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Voit's two HRs deny Red Sox chance to clinch

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- This is a different Yankees team than the fatigued group that rolled their bags out of Fenway Park following a fourth straight loss in early August, as the Red Sox have learned through the first 18 innings of their visit. Moving closer to full strength with some fresh faces mixed in, these division rivals would almost certainly make for a compelling postseason series.

Luke Voit homered twice as part of a career-high four-hit performance, supporting Luis Severino's sterling seven-inning outing. The Yankees kept the beer and bubbly shelved in the visiting clubhouse for a second consecutive evening, preventing the Red Sox from celebrating the American League East with a 10-1 rout on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

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NEW YORK -- This is a different Yankees team than the fatigued group that rolled their bags out of Fenway Park following a fourth straight loss in early August, as the Red Sox have learned through the first 18 innings of their visit. Moving closer to full strength with some fresh faces mixed in, these division rivals would almost certainly make for a compelling postseason series.

Luke Voit homered twice as part of a career-high four-hit performance, supporting Luis Severino's sterling seven-inning outing. The Yankees kept the beer and bubbly shelved in the visiting clubhouse for a second consecutive evening, preventing the Red Sox from celebrating the American League East with a 10-1 rout on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

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"We don't want them to clinch here," Voit said. "They're our rival and we're going to try to do everything we can. We've been cold as a team and we haven't been our New York Yankees. It's huge to get [Aaron] Judge and Didi [Gregorius] back healthy, and Gary [Sanchez] and [Aroldis] Chapman. It's scary how good this team is going to be. We're looking to do some damage in the playoffs."

Miguel Andujar hit his 25th homer as the Yankees battered familiar opponent David Price and Severino bounced back from an inconsistent second half to compile one of his best starts in weeks. Severino snapped a three-start winless streak, capping his six-hit, six-strikeout effort with a curveball that froze Mookie Betts for a called third strike.

Video: BOS@NYY: Andujar opens scoring with a solo HR in 2nd

"Every time we face the Red Sox, it's a huge series, huge game," Severino said. "I think facing a team like this brings out the best in everybody. My mindset today was to go over there and go after everybody. My last start before this wasn't that bad. I was feeling good, too, so I know I'm getting on track again."

Boston's only run off Severino came on Sandy Leon's fifth-inning single. With the Yankees eyeing a potential American League Wild Card Game, Severino could be bypassed in favor of Masahiro Tanaka or J.A. Happ, both of whom have pitched more consistently of late. But manager Aaron Boone said that the Yanks will need all three to pitch well if they intend to be the last team standing.

Video: BOS@NYY: Severino K's 6 over 7 frames for 18th win

Price has lost all six of his starts at Yankee Stadium since joining the Red Sox, thumped for six runs (four earned) and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Andujar opened the scoring with a second-inning homer and third baseman Eduardo Nunez muffed an Aaron Judge grounder that chased home another two runs.

Video: BOS@NYY: Sanchez, Voit score on Nunez's error in 2nd

The barrel-chested Voit cleared the right-field wall with an opposite-field shot in the fourth, then went deep again to the same area in the sixth for a two-run blast, charging around the basepaths with his top jersey button undone as Price was dispatched to the showers. Price has allowed 33 runs in 30 1/3 innings (9.79 ERA) when pitching for Boston in the Bronx.

Voit bench presses 135 pounds with one arm

"We wanted to take it to these guys," Voit said. "Obviously probably down the line in the playoffs we're going to face them again. We want to get hot at the right time going into those games and it's nice to have a big night. We have to get this offense rolling. It's been dragging the last couple of weeks. That was a big game for us."

Chapman reinstated from disabled list

Video: BOS@NYY: Hicks plates 2 with a triple in the 6th

Aaron Hicks added a two-run triple off Joe Kelly, part of a three-RBI performance. Justus Sheffield, the Yankees' top-rated prospect according to MLB Pipeline, recorded the final three outs in his Major League debut. Sheffield loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before getting Mookie Betts to ground into a game-ending double play.

Video: BOS@NYY: Sheffield gets game-ending DP in MLB debut

"I was trying to breathe as much as I could, trying to settle down," Sheffield said. "Didi was out there and telling me to slow down and breathe. That's what I just kept doing. I knew that sooner or later if I kept doing that, I was going to make the right pitch."

Judge photobombs pregame dugout report

SOUND SMART
Voit's second homer gave the Yankees a Major League-leading 245 blasts for the season, equaling a franchise record set by the 2012 squad. With nine homers since joining the Yanks, Voit is one deep drive shy of becoming the 12th player on the roster with a double-digit home run total, which would set a Major League record.

Video: BOS@NYY: Voit belts 2nd HR for Yanks' 245th of 2018

"We have gotten it from a lot of different people," Boone said. "Obviously we've needed that. With Miggy kind of kicking in the door and taking that job early in the season and running with it, the role he's played. And then Voit; if you would've said a couple months ago that he'd be playing this kind of role and hitting for this kind of power with us, I don't think anyone saw it coming."

HE SAID IT
"My legs felt like Jell-O. The first thing I was thinking is, 'Don't trip on the mound. Just don't trip.'" -- Sheffield

Video: BOS@NYY: Sheffield learns of callup, makes MLB debut

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
After Voit had rounded the bases for his sixth-inning home run, the umpires called for a review to see if a fan in the front row had interfered with the ball. The call on the field was confirmed, with the flight of the ball appearing to carry into the seating area. Neither of Voit's home runs were Statcast™ darlings -- the second came off his bat at 94.1 mph and traveled 343 feet -- but he and the Yankees certainly aren't complaining.

Video: BOS@NYY: Voit rips 2nd HR as call confirmed in 6th

"Tonight it was a little windier, so you didn't know," Voit said. "I thought I got that last one more than I did and it barely went out. Luckily it went over. You watch every guy hit a ball to right field, they're always looking at the outfielder and judging it. There's definitely cheap home runs, but you've got to take advantage of it."

UP NEXT
The Yankees will try to prevent the Red Sox from celebrating the American League East title for a third consecutive evening on Thursday as the rivals meet at 7:05 p.m. ET in an MLB Network Showcase Game. Tanaka (12-5, 3.47 ERA) will start for New York, having allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of his past 11 starts, posting a 2.15 ERA over that span. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 3.53 ERA) has the ball for Boston.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar, Luis Severino, Luke Voit

Kipnis' 1,000th hit is walk-off slam for Tribe

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis strolled up the first-base line, admiring his shot to the right-field seats as the Progressive Field crowd roared. In the on-deck circle, Francisco Lindor threw his bat high into the air, kicked his legs in celebration and ran onto the field like a little kid.

For most of Wednesday night, the Tribe's offense was silent. Kipnis put an end to that with a walk-off grand slam off Ian Hamilton, powering the Indians to a 4-1 victory over the White Sox. It marked the fifth walk-off win of the year for the American League Central champions.

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CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis strolled up the first-base line, admiring his shot to the right-field seats as the Progressive Field crowd roared. In the on-deck circle, Francisco Lindor threw his bat high into the air, kicked his legs in celebration and ran onto the field like a little kid.

For most of Wednesday night, the Tribe's offense was silent. Kipnis put an end to that with a walk-off grand slam off Ian Hamilton, powering the Indians to a 4-1 victory over the White Sox. It marked the fifth walk-off win of the year for the American League Central champions.

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The slam was the 1,000th career hit for Kipnis, whose first hit in an Indians uniform back in 2011 was a walk-off single.

That blast helped starter Carlos Carrasco avoid what would've been a hard-luck loss.

Video: CWS@CLE: Carrasco K's Anderson for his 11th strikeout

Over 6 2/3 innings, Carrasco scattered four hits and walked one. His 11 strikeouts gave him a Major League-leading 105 punchouts in the second half, during which Carrasco has spun a 2.36 ERA with a 7.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 80 innings. Dating to June 6, Carrasco has a 2.53 ERA with 144 strikeouts vs. 18 walks in 106 2/3 innings (18 games).

Carrasco's lone lapse was a solo shot surrendered to Daniel Palka in the sixth.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Miller time: Relief ace Andrew Miller, who came off the disabled list on Sept. 10, passed another test on Wednesday. When Miller entered in the seventh inning, it marked the first time he worked in consecutive games since May 22-23. Miller took over for Carrasco with two outs and worked around a single to escape a five-pitch appearance unscathed.

Video: CWS@CLE: Donaldson makes sliding stop on his backhand

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Playing in back-to-back games for the first time since coming off the DL, Josh Donaldson made a pair of impressive defensive plays at third. Donaldson made a sliding back-handed grab on a grounder from Ryan Cordell in the third inning, finishing the play with a strong throw across the diamond. Cordell was robbed again in the seventh, when Donaldson lunged to his right to snare another grounder before again firing to first for a highlight-reel out.

Video: CWS@CLE: Donaldson lays out for stellar play at 3rd

SOUND SMART
This was the 15th game in Carrasco's career that featured at least 10 strikeouts and no more than one walk. That is the second-most such outings in club history, trailing only Corey Kluber (32). Carrasco's 15 are tied for 41st in MLB history with Dwight Gooden.

Video: CWS@CLE: Carrasco fans Garcia to strike out the side

UP NEXT
Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin (1-5, 6.59 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale against the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday at Progressive Field. Tomlin has a 4.22 ERA in six appearances since coming off the disabled list. Chicago will counter with righty James Shields (7-16, 4.53 ERA).

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Kipnis

Aguilar-led Crew gains on Cubs, pads WC lead

Gonzalez throws 6 innings of 2-hit ball; Pina hits 3-run HR after long AB
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Jesus Aguilar had been hunting 100 RBIs for a while, and he got there with some small ball. Then he found his power stroke, too.

Aguilar's infield single in the first inning made him the 19th Brewers player to reach triple-digit RBIs in a season, and his three-run homer in the third sent Milwaukee cruising toward a 7-0 win over the Reds at Miller Park.

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MILWAUKEE -- Jesus Aguilar had been hunting 100 RBIs for a while, and he got there with some small ball. Then he found his power stroke, too.

Aguilar's infield single in the first inning made him the 19th Brewers player to reach triple-digit RBIs in a season, and his three-run homer in the third sent Milwaukee cruising toward a 7-0 win over the Reds at Miller Park.

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Gio Gonzalez pitched six scoreless innings and Manny Pina added a three-run homer at the end of an epic 13-pitch at-bat for a series win to cap the Brewers' penultimate homestand. They grew their lead atop the National League Wild Card standings to three games over the Cardinals, and with the Cubs loss, they gained a game and trail by 2 1/2 games in the NL Central.

Video: CIN@MIL: Pina cranks a 3-run homer on the 13th pitch

The early lead was a 33rd birthday present for Gonzalez, who scattered two hits and two walks in Milwaukee's first six-inning start in two weeks. Corey Knebel, Junior Guerra and Freddy Peralta finished the Brewers' fifth shutout victory over the Reds -- the first time Cincinnati had been blanked that many times in a season by a single opponent since 1960 against the Pirates, and the first time the Brewers had shut out an opponent that many times since 1971 against the Angels.

The 28-year-old Aguilar, a waiver claim from Cleveland just before the start of 2017 Spring Training who played most of his first Brewers season off the bench, slugged his way into everyday duty by mid-May and leads Milwaukee with 33 home runs and 103 RBIs. Along the way, he hit 24 homers with 70 RBIs before the All-Star break, making the National League roster for the Midsummer Classic via the Final Vote and swinging for the fences at Nationals Park in the All-Star Home Run Derby.

Video: CIN@MIL: Aguilar plates Yelich with an infield single

Aguilar's second half, however, has not been as productive, particularly in September as he navigated the longest season of his career. He entered Wednesday slashing .245/.288/.377 since the end of August with one home run -- a solo shot in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Pirates on Sunday.

Both of his run-scoring hits on Wednesday came against Cincinnati right-hander Matt Harvey, starting with a single over second base that scored Christian Yelich for a 1-0 lead. It gave the Brewers a 100-RBI player for the second straight season after a five-year drought. Travis Shaw drove in 101 runs in 2017.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar

D-backs shake up lineup, rout Cubs in 1-hitter

Walker, Owings, Mathis homer to back Ray's 8-K gem
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo knew what people would think when they saw his starting lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Cubs.

Mainstays Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, Eduardo Escobar, Steven Souza Jr. and A.J. Pollock were out. In their places were Christian Walker, Ildemaro Vargas, Patrick Kivlehan, Chris Owings and Jon Jay.

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PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo knew what people would think when they saw his starting lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Cubs.

Mainstays Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, Eduardo Escobar, Steven Souza Jr. and A.J. Pollock were out. In their places were Christian Walker, Ildemaro Vargas, Patrick Kivlehan, Chris Owings and Jon Jay.

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"I know when you look at the lineup today, you're probably thinking we're throwing in the towel and I want to get a look at guys," Lovullo said. "That's not the case at all."

Lovullo looked like a genius as the D-backs scored four runs in the first inning en route to a 9-0 win over the Cubs at Chase Field.

Video: CHC@ARI: Owings launches 2-run homer to extend lead

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Jeff Mathis, Chris Owings, Robbie Ray, Christian Walker

After 6-run 4th, Piscotty pads A's lead with HR

MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- The A's cobbled together a six-run fourth inning during Wednesday's matchup with the Angels as they sought to shrink their magic number. And Stephen Piscotty was the primary source of Oakland's offensive breakout.

The A's were hitless through three innings against Angels right-hander Felix Pena before jumping on him for four straight hits to begin an eventful fourth. Nick Martini and Matt Chapman led off with consecutive singles, and both scored on Jed Lowrie's ensuing double for a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Piscotty notched a two-run double of his own, and Ramon Laureano chipped in with an RBI single.

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OAKLAND -- The A's cobbled together a six-run fourth inning during Wednesday's matchup with the Angels as they sought to shrink their magic number. And Stephen Piscotty was the primary source of Oakland's offensive breakout.

The A's were hitless through three innings against Angels right-hander Felix Pena before jumping on him for four straight hits to begin an eventful fourth. Nick Martini and Matt Chapman led off with consecutive singles, and both scored on Jed Lowrie's ensuing double for a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Piscotty notched a two-run double of his own, and Ramon Laureano chipped in with an RBI single.

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Video: LAA@OAK: Piscotty smacks his 40th double, drives in 2

Jonathan Lucroy's sacrifice fly capped the inning, in which the A's sent 10 batters to the plate.

An inning after the big rally, Piscotty hit a three-run homer, his 25th long ball of the season, to push Oakland's lead to 9-0.

The A's entered the night with their magic number at seven.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

Oakland Athletics, Stephen Piscotty

Aaron Judge expertly photobombed a pregame dugout report

Aaron Judge just returned from a stint on the disabled list and made his first start back in right field on Friday. And, while he has not yet launched his first post-injury home run into the stands, it hasn't taken him long to fully reacquaint himself with the gameday routine at Yankee Stadium.

While YES reporter Meredith Marakovits gave her pregame report from the dugout prior to Wednesday's 10-1 win over the Red Sox, Judge lingered in the background and let the camera know that he's watching.

Mariners hit 3 HRs, blank Astros in rout

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

HOUSTON -- The Mariners went with an "opener" for the first time on Wednesday and the idea worked so well, they closed out their season series with a 9-0 victory over the Astros.

With James Paxton still sidelined following a bout of pneumonia, manager Scott Servais opted for a bullpen day, started with one scoreless inning from rookie reliever Matt Festa and followed by a parade of six relievers who held Houston to five hits in the combined shutout.

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HOUSTON -- The Mariners went with an "opener" for the first time on Wednesday and the idea worked so well, they closed out their season series with a 9-0 victory over the Astros.

With James Paxton still sidelined following a bout of pneumonia, manager Scott Servais opted for a bullpen day, started with one scoreless inning from rookie reliever Matt Festa and followed by a parade of six relievers who held Houston to five hits in the combined shutout.

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Seattle's offense opened up as well, as home runs by Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia led an 11-hit attack and the Mariners' highest-scoring output since a 14-10 loss at Boston on June 22.

The nine-run winning margin was the biggest of the season for a Seattle squad that has specialized in close wins and still has a run differential of minus-38 despite being 16 games over .500.

The Mariners have seen their playoff hopes fade in a disappointing second half, but they proved plenty competitive against the defending World Series champion Astros, winning the season series, 10-9, after going 20-37 against Houston over the previous three years.

The Mariners are 5-2 on their 10-game road trip and head to Texas 84-68 overall with 10 games remaining, though their Wild Card elimination number (any combination of Oakland wins or Seattle losses) is down to five, with the A's still playing on Wednesday night against the Angels.

Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs to lift his average to .290, while Haniger continued his excellent run in the leadoff spot with a 2-for-3 night with three runs scored. He's hit .333 with 15 doubles, eight homers and 28 runs in 37 games since moving to the top of the order.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Jean Segura

Freeman powers Braves as magic number hits 6

First baseman goes 3-for-3 with HR, 3 RBIs in win over Cardinals
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman has tasted the euphoria of the postseason, the despair created by a late-season collapse and the hopelessness felt as he spent the past four seasons serving as the lingering cornerstone of a massive rebuilding process. So it's easy to understand why this year's journey with the Braves has been so special.

"When I came up, we were winning," Freeman said. "Then to go through four years of not winning, it makes you appreciate this kind of baseball again. It's fun. It really is. You shouldn't be pressing at all. This is what you work for, for six or seven months. For us to be in this situation this year, it's the greatest feeling there is."

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ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman has tasted the euphoria of the postseason, the despair created by a late-season collapse and the hopelessness felt as he spent the past four seasons serving as the lingering cornerstone of a massive rebuilding process. So it's easy to understand why this year's journey with the Braves has been so special.

"When I came up, we were winning," Freeman said. "Then to go through four years of not winning, it makes you appreciate this kind of baseball again. It's fun. It really is. You shouldn't be pressing at all. This is what you work for, for six or seven months. For us to be in this situation this year, it's the greatest feeling there is."

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Freeman helped create a feeling of relief as he extended his recent surge by homering during the three-hit performance he provided to back Touki Toussaint during Wednesday afternoon's 7-3 win over the Cardinals at SunTrust Park. The Braves still have some work to do. But they have now escaped the four-game losing streak that had heightened concerns about the possibility another Atlanta sports team was on the verge of collapsing.

Video: STL@ATL: Freeman rips an RBI single to right

"I don't know if must-win would have been the right term," Freeman said. "It was much needed. It just had felt different the past couple days coming around here. I thought today was a huge momentum boost for us."

With what was just their fifth win in their past 18 home games, the Braves reduced their magic number to six with 10 games to play. They own a 5 1/2-game lead in the National League East over the Phillies, who defeated the Mets, 4-0, on Wednesday night before heading to Atlanta for a four-game series.

Though they were unable to complete the sweep and claim a fourth straight win, the Cardinals will still enter Thursday's off-day with at least a half-game lead in the battle for the NL's second Wild Card spot.

When asked if this victory created a sigh of relief, Braves manager Brian Snitker admittedly said, "A little bit."

Video: STL@ATL: Snitker on Freeman and Toussaint in 7-3 win

While Ronald Acuna Jr.'s strong second-half production stands as the primary reason the Braves have led the division since Aug. 13, Freeman remains the face of the franchise and the man capable of putting the team on his shoulders during this stretch run and the postseason that would follow.

Freeman was considered by many to be the favorite for the NL MVP Award before he hit .195 with one homer and a .584 OPS over a 22-game stretch from Aug. 16-Sept. 7. The All-Star first baseman has acknowledged what he might have lost from a personal standpoint during that stretch. But while hitting .405 (17-for-42) with two homers over his past 11 games, he has seemingly rounded into form just in time to once again be a difference-maker.

"I started doing a new drill in Arizona with [hitting coach Kevin Seitzer] and it's kind of locked me back in. It was just a little flip drill in the [batting] cage," Freeman said. "I've been feeling pretty good for the last couple weeks."

Freeman's opposite-field homer off Jack Flaherty provided an early advantage for Toussaint, who allowed two earned runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings. The rookie right-hander has made just four starts, but he has produced a strong candidacy to be placed on the postseason roster as a long reliever or possibly the fourth starter.

Video: STL@ATL: Toussainst K's 8 in pivotal game vs. Cards

Flaherty stands as a potential Game 1 starter for the Cardinals if they reach the postseason. But the right-hander certainly wasn't at his best as the Braves tagged him for five earned runs over just 4 2/3 innings. Tyler Flowers, who provided a late insurance run with a homer in the eighth, opened Atlanta's three-run fifth with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Freeman delivered a two-out RBI single and helped account for another run when he stole second, allowing Ender Inciarte to score on the back end of the double steal.

Video: STL@ATL: Flowers strokes a solo home run to left

"[Freeman] is getting the ball in the air and the ball is carrying," Snitker said. "That's always a good thing. That's a welcome sight if we can get him going."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Along with halting their losing streak, the Braves also avoided enduring yet another late-inning meltdown. But while it was good to see A.J. Minter escape a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, there was still reason to be concerned about the fact he created one. The rookie closer recorded a strike with just two of his first 11 pitches and then loaded the bases with consecutive one-out walks.

After receiving a visit from pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, Minter fooled Jose Martinez by throwing three straight changeups ahead of an 0-2 cutter that created a swing and miss. The young lefty ended the game with Paul DeJong's popup that Freeman snared.

"The guy over 90 percent of the time throws a cutter and hard slider," Martinez said. "Knowing they were facing a fastball hitter, they just tried something else. He threw changeups and one [cutter]. I wasn't expecting that at all. I could have had a better at-bat."

Video: STL@ATL: Minter gets DeJong to pop up to end the game

Going back to Aug. 18, when he blew a three-run lead with two outs and nobody on against the Rockies, Minter has surrendered 12 hits, issued five walks and allowed six earned runs over nine innings. An early clinch would at least provide him what might be some necessary rest at the end of his first full Major League season.

SOUND SMART
Freeman has now recorded a double-digit stolen-base total for the first time in his career. He is the fourth first baseman in Braves history to hit 20 homers and record 10 stolen bases in a season. The last to do so was Dale Murphy in 1978. Murphy played first base in 129 games that season and handled the catching duties in 21 games. The former Gold Glove Award winner didn't move to the outfield until 1980.

Video: STL@ATL: Freeman steals base after call overturned

HE SAID IT
"We thought it was weird in April playing them so much, but I guess Major League Baseball did a nice job with the scheduling. We know what they've got and they're behind us. It's going to be a big matchup this weekend." -- Freeman, on the Braves playing seven of their final 10 games against the Phillies

UP NEXT
Kevin Gausman will take the mound when the first-place Braves welcome the second-place Phillies to SunTrust Park on Thursday at 7:35 p.m. ET. These two teams will play four times this weekend in Atlanta and three more times next weekend in Philadelphia to close the regular season. Which club lays claim to the National League East title will be determined within this span. Gausman has struggled in his past two starts and now faces a Philadelphia club that tagged him for a season-high 12 hits while he was with the Orioles in July. Vince Velasquez will start the opener for the Phillies.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Freddie Freeman, Touki Toussaint

Andujar becomes 5th Yanks rookie with 25 homers

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

NEW YORK -- The Red Sox arrived at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday in a position to clinch the American League East for the second straight day.

The Yankees are doing their best to ensure their champagne waits at least one more, jumping out to an early lead behind a three-run second inning against David Price.

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NEW YORK -- The Red Sox arrived at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday in a position to clinch the American League East for the second straight day.

The Yankees are doing their best to ensure their champagne waits at least one more, jumping out to an early lead behind a three-run second inning against David Price.

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Miguel Andujar's solo home run opened the scoring off Price, who then walked two around a Luke Voit single to load the bases for Aaron Judge. Price appeared to wiggle free after getting Judge to roll over what looked like an inning-ending grounder to third. But it went through Eduardo Nunez's legs and into left field, scoring Gary Sanchez and Voit to mushroom New York's margin.

Video: BOS@NYY: Sanchez, Voit score on Nunez's error in 2nd

Only one of the runs registered as earned for Price, who entered play with a 10.44 ERA at Yankee Stadium since joining the Red Sox in 2016. All he was held statistically responsible for was Andujar's opposite-field shot, the rookie's 25th of the season. Andujar became just the fifth rookie in Yankees history to reach the 25-homer plateau, joining Judge (2017), Bobby Murcer (1969), Joe Gordon (1938) and Joe DiMaggio (1936). Only Gordon and Andujar did so as infielders.

The Yankees would stave off elimination in the division with a win, keeping Boston's magic number at two. New York began play 2 1/2 games up on Oakland for the first AL Wild Card spot.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge, Eduardo Nunez

Injury updates: Cain, Kopech, Abreu, Bauer

MLB.com

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors.

Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun, Brewers
Cain would prefer to play through the pain in the tight rib cage that necessitated his removal from Tuesday's game, but after being advised to "be smart" about the injury, he will sit out Wednesday's game against the Reds and hopes to return to the lineup on Friday. Though he has been feeling discomfort since Friday or Saturday and the pain has neither worsened nor abated, he has not undergone an MRI and does not feel that one is necessary.

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors.

Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun, Brewers
Cain would prefer to play through the pain in the tight rib cage that necessitated his removal from Tuesday's game, but after being advised to "be smart" about the injury, he will sit out Wednesday's game against the Reds and hopes to return to the lineup on Friday. Though he has been feeling discomfort since Friday or Saturday and the pain has neither worsened nor abated, he has not undergone an MRI and does not feel that one is necessary.

Braun was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game on Wednesday as a precautionary measure after experiencing a recurrence of discomfort in his surgically repaired back. More >

Michael Kopech and Jose Abreu, White Sox
The White Sox announced that Kopech, MLB Pipeline's No. 13 overall prospect, underwent a successful Tommy John surgery on Tuesday and is recovering at home. The hard-throwing righty is expected to make a full recovery in time to participate in Spring Training in 2020.

Video: LAA@CWS: White Sox booth, Kopech discuss TJ injury

One day after he was admitted to a Cleveland-area hospital to treat an infection in his right thigh, Abreu was discharged on Wednesday and is recovering at the team hotel while on a "heavy dose" of antibiotics. Manager Rick Renteria stressed that the White Sox, far out of contention, won't be looking to rush Abreu back onto the field and didn't rule out the idea that Abreu's season might be over. More >

Trevor Bauer, Indians
The Indians plan to activate Bauer from the disabled list on Friday as part of a three-start recovery plan that they hope will get Bauer fully ready for a role in their postseason starting rotation. The plan is for him to make an abbreviated start on Friday against the Red Sox, another start next Tuesday in Chicago and a final start on Sept. 30 in Kansas City.

Bauer threw roughly 60 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday, testing all of his offerings. He has been sidelined since mid-August with a stress fracture in his right fibula. More >

Matt Bush and Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Rangers
Bush underwent surgery to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow on Wednesday and is expected to miss the first half of the 2019 season. He has been on the disabled list since June with what was later discovered to be damage to his UCL and began a throwing program in August, but never felt well enough to pitch off a mound.

Bibens-Dirkx also underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair torn cartilege in his left knee. More >

Eddie Rosario and Mitch Garver, Twins
While Miguel Sano returned to the starting lineup Tuesday for the first time since exiting with a lower left leg injury on Sept. 4, the Twins might be without Rosario (right quad strain) for the rest of the year. Rosario was sent back to Minneapolis and will undergo an MRI on the quad on Thursday. He aggravated the quad while playing the field following his Sept. 7 return from the same injury.

Garver's return is also uncertain, though the catcher was feeling better Tuesday after his concussion-like symptoms worsened Monday. The backstop has been sidelined since taking a foul ball off the mask Wednesday and was sent home with Rosario. More >

Video: NYY@MIN: Garver exits after taking foul ball off mask

Andrew Triggs, A's
Triggs is scheduled to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome on Sept. 26, the A's announced Tuesday. The right-hander has been sidelined since he went on the disabled list in mid-May with right arm nerve irritation. More >

Orbit had a 'Free Haircuts' sign on the field, and the Mariners' Jean Segura couldn't resist the offer

When you come face-to-face with an offer that's just too good to ignore, it's prudent to take full advantage.

Out on the Minute Maid Park grass ahead of Wednesday's Mariners-Astros game, Seattle shortstop Jean Segura was confronted with a can't-miss offer in the form of a free haircut. This was to be administered by Orbit, definitely a licensed cosmetologist and definitely the type to find any way to entice opposing players into some shenanigans.

Phillies shut out Mets, keep pace with Braves

Eflin pitching well at crucial time; club remains 5 1/2 games back in NL East
Special to MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Zach Eflin has helped keep the Phillies' playoff chances alive over the past week.

Eflin delivered his second strong start in a row Wednesday night, throwing five shutout innings as the Phillies topped the Mets, 4-0, at Citizens Bank Park. Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera both homered to lead the Philadelphia offense. The victory kept the Phillies 5 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East before the teams start a four-game series Thursday night in Atlanta. With the Cardinals' loss, the Phillies are five back of St. Louis for the second Wild Card spot.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Zach Eflin has helped keep the Phillies' playoff chances alive over the past week.

Eflin delivered his second strong start in a row Wednesday night, throwing five shutout innings as the Phillies topped the Mets, 4-0, at Citizens Bank Park. Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera both homered to lead the Philadelphia offense. The victory kept the Phillies 5 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East before the teams start a four-game series Thursday night in Atlanta. With the Cardinals' loss, the Phillies are five back of St. Louis for the second Wild Card spot.

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The win over the Mets also gave the Phillies their second series victory in a row -- marking the first time the Phillies have won consecutive series since July 25.

Video: NYM@PHI: Kapler on Eflin, win over Mets

"We won two series straight, that feels good," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "We have a job to do in Atlanta. We're prepared for it, we've been thinking about it quite a bit. We know their team, they know ours, so we're ready."

The Phillies took two of three against both the Marlins and Mets to close out their penultimate homestand of 2018, and Eflin had a win against each team.

The 24-year-old righty tied a career high with nine strikeouts Wednesday night. Eflin struck out three consecutive hitters in the third and fourth innings, including Todd Frazier, who tipped his batting helmet to Eflin after chasing a sweeping slider out of the zone in the fourth.

Video: NYM@PHI: Frazier fooled by slider, tips cap to Eflin

Eflin got his ninth and final strikeout against Michael Conforto, the last hitter he faced. Eflin, who registered 17 swinging strikes (including seven with his changeup), punched Conforto out on a 3-2 changeup to strand two runners.

"In years past, he's seemed to like hitting off me," Eflin said of Conforto, who entered with an .824 OPS against him. "So, I had to switch it up a little bit. Sequencing speaks to that. I was able to throw him some offspeed pitches in a 3-2 count in the fifth inning. I felt really good about it and it paid off."

Eflin walked three batters in the start and surrendered three hits, only one of which left the infield. Eflin has given up just one run and eight hits over his last two starts (11 1/3 innings).

Video: NYM@PHI: Neshek induces flyout to end game

The pair of sharp outings are a promising sign for Eflin, who had a 7.71 ERA in five starts between Aug. 16 and Sept. 8. He is in line for two more starts in the regular season: Monday against the Rockies at Coors Field and Sept. 29 against the Braves in the Phillies' next-to-last game of the regular season.

"In an atmosphere like this, being so close to the playoffs, you really have to elevate your game and do whatever you can on the mound," Eflin said.

Video: NYM@PHI: Bautista lines RBI double to left field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rhys Lightning strikes early: Hoskins hit his 32nd homer of the season, taking Noah Syndergaard deep to the opposite field in the first inning. Hoskins turned around a 98-mph offering from the right-hander for his 11th first-inning homer in 2018.

Video: NYM@PHI: Hoskins belts solo homer to open the scoring

"The big hit doesn't have to come in the ninth inning," Kapler said. "It doesn't have to come with runners in scoring position. Sometimes it's just a boost to the dugout and a boost to our confidence, and I think Rhys has provided those all year."

Hoskins also doubled off Syndergaard in the third inning. He became the first player to record two extra-base hits off Syndergaard in a game since Freddie Freeman did so exactly two years earlier on Sept. 19, 2016.

Herrera homers: Herrera hit a towering homer to right field off Syndergaard in the fourth inning. Herrera's blast, his 22nd of the season and first since Aug. 28, went a projected 357 feet and had a 37-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™.

"He got in the batter's box ready to hit from the jump. I thought it was a great performance from him," Kapler said of Herrera.

Video: NYM@PHI: Herrera skies a 2-run home run to right

SOUND SMART
Hoskins' home run was the 50th of his career. It came in his 192nd career Major League game and his 686th at-bat.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
J.P. Crawford made the defensive play of the night, getting Jay Bruce at first base on a softly hit ground ball. Bruce hit a weak grounder to the right of the pitcher's mound, and it got by a diving Luis Avilan. Playing on the right side of the infield in a shift, Crawford, the shortstop, picked up the grounder on the run and dove as he threw out Bruce.

Video: NYM@PHI: Crawford shaken up after barehanded play

HE SAID IT
"We're in a pretty unique position, exciting position that doesn't happen all that often. But I think as a competitor, it's really all you can ask for. You control your own destiny." -- Hoskins, on the Phillies' mindset being 5 1/2 games back of the Braves with seven games remaining against Atlanta

UP NEXT
The Phillies have a chance to close some of the gap between themselves and the Braves this weekend, starting with a 7:35 p.m. ET game Thursday in Atlanta. Vince Velasquez (9-11, 4.50 ERA), who pitched just two innings in his last outing, will be on the mound for the Phillies. Right-hander Kevin Gausman (10-10, 3.92) will start for the Braves.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies, Zach Eflin, Rhys Hoskins