Blue Jays’ best 14 games of the season above .500 after series sweep

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PITTSBURGH – Teoscar Hernandez delivered the RBI single in the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez lined up a shot down the middle against Duane Underwood Jr. (1-5) with two outs to push Toronto ahead and the bullpen did the rest. The Blue Jays improved to a season-high 14 games above .500 to maintain their hold on the third and final wildcard spot in the American League.

Toronto begins a four-game series against Baltimore, which is chasing Toronto for a playoff spot, starting Monday at Camden Yards.

Hernandez and Christian Kirk had two hits apiece for Toronto, which won five of six and 12 of 17. Cavan Biggio hit his fifth home of the season and his second in five days for the Blue Jays.

Ross Stripling (7-4) allowed three runs on two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings. Blue Jays closest Jordan Romano picked up his 30th save.

Rookie shortstop Oneil Cruz hit his 12th home run for the Pirates, and Josh VanMeter added a two-run brace for Pittsburgh, but the Pirates didn’t do much else.

BALTIMORE — Seth Brown hit a pair of solo home runs, rookie Adrián Martínez pitched six three-hitter innings and Oakland blocked Baltimore’s playoff push.

The Orioles lost 2½ games behind Toronto in the race for third place in the American League.

Martínez (4-3) was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Aug. 28, for his fourth stint with Oakland this year. He finished with four strikeouts and two walks and struck out 10 consecutive batters.

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Sheldon Neuse single against Spenser Watkins (4-6).

NEW YORK — César Hernández hit his first homer in more than a year in Washington’s victory over New York.

Last-place Nationals have won two of three games in the series.

Luis García hit an RBI single in the first inning, then the Nationals scored four unearned runs against Carlos Carrasco (13-6) in the third after second baseman Jeff McNeil’s error led to two-run singles by Keibert Ruiz and Ildemaro Vargas.

Hernández’s drive was his first since August 26, 2021, over a span of 155 games. Entering Sunday, only Magneuris Sierra of the Los Angeles Angels (223 games) and Myles Straw of the Cleveland Guardians (157 games) had gone longer without a homer among active players.

Erick Fedde (6-9) allowed a run — McNeil’s second-inning sacrificed steal — in six innings and earned his first victory since June 21.

BOSTON — Trevor Story hit a three-run homer against the Green Monster, Xander Bogaerts had his eighth consecutive multi-hit game and Boston completed a four-game sweep against Texas.

The Red Sox are now on a five-game winning streak as they attempt to climb back into the AL wild card race. Rangers have lost eight games in a row.

Bogaerts had an RBI double and a single on his three hits. His streak is the longest for a Boston player since Kevin Youkilis tied the club record with nine in 2007.

Adolis García scored an RBI double for Texas, which lost for the 15th time in its last 18 games at Fenway Park and fell to a season-worst 17 games under .500.

Reliever Kaleb Ort (1-1) was credited with his first MLB win, and John Schreiber got the last three outs for his seventh save.

Rangers starter Dane Dunning (3-8) suffered the loss and is winless in his last 26 road starts, the longest active streak at the majors. His only career road win came on September 9, 2020 with the White Sox.

ROCKIES 8, RED 4, MATCH 1

CINCINNATI — Charlie Blackmon’s two-run single highlighted a four-run seventh for Colorado, and CJ Cron hit a two-run homer in the ninth to give the Rockies a win over Cincinnati in Game 1 of a dual program.

Rookie left-hander Nick Lodolo tied a career high with nine strikeouts, TJ Friedl hit two homers and Jonathan India hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati. Joe Kuhnel (2-3) took the loss.

Rockies starter German Marquez (8-10) allowed just one hit through the first five innings — Friedl’s solo homer to start the fourth. Friedl pulled away from Marquez again in the sixth for his first career multi-home run game.

The Reds came within one on India’s two-run homer against Carlos Esteves in the eighth. But Cron slammed the door with his 25th home run, a two-run shot on Art Warren.

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