Bird makes winning return

New York Yankees’ first baseman Greg Bird is tagged out at home plate by Seattle Mariners’ catcher Carlos Ruiz during their MLB game at Yankee Stadium in New York Saturday. — Reuters.

NEW YORK — There were plenty of times when the New York Yankees wondered when Greg Bird would play again.

Bird’s time finally came Saturday, when he reached base three times in his long-awaited return to the lineup and helped the Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners, 6-3.

Bird singled, walked twice and scored in his first game since May 1. The young first baseman has been hobbled by ankle and foot woes — after his hit, the Yankee Stadium sound system played the theme song from ‘70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.

Jacoby Ellsbury homered and drove in four runs, and Sonny Gray kept up his streak of impressive starts in this matchup of playoff contenders.

Blue Jays 10, Twins 9: Josh Donaldson had three hits, including a two-run homer, Kendrys Morales added a solo shot and Toronto withstood a late rally by Minnesota.

Max Kepler hit a grand slam and Eduardo Escobar had a two-run drive for the Twins, who began the day with a slim lead in a crowded race for the second AL wild card.

Minnesota lost for the 11th time in 13 meetings with the Blue Jays.

Nationals 9, Mets 4: Adrian Sanchez drove in three runs, including an RBI single moments after he took a pitch to the chest while trying to bunt, and made a diving play to help Washington beat New York.

With second baseman Daniel Murphy getting some rest before a pinch-hitting appearance, Sanchez filled in well with a two-run single during a big first inning and ranged to his left to help pick up Gio Gonzalez (13-5) in the seventh.

Athletics 8, Rangers 3: Chad Pinder homered twice to help Oakland top Texas, ending Cole Hamels’ five-game win streak.

Jed Lowrie drove in three runs for the A’s, who put back-to-back victories together for the first time since Aug. 5-6 at the Los Angeles Angels.

Adrian Beltre had three RBIs for the Rangers, who lost their second straight after winning 11 of 15.

Pirates 1, Reds 0: Gerrit Cole ended his career-long futility against Cincinnati by hitting a solo homer and pitching seven innings for Pittsburgh.

Cole (11-8) was 0-6 against the Reds in nine starts, including a loss earlier this season. He broke through by holding down a lineup that had scored nine runs the previous night. Cole gave up five hits, didn’t walk a batter and fanned six.

Cardinals 6, Rays 4: Tommy Pham hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, and St. Louis rallied past Tampa Bay.

It was Pham’s first career walk-off homer and the fourth this season for the Cardinals.

Matt Carpenter beat out an infield single before Pham hit a 2-2 pitch off Brad Boxberger (3-4) for his 17th homer of the season.

Indians 4, Royals 0: Mike Clevinger pitched six sharp innings and rookie Bradley Zimmer made a sensational catch in center field before ending Jason Hammel’s bid for a perfect game, leading Cleveland over Kansas City.

Roberto Perez hit a two-run homer off Hammel (6-10), and Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana also connected as the defending AL champions moved a season-high 16 games over .500 at 72-56.

Cubs 17, Phillies 2: Anthony Rizzo and Tommy La Stella each homered twice, Dartmouth graduate Kyle Hendricks pitched seven strong innings and Chicago routed Philadelphia despite another home run from Rhys Hoskins.

Hendricks (5-4) earned his first victory since May 24, limiting the Phillies to two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. He also helped himself with a single and a two-run double in Chicago’s seven-run seventh that tied a season high for most runs in an inning.

Tigers 6, White Sox 3: Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back homers in Detroit’s three-run third inning, sparking the Tigers to a rainy win over Chicago.

Cabrera finished with three hits as Detroit won for just the fifth time in 20 games. Dixon Machado had two hits and drove in a run, and Buck Farmer (3-1) pitched into the sixth inning after he was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for his first major league start since June 18.

Rockies 7, Braves 6: Charlie Blackmon hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Arodys Vizcaino and Colorado beat Atlanta.

D.J. LeMahieu added two solo homers and Trevor Story had a two-run double as the Rockies improved to 6-12 since Aug. 6.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1: A.J. Pollock and J.D. Martinez homered off San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, and that was enough as Arizona beat San Francisco.

Bumgarner (3-6) struck out seven and allowed five hits in seven innings against Arizona, which has won four of five and leads the NL wild-card standings. — Agencies