Diaz heats up wildcard race, Mets complete Twins sweep

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The St. Louis Cardinals moved within one game of the San Francisco Giants in the National League wildcard race with a 3-0 win at AT&T Park on Sunday.

Aledmys Diaz hit his 16th home run of the season to settle the contest as the Cardinals split the four-game series.

The New York Mets completed their sweep against the Minnesota Twins with a 3-2 win.

One month ago, the Mets were six games behind the Giants at 60-60, they have since gone 20-9 - the best record in MLB in that stretch - and are now a game ahead of San Francisco.

Helped by Justin Upton's two-run homer, the Detroit Tigers moved within two games of the second American League wildcard spot, beating the Cleveland Indians 9-5.

The Baltimore Orioles occupy one of the AL wildcard places and stayed within three games of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Boston put the New York Yankees eight games back in the East, Hanley Ramriez homering twice in a 5-4 triumph to complete a series sweep.

The Toronto Blue Jays are looking over their shoulders at the Tigers after a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, whose neighbours the Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten 10-9 by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Kendrys Morales brought up his 1,000th career hit with a two-run homer and fell a triple short of the cycle as the Kansas City Royals bludgeoned the Chicago White Sox 10-3.

In a game that featured two rain delays and was ended in the seventh inning, the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 6-2, Joey Votto went 4-for-4 as the Cincinnati Reds claimed a 7-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers dealt the Chicago Cubs their first home series loss since July with a 3-1 triumph.

The Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 6-3, the Oakland Athletics were 5-2 winners over the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners overcame the Houston Astros 7-3 and the Miami Marlins edged the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4.

 

DIAZ DAZZLES FOR CARDINALS

He only recently returned from the disabled list, but Aledmys Diaz is making a difference for the Cardinals.

His decisive homer, which saw him slug Albert Suarez to deep left field, marked his 16th of a season in which Diaz is hitting .307.

Young starting pitcher Alex Reyes tossed a gem for St. Louis. The 22-year-old stud spun seven shutout innings with six strikeouts and just two walks, improving to 3-1 on the season.

 

HANLEY'S MONSTER NIGHT

Hanley Ramirez was a fitting hero for the Red Sox as they competed their first four-game sweep of the arch-rival Yankees since 1990.

The first baseman had two homers in the series coming into the finale, and added another pair to his tally in spectacular fashion.

Both of Ramirez's homers were hit over the fabled green monster at Fenway Park, his surge giving the Red Sox plenty of momentum going into a pivotal series with the Orioles.

 

LANDMARK MOMENT FOR MORALES

Kendrys Morales made sure his 1,000th career hit in the majors was one to remember.

With the Royals up 6-2, Morales padded the lead further by reaching the landmark with a high shot to right field off the pitching of Chris Beck.

Morales finished a three-hit showing with four RBIs as the Royals cantered to a victory that moves them within five games of the second AL wildcard spot.

 

BUMGARNER V KERSHAW

The Giants visit the Dodgers for a three-game series and Monday's opener features a pitching matchup baseball fans dream of as Madison Bumgarner (14-9, 2.66 ERA) faces off against Clayton Kershaw (11-3, 1.81 ERA).

Dodgers ace Kershaw has failed to pitch longer than five innings since returning from injury this month, but should have the training wheels off in this one.