(Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
Adley Rutschman homered and drove in three runs and the Baltimore Orioles beat the visiting Washington Nationals 5-1 on Wednesday to reduce their magic number to one for clinching the American League East.
The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 5-0 Wednesday night, so Baltimore (99-59) is a win or a Tampa Bay loss from locking up the East and top seed in the AL playoffs, which includes home-field advantage through the American League Championship Series.
Grayson Rodriguez (7-4) pitched 5 2/3 innings for the win. He gave up one run on six hits and struck out five without a walk.
Keibert Ruiz had two hits for Washington (69-90), which has lost 11 of 15.
Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (10-15) allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings and finished 2023 with a 5.20 ERA.
The Orioles got to Corbin in the third. Austin Hays walked and Rutschman followed with his 20th homer of the season, a shot to center to make it 2-0.
Dominic Smith doubled with one out in the Washington fifth. With two outs, Jake Alu lined a single to left, scoring Smith with the Nationals' first run of the game and their first in four games this season against the Orioles.
Jorge Mateo led off the bottom half with a walk. He went to second on a passed ball with one out, stole third and scored on Rutschman's single to right to increase the lead to 3-1. Anthony Santander singled Rutschman to third and Aaron Hicks walked to load the bases. Gunnar Henderson grounded into a fielder's choice at the plate, but Jordan Westburg walked to force in a run and end Corbin's night.
CJ Abrams singled and stole second in the top of the sixth. He went to third on Ruiz's single. After Joey Meneses popped out, Rodriguez was lifted in favor of Danny Coulombe, who retired Carter Kieboom.
The Orioles added a run in the sixth when Cedric Mullins doubled and later scored on a single by Hays.
--Field Level Media