Sat, 24 Oct 2020

Rays edge Phillies, clinch top spot in AL

Field Level Media
27 Sep 2020, 12:40 GMT+10

The top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays used a three-run fifth inning to win another close one Saturday night, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Just before the start of the second meeting, the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland A's 5-1 to give the Rays (39-20) the No. 1 overall seed in the expanded eight-team American League playoffs -- facing either Toronto or the New York Yankees.

The win improved the Rays' MLB-best record in one-run games to 14-5 -- 6-2 in September -- and marked their 20th comeback victory.

Catcher Mike Zunino led a balanced offense by going 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Yoshi Tsutsugo had a hit, run and three walks.

Making his 12th and final start of the season for the Phillies (28-31), Zack Wheeler (4-2) allowed a season-high four runs on seven hits with 8 strikeouts in seven-plus innings.

Andrew McCutchen had a big night for Philadelphia, going 4-for-5 with a homer -- just a triple shy of the cycle -- and scoring three times. Jean Segura had two hits.

The Phillies scored a run in the first against opener John Curtiss when Segura's infield single -- the third hit in the inning -- resulted in third baseman Tsutsugo bouncing the throw past first baseman Mike Brosseau for an error.

McCutchen hit a ground-rule double to lead off the third, but centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier charged J.T. Realmuto's two-out single, fired a strike home and easily tossed out McCutchen for the final out to keep it 1-0.

Tsutsugo lashed an opposite-field single to left to score Brandon Lowe with two outs and tie it 1-1 in the fourth, but after reliever Ryan Yarbrough left after 3 1/3 scoreless innings of work, McCutchen launched his 10th homer deep to left off Pete Fairbanks (6-3) to regain the one-run lead in the fifth.

Zunino evened it 2-2 in the bottom of the frame with a gritty at-bat against the hard-throwing Wheeler, reaching out and pulling a slider into left to score Manuel Margot, who had doubled. Lowe shot a single to left two batters later, and Willy Adames' RBI single made it 4-2.

Bryce Harper's RBI single cut it to 4-3 against reliever Aaron Slegers in the seventh, but the reliever stranded the tying run on third by fanning Segura.

Slegers -- the Rays' fifth pitcher -- worked three innings to earn his second save.

--Field Level Media

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