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Angels outfielder Puello has career-changing game against Orioles

Angels outfielder Puello has career-changing game against Orioles

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- He could have quit. Most guys probably would have. Cesar Puello was in his 10th minor league season, still waiting for his first call to the majors, when he was released by Texas' Triple-A team in June.

Only the Los Angeles Angels gave him a call and the outfielder did not hesitate. He was back at Triple-A, this time with Salt Lake.

On a warm Wednesday afternoon, his unlikely dream came true.

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Called up in the morning, Puello started for the Angels and drove in the go-ahead run in their 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

"I'm so happy for him," Angels right-hander Troy Scribner said. "He works his butt off. I played with him quite a bit in Salt Lake and he's just one of those guys who would literally run through a wall for you.

"He's one of my favorite guys."

Scribner (2-0) benefitted from Puello's debut in his second start for the Angels. He held the Orioles to a solo homer by Wellington Castillo in his five innings.

"He kept those guys off-balance and got it to a point in the game where we could turn it over to our bullpen," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He did a great job. He had good stuff out there, moved it around, changed speeds. He did what he's good at doing."

The Orioles had won eight of their last 10 after winning the series opener against the Angels, but they dropped the last two, scoring a combined three runs.

"Every team does (struggle) when a team pitches well," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'll tip my hat to them. We had four hits today. They pitched well. They pitched well the most part for the whole series."

The Angels led 2-1 after Puello's single up the middle off right-hander Kevin Gausman's glove in the fourth. Puello then stole two bases.

C.J. Cron added a two-run homer in the sixth and Zach Britton walked in a run in the eighth.

Gausman (8-8) went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, eight hits and two walks.

"He was real good," Showalter said. "He made one mistake trying to go up and in off the plate to Cron."

Relievers Yusmeiro Petit, Keynan Middleton and Blake Parker held the Orioles scoreless over the final four innings.

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

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Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

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NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0