(AP) — Fist-pumping Johnny Cueto pitched a five-hitter and retired his final 17 batters, and the San Francisco Giants gained ground in the playoff race with a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.
The Cardinals’ loss clinched the NL Central title for the Chicago Cubs.
Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer, Cueto (16-5) had a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fourth and Angel Pagan followed with an RBI single. Denard Span added a two-run single in the seventh for San Francisco.
The Giants gained a game on the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, who are ahead by four after losing at Arizona.
San Francisco also moved a game ahead of the Mets in the chase for the top NL wild card and two games up on the Cardinals.
St. Louis opened a 10-game road trip, its last of 2016.
AP) — Major League Baseball has given Padres general manager A.J. Preller a 30-day suspension for his conduct during the trade of All-Star pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox.
The commissioner’s office did not elaborate on what Preller did wrong in a deal that also sent right-handed prospect Anderson Espinoza to the Padres. MLB said it interviewed individuals from both clubs and submitted its investigation to Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Jets rally to beat Bills in Buffalo
(AP) — Matt Forte scored three touchdowns and Ryan Fitzpatrick finally solved Rex Ryan’s defense, leading the New York Jets to a 37-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.
Forte’s 3-yard run put New York ahead 27-24 with 2:12 left in the third quarter. He sealed the win by patiently waiting for a seam to open before scampering into the end zone from 12 yards to put New York up 37-24 with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter.
Forte finished with 100 yards rushing, and the offseason free-agent addition became the 13th New York player to score three rushing touchdowns in a game.
The Jets (1-1) bounced back from a season-opening loss to Cincinnati and snapped a five-game skid against their AFC East rivals.
Fitzpatrick finished 24 of 34 for 374 yards and a 5-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker.
In beating one of his former teams, Fitzpatrick also overcame the stinging memories of last year’s season finale, a 22-17 loss at Buffalo that eliminated the Jets from playoff contention. Fitzpatrick closed the loss by throwing interceptions on each of the Jets final three possessions.
The Bills (0-2) are suddenly reeling in Ryan’s second season as coach, and two years after being fired by the Jets.
Their offense sputtered in a 13-7 loss at Baltimore on Sunday, and now it was their defense that showed cracks against the Jets.
New York finished with 493 yards offense, 28 first downs and had seven drives cross midfield.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor rebounded five days after he was limited to 111 yards passing against the Ravens.
He went 18 of 30 for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Marquise Goodwin scored on an 84-yarder catch, Greg Salas scored on a 71-yard catch and running back Mike Gillislee made it close, by catching an 18-yard touchdown pass with 1:17 remaining.
Brandon Marshall caught Dan Carpenter’s onside kick.
The Jets scored on each of their first four possessions to build a 20-7 lead. Forte scored on a 1-yard plunge, Fitzpatrick found Decker on the 5-yarder and Nick Folk hit a pair of field goals.
The Bills rallied back to score on three straight possessions spanning halftime.
Dan Carpenter began the run by hitting a 39-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the second quarter.
Then Buffalo scored twice in a span of 2:07 to go up 24-20. After Salas scored, Bills safety Nickell Robey-Coleman returned Jalin Marshall’s fumble 36 yards for a touchdown on the Jets next possession.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis got off to another tough start. After having difficulty covering Bengals receiver A.J. Green on Sunday, Revis was burned by Goodwin on his 84-yard touchdown catch. Goodwin burst past Revis up the right sideline at midfield and had two steps on him when he caught Tyrod Taylor’s pass in stride at the Jets 35 and ran it in.
It was Buffalo’s longest touchdown pass at home in team history, and longest since Fitzpatrick hit Terrell Owens for a 98-yard touchdown strike at Tennessee on Nov. 15, 2009.
Adding in Salas’ 71-yard TD catch and Taylor became Buffalo’s fifth quarterback to throw two 70-plus yard touchdown passes in the same game, and first since J.P. Losman did it in 2006.
Jets receiver Brandon Marshall proved to be a quick healer. It appeared as if he sustained a serious injury when his left knee twisted beneath him while cornerback Stephon Gilmore brought him down by the facemask in the second quarter. Marshall immediately grabbed his knee and lay on the field for a few minutes before getting up on his own.
Marshall returned for the next series and made an 21-yard catch after having his knee examined. The catch helped set up Decker’s 5-yard touchdown catch which put the Jets up 20-7
RETIRING NO. 78
The Bills honored NFL career sacks leader and Hall of Famer Bruce Smith by retiring his No. 78 during a halftime ceremony.
“I don’t know if I’m worthy or lucky enough for all this,” Smith told reporters before the game. He joins Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, whose No. 12, is the only number the Bills have retired.
The game was the NFL’s first streamed live on Twitter as part of a $10 million-plus deal the social media company reached in April to deliver 10 Thursday night games through a mobile app. Twitter also announced its app will be available on Xbox One, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
This is the second time the Bills have been part of a social media broadcast experiment. Last year, Yahoo averaged an audience of about 2.4 million viewers in broadcasting the Bills game against Jacksonville played in London.