run rally in the ninth inning and Atlanta increased its NL East lead to 4 ½ games.

The Braves took advantage of a loss by Philadelphia and matched their biggest division edge of the season. Atlanta took three of four in the series.

The Diamondbacks have lost seven of nine. They stayed 2 ½ games behind NL West-leading Colorado.

MARINERS 3, YANKEES 2

SEATTLE — Mitch Haniger dashed home to score the go-ahead run on a grounder in the eighth inning, then made a diving catch for the final out that gave Seattle thee win.

The Yankees’ lead atop the AL wild-card race was cut to 2 1/2 games over Oakland.

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