Campaign Coverage 2020

Wendle's hit in 8th helps Rays ding Phillies' playoff hopes


Wendle's hit in 8th helps Rays ding Phillies' playoff hopes
Tampa Bay Rays' Yoshi Tsutsugo, of Japan,, left, celebrates with Kevin Kiermaier after scoring on a two-run single by Joey Wendle off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Hector Neris during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Joey Wendle had a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning and the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays rallied to hurt Philadelphia’s playoff hopes, beating the Phillies 6-4 on Friday night.

The Rays would clinch the top seed in the American League with Oakland loss later Friday night; the A's were hosting Seattle. Tampa Bay is looking to finish with the AL’s best record for the second time, after topping the league in 2010.

Bryce Harper had a triple and drove in two runs for Philadelphia, which started the day one game behind second-place Miami in the NL East and also trailed in the wide-open wild-card race.

Yoshi Tsutsdugo had one-out single in the eighth before Adam Morgan (0-1) loaded the bases on consecutive walks to Hunter Renfroe and Brett Phillips.

Héctor Neris replaced Morgan and retired pinch-hitter Brandon Lowe on a pop fly. Wendle followed with a liner to right that gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 advantage.

Nick Anderson (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth and John Curtiss got the final three outs for his second save.

Phillips tied it 4 on a solo shot off Tommy Hunter in the sixth. He put the Rays up 1-0 with a run-scoring single during the second.

Alec Bohm drove in a run with a single before Harper had an RBI triple and scored on shortstop Willy Adames’ errant to throw to third as the Phillies took a 3-1 lead in the third.

Harper made it 4-1 on a fifth-inning single against Charlie Morton.

Adames ended starter Vince Velasquez’s night with a one-out RBI single in the fifth. Kevin Kiermaier cut the deficit to 4-3 on a fielder’s choice grounder off Hunter.

Morton gave up four runs — all with two outs — and seven hits over five innings. Velasquez allowed three run and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

ALEC ATTACK

Bohm went 2 for 4 and has 37 hits this month, and a hit in 16 of his last 18 games. He is hitting .463 (19 of 41) with runners in scoring position.

HONORS

Lowe was named the Rays' Don Zimmer MVP Award winner following a vote by media covering the team. Right-hander Pete Fairbanks was selected as the Rays' top rookie. Kiermaier received the Champion Award for professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Spencer Howard (right shoulder stiffness) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list.

Rays: INF Yandy Díaz (right hamstring strain) and 1B Ji-Man Choi (left hamstring strain) both faced live pitching, did defensive work and ran the bases. Their status for the first round of the playoffs has not been determined.

UP NEXT

Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler (4-1) will start on Saturday night against Tampa Bay. The Rays have not announced their starter.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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