Brandon Phillips hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning, highlighting his long-awaited season debut and capping the Boston Red Sox’s biggest comeback of the season in a 9-8 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in Atlanta.
The Red Sox overcame a late six-run deficit to sweep the three-game series between division leaders.
Majors-leading Boston scored six times in the eighth to make it 7-all. After Freddie Freeman hit a solo homer with two outs in the Braves eighth, the Red Sox bounced back for their 97th win.
The 37-year-old Phillips sat out the first half of this year, signed a minor league contract with Boston in late June and was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. He didn’t play that night, but started at second base in the final game of the interleague set.
After becoming the first player in Red Sox history to wear No. 0, in one swing the guy with the zero became a gameday hero. Andrew Benintendi singled with one out off A.J. Minter (4-3) and Steve Pearce struck out, bringing up Phillips. On the first pitch, Phillips homered deep into the left field seats.
Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who hit another leadoff homer in the first, didn’t move as Phillips’ shot sailed over his head. Phillips scored three runs and drew two walks.
Braves stadium organist Matthew Kaminski played “Welcome Back” before Phillips’ first at-bat in the second inning. Phillips, a high school star in the Atlanta area who played most of last season with the Braves, tipped his helmet and then walked.
Freeman hit his tiebreaking homer off Brandon Workman (4-0).
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 38th save.
Indians 3, Royals 1: In Cleveland, Corey Kluber became the first 18-game winner in the majors this season, striking out 10 in Cleveland’s victory over Kansas City.
The Indians moved closer to the third straight A.L. Central title, reducing their magic number for clinching the division to nine.
Kluber (18-7) allowed one run and two hits in 6 2/3 innings. The reigning A.L. Cy Young Award winner was pulled after 105 pitches. Cleveland used three relievers to complete the two-hitter. Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save since being acquired San Diego and 32nd this season.
Jason Kipnis had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth and two hits.
Brad Keller (7-6) lost for the first time since Aug. 7.
Mets 7, Dodgers 3: In Los Angeles, Zack Wheeler stayed in the game after getting hit in the chest by a line drive, pitching seven sharp innings to lead New York over Los Angeles.
Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger homered for the playoff-contending Dodgers, who lost for third time in their past 12 games. Los Angeles finished with three hits.
Wilmer Flores had a pair of RBI singles and Amed Rosario got three hits for the Mets. They went 5-4 on their road trip to Wrigley Field, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Wheeler (10-7) retired the first 11 batters before Justin Turner hit a liner in the fourth inning that struck the pitcher. The exit velocity on Turner’s ball was clocked at 91 mph. Wheeler got a visit from the Mets’ medical staff and gave up a home run to Muncy three pitches later.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2) was the loser.
Cardinals 7, Nationals 6: In Washington, Matt Adams homered twice against his former team, Marcell Ozuna tied his career high with four hits and St. Louis held off Washington.
One night after bashing five homers against Washington, St. Louis settled for three in the rubber game of the series as Yairo Munoz had a solo shot in the sixth.
Miles Mikolas (14-4) worked 6 2/3 innings and was charged with four runs on 12 hits. Carlos Martinez worked the final two innings for his first save since 2014, getting three straight outs in the ninth after the first two batters reached.
Bryce Harper had three hits for Washington on a day when general manager Mike Rizzo responded that he hasn’t considered any other scenario when asked if manager Dave Martinez will return in 2019.
Tanner Roark (8-15) gave up six runs on 10 hits over five innings.
Blue Jays 10, Rays 3: In Toronto, Aledmys Diaz hit a three-run homer in a seven-run first inning, Aaron Sanchez won for the first time in three months and Toronto beat Tampa Bay to prevent a three-game sweep.
Billy McKinney added a solo homer as Toronto had 16 hits and improved to 3-9 against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak was snapped.
Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier hit two solo home runs for his third career multihomer game. He also did it against the Blue Jays on Aug. 23, 2017.
Sanchez (4-5) permitted three runs and six hits over six innings, including both of Kiermaier’s homers, to win for the first time since June 3 at Detroit. He matched a season high with eight strikeouts.
Tyler Glasnow (1-5) was the loser.
Marlins 2, Phillies 1: Sandy Alcantara pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning in his second career start, Austin Dean drove in a pair of runs and Miami beat Philadelphia.
Alcantara (2-0) allowed three hits, walked two and struck out six. Drew Steckenrider allowed a walk and a single with one out in the ninth, but finished off his fourth save with a pair of strikeouts.
Nick Pivetta (7-11) was the loser. The Phillies have lost four of five. They remained three games behind Atlanta in the N.L. East race.
Pirates 3, Reds 2: In Pittsburgh, Jameson Taillon pitched five effective innings and helped send Homer Bailey to yet another loss in Pittsburgh’s victory over Cincinnati.
Taillon (12-9) allowed only one run as he scattered eight hits and walked none to help the Pirates sweep the three-game series. Felipe Vazquez survived a shaky ninth inning, allowing Dilson Herrera’s pinch-hit RBI double with none out, before earning his 30th save.
Bailey (1-14) lost his ninth straight decision. The Reds are 1-19 in his starts this season.
Astros 9, Twins 1: In Houston, Alex Bregman homered and had five RBIs, and Evan Gattis hit his 25th home run to help Houston rout Minnesota.
The defending champs have won five straight, finishing a 10-game homestand with a 7-3 record. Houston has won 12 of its last 15 games entering a three-game series in major league-leading Boston.
Bregman gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the third inning with his 29th homer of the season, a line-drive shot off Jake Odorizzi into the left-field Crawford Boxes. He added a three-run double off the left-field wall with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, his 47th double, to put Houston up 9-1.
Gattis extended Houston’s lead to 4-0 with a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Odorizzi.
Houston went up 5-1 with an RBI single to right from Yuli Gurriel off Odorizzi (5-10).
Houston starter Framber Valdez (3-1) went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits and three walks while striking out five.
Angels 9, Rangers 3: In Arlington, Texas Shohei Ohtani homered twice on a huge night at the plate after getting bad news about his pitching arm, and Los Angeles beat Texas.
Perhaps headed for Tommy John surgery, the two-way rookie sensation went 4 for 4 with three RBIs, four runs and a stolen base to power the Angels. About two hours before the game, the team announced Ohtani has new damage in his right elbow and ligament-replacement surgery has been recommended.
The club said the Japanese star had an MRI earlier in the day that revealed the problem in his ulnar collateral ligament.
Ohtani’s homers were towering drives into the right-field seats. With his second two-homer game, the designated hitter tied Kenji Johjima’s 2006 major league record of 18 homers by a Japanese rookie.
Andrelton Simmons also homered for the Angels and drove in three runs.
Adrian Beltre hit a two-run shot for Texas, the 472nd homer of his career, in the sixth inning against Jim Johnson. Three of Beltre’s 10 homers this season have come in the last five games.
Los Angeles rookie Jaime Barria (10-8) beat Texas for the third time and 45-year-old Bartolo Colon (7-12) for the second.
Cubs 6, Brewers 4: In Milwaukee, Daniel Murphy and Kyle Schwarber homered to back a solid start from Jose Quintana, and Chicago held off Milwaukee to avert a three-game sweep.
Pedro Strop closed out a tense ninth inning as Chicago boosted its N.L. Central lead to four games over the second-place Brewers. Quintana (12-9) allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings, improving to 3-1 at Miller Park with the Cubs. Strop allowed a walk and a single to open the ninth but got the final three outs, striking out Curtis Granderson with two runners on to preserve the win.
Granderson belted his first home run as a member of the Brewers in a pinch-hit role in the seventh, a two-run shot that cut Chicago’s lead to 6-4.
The Cubs finally broke their string of 16 scoreless innings against Milwaukee right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (14-6) when Murphy led off the fourth with an opposite-field homer.
Tigers 10, White Sox 2: In Chicago, Ronny Rodriguez had a two-run homer and Jeimer Candelario, Mikie Mahtook and JaCoby Jones each added a solo shot, powering Detroit to a rout of Chicago and prized pitching prospect Michael Kopech.
The game was delayed twice by rain for a total of an hour and one minute.
Nicholas Castellanos went 3 for 4 with a walk and an RBI and Victor Martinez had a two-run single as Detroit pounded out 16 hits and won for the eighth time in nine games at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Jordan Zimmermann (7-6) allowed just two hits in five shutout innings and returned following both delays.
Rockies 5, Giants 3: In Denver, Trevor Story homered in his first three at-bats, including one projected at more than 500 feet, and Colorado beat San Francisco.
The All-Star shortstop had a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game but struck out in his final at-bat in the eighth inning.
Story powered Colorado to its fifth straight win, and the Rockies increased their lead in the N.L. West to 1 1/2 games over Arizona and Los Angeles. The Diamondbacks were idle and the Dodgers lost to the New York Mets.
It was the first three-homer game of Story’s career and his fifth multihomer game this season. The outburst came at the expense of Giants starter Andrew Suarez (6-10).
Mariners 5, Orioles 2: In Seattle, Nelson Cruz and Denard Span hit back-to-back home runs, and Seattle overcame sloppy infield defense to beat Baltimore.
Despite winning their first home series since July 22, the Mariners failed to gain ground on Oakland in the A.L. Wild Card race. They still trail by 5 1/2 games with 22 games remaining.
Mike Leake (9-9) gave up two unearned runs in six innings to earn his first victory since Aug. 15. Edwin Diaz locked down his major league-leading 53rd save, joining Randy Myers (1993), Trevor Hoffman (1998) and Mariano Rivera (2004) who sit tied for fifth-most saves in a single season in baseball history.
Athletics 8, Yankees 2: In Oakland, California, Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run single, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson each doubled in a run, and Oakland jumped on New York early and cruised.
Jed Lowrie added a run-scoring single as the A’s backed righty Mike Fiers (11-6), who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first after Giancarlo Stanton’s one-out double and a pair of two-out walks. Fiers is 4-0 in six starts since joining Oakland, and the A’s have won all his outings.
The A’s moved within 3 1/2 games of the Yankees for the top A.L. wild card, also remaining 3 1/2 games back of the A.L. West-leading Astros.