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Two first inning home runs from Smith, Machado power O's past Red Sox

Two first inning home runs from Smith, Machado power O's past Red Sox

BALTIMORE -- Seth Smith and Manny Machado hit first-inning home runs off Rick Porcello to back a redemptive pitching performance by Alec Asher and help the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 Friday night.

Jonathan Schoop had two hits and scored a run for the Orioles, who have won four of five following a seven-game losing streak.

After hitting four home runs in the series opener Thursday, the Orioles used the long ball to take control against Porcello (3-7), the 2016 Cy Young Award winner. Smith drove a 3-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his third career leadoff homer, and Machado pulled a fastball into the second deck for a 2-0 lead.

Asher (2-3) retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced and ended up allowing two runs and three hits over 6 1-3 innings. It was his second start since replacing Ubaldo Jimenez in the Baltimore rotation; in his first try, Asher yielded six runs over two innings in loss to Houston on Sunday.

Brad Brach, the third Baltimore reliever, got three straight outs for his 11th save in 14 tries.

Pablo Sandoval homered for the Red Sox, now 4-7 against the Orioles after losing two straight in this four-game series between AL East foes.

Porcello gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander went 22-4 last year but this season has allowed at least eight hits in seven of 12 starts -- including each of the last five.

After Sandoval hit a solo shot in the third inning, Schoop singled and scored on a double by Hyun Soo Kim in the fourth.

The Red Sox chased Asher and closed to 3-2 in the seventh. Xander Bogaerts hit a leadoff double and Jackie Bradley delivered a two-out RBI single off Mychal Givens.

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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.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

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.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

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.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

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