OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Texas Rangers secured their second straight AL West title, becoming the first American League team to clinch a playoff spot with a 3-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Beltre’s homer came during a three-run seventh after Oakland starter Kendall Graveman (10-11) pitched six perfect innings. Texas got its first baserunner when Carlos Gomez beat out an infield hit to lead off the seventh against Graveman.
This is Texas’ eighth AL West title and fourth since 2010.
All-Star left-hander Cole Hamels (15-5), acquired prior to last year’s non-waiver trade deadline, pitched the division-clinching game for the second year in a row. Last year, he threw a three-hitter in the last game of the regular season to beat the Los Angeles Angels.
Rangers closer Sam Dyson got pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso to hit into a fielder’s choice for the last out to record his 36th save.
RED SOX 2, RAYS 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning to set the RBIs record for a player in his final season, and the AL East-leading Boston beat Tampa Bay for its ninth straight victory
Ortiz’s 37th homer came off Chris Archer (8-19) and raised his RBIs total to 124, one more than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. The 40-year-old’s 540th homer, his 300th on the road, struck an overhanging catwalk above the right-field seats.
Coming off four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore, the Red Sox began the night with a six-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching a playoff berth.
Drew Pomeranz (3-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. Brad Ziegler, the fifth Boston reliever, got his fourth save after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to Evan Longoria.
Archer set a Tampa Bay record for losses in a season, breaking the mark Tanyon Sturtze set in 2002. He has lost 11 straight decisions against Boston since beating the Red Sox in his first career start against them on Sept. 19, 2012. Mikie Mahtook hit a solo homer in the second for the Rays.
CUBS 5, CARDINALS 0
CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta struck out 10 in seven innings and Chicago beat St. Louis for its 98th victory, the Cubs’ most since they last played in the World Series in 1945.
Arrieta (18-7) allowed five hits and walked one, Anthony Rizzo had three hits and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs to help the Cubs (98-55) tie a team record with their 56th home win. They clinched home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
Chicago scored four runs in the first inning off Mike Leake (9-11).
Pedro Strop came off the disabled list to work the eighth, and Travis Wood and Carl Edwards Jr. finished the five-hitter. Rizzo, Zobrist and Chris Coghlan drove in runs in the first off Leake, who lasted 3 1/3 innings and is winless in four starts since recovering from shingles.
Leake allowed another run on one of two wild pitches. Cardinals’ gaffes included Kolten Wong face-planting into the turf chasing Rizzo’s first-inning double and Matt Adams getting picked off first. Zobrist’s fourth-inning groundout added another run for Chicago.
DODGERS 5, ROCKIES 2
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joc Pederson and pinch-hitter Andre Ethier hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning and Los Angeles defeated Colorado after an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring Vin Scully.
Their third straight victory trimmed the Dodgers’ magic number for clinching a record fourth consecutive NL West title to two.
Pederson worked the count to 3-2 during a nine-pitch at-bat before homering off Jon Gray (10-9) with two outs.
Ross Stripling (5-8) got the win in relief of injured Scott Kazmir. The rookie right-hander allowed two hits in three innings, struck out four and walked two.
METS 10, PHILLIES 5
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Conforto hit a three-run homer that capped a six-run rally in the fifth inning, Hansel Robles gave a big boost from the bullpen and New York beat Philadelphia to stay atop the NL wild-card race.
The Mets are a game up on San Francisco for the wild-card lead. St. Louis lost and trails New York by 1 1/2 games.
A day after using 10 pitchers in a stirring 9-8, 11-inning win over the Phillies, the Mets sent out six more. With his team competing for a playoff spot, manager Terry Collins yanked starter Gabriel Ynoa after just two shaky innings.
Robles preserved a 7-5 lead in the seventh, getting pinch-hitter Tommy Joseph to ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Robles finished with hitless relief for his first career save. Josh Smoker (3-0) was the winner.
Jeremy Hellickson (12-10) was the loser. Maikel Franco homered for the second straight day and pinch-hitter Darin Ruf also connected for the Phillies.
PIRATES 6, NATIONALS 5, 11 INNINGS
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie Jacob Stallings’ pinch-hit single in the 11th inning lifted Pittsburgh past Washington, preventing the Nationals from clinching a postseason berth.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out against Yusmiero Petit (3-5) when Francisco Cervelli doubled, Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked and Pedro Florimon walked.
Sean Rodriguez struck out and Stalling, a son of University of Pittsburgh basketball coach Kevin Stallings, grounded a 3-2 pitch into left field.
Wade LeBlanc (4-0) was the winner. Pittsburgh’s seventh win in nine games kept the Pirates on the fringe of the NL wild-card race.
Washington lost for the fifth time in six games. The Nationals have magic numbers of one for a playoff berth and two for an NL East title. Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa homered for the Nationals.
PADRES 7, GIANTS 2
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Wil Myers hit a three-run homer off rookie Albert Suarez in the first inning and San Diego beat San Francisco for its seventh victory in eight games against the struggling Giants since the All-Star break.
The Giants dropped into the second wild-card position, a game behind the New York Mets.
Edwin Jackson (5-6) won for just the second time in seven starts, holding the Giants to two runs and four hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked five.
Suarez (3-5) fell behind 3-0 before recording an out. Jon Jay hit a leadoff single, rookie Carlos Asuaje doubled for his first big league hit and Myers homered into the party deck just beyond the fence in right-center, his 28th.
INDIANS 10, WHITE SOX 4.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs, and Cleveland beat Chicago to move a step closer to the AL Central title.
The Indians dropped their magic number to three games for their first division title since 2007.
Trevor Bauer (12-8) overcame two-run homers by Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia. The right-hander allowed four runs in 7 2/3 innings.
Mike Napoli drove in two runs and became the first Cleveland player to reach 100 RBIs in nine years.
Miguel Gonzalez (4-8) was the loser. Chicago has lost six in a row and was eliminated from the AL wild-card race.
White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton left after appearing to hit his head and left shoulder running into the wall catching Roberto Perez’s long drive in the sixth.
ORIOLES 3, DIAMONDBACKS 2, 12 INNINGS
BALTIMORE (AP) — Mark Trumbo led off the 12th inning with his major league-leading 44th home run, and Baltimore ovrcame a late two-run deficit to beat Arizona.
After getting swept in a four-game series by Boston, the Orioles remained a half-game behind Detroit for the AL’s second wild card.
Baltimore trailed 2-0 before Pedro Alvarez homered in the eighth off Enrique Burgos, and Matt Wieters homered against Daniel Hudson leading off the ninth.
Oliver Drake (1-0) pitched a scoreless 12th for his first big league win. Matt Koch (1-1) relieved to start the bottom half and Trumbo sent his first pitch over the left-field fence, setting off a celebration.
BLUE JAYS 9, YANKEES 0
TORONTO (AP) — Francisco Liriano and three relievers combined on a three-hitter, Troy Tulowitzki had four RBIs and the Toronto routed New York to maintain a one-game lead in the AL wild-card standings.
Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer, Edwin Encarnacion had his 124th RBI — tied with Boston’s David Ortiz for the AL lead — and the Blue Jays won their sixth straight home game over New York.
New York was shut out for the second straight night and lost for the ninth time in 12 games, following a seven-game winning streak. The Yankees have gone 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position in their last two games and stranded 17 runners.
Liriano (8-13) escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Chase Headley to end a 27-pitch first inning, then left runners at the corners after the first two batters reached in the third. That was the start of a stretch that saw the left-hander retire nine straight. Liriano allowed three hits, walked two and struck out six for his second win with Toronto. Bryan Mitchell (1-2) was the loser.
BREWERS 5, REDS 4
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chris Carter homered, Ryan Braun had a late clutch hit and Milwaukee its second triple play of the season in a victory over Cincinnati.
Carter hit his 38th home run of the season leading off the second against Anthony DeSclafani (8-4).
Jose Peraza put the Reds in front with a three-run homer with one out in the fifth off Milwaukee starter Zach Davies.
The Brewers scored in the sixth on Carter’s RBI groundout to cut the lead to 3-2. Milwaukee loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, chasing DeSclafani. Scooter Gennett drew a walk off reliever Tony Cingrani to tie it. Milwaukee regained the lead when Braun followed with a two-run single off Blake Wood.
Brent Suter (2-1) retired the only batter he faced to get the victory. Tyler Thornburg finished for his 13th save.
ANGELS 10, ASTROS 6
HOUSTON (AP) — Yunel Escobar hit a two-run homer and pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega had three RBIs during a six-run ninth inning, lifting Los Angeles past Houston.
Houston fell 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers for the second AL wild card.
Houston led 6-4 when Escobar sent a slider from Ken Giles (2-5) into the seats in left field to start the ninth. Giles walked Mike Trout with one out before intentionally walking Albert Pujols. C.J. Cron followed with a bloop single to score Trout and put the Angels on top.
Giles was replaced by Michael Feliz after loading the bases with a walk. Ortega cleared the bases with his two-out double that deflected off shortstop Carlos Correa’s glove to extend the lead.
Cody Ege (1-0) got the last two outs of the eighth inning for the win.
TIGERS 8, ROYALS 3
DETROIT (AP) — Michael Fulmer pitched seven sharp innings for his first win in over a month and Detroit homered three times in a victory over Kansas City.
Justin Upton, Victor Martinez and Cameron Maybin went deep to help the Tigers win their fifth straight while chasing a postseason spot. Upton has 27 homers, including 14 in his last 29 games.
Fulmer (11-7) allowed a run and eight hits, striking out nine with no walks. Danny Duffy (12-3) allowed six runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. Kansas City has lost nine of its last 12.
MARINERS 10, TWINS 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Robinson Cano had four hits and two RBIs, and Nelson Cruz added a towering two-run homer among his four RBIs and struggling Seattle beat Minnesota.
James Paxton pitched seven strong innings and finally received a boost from the offense, which broke out with a six-run seventh inning. Paxton (5-7) struck out nine and allowed one run on five hits.
The Mariners (81-72) passed Houston — which lost to the Los Angeles Angels — in the standings but still trail Detroit by two games for the second wild card.
Kyle Gibson (6-10) gave up two runs, five hits and four walks for Minnesota.
BRAVES 3, MARLINS 2.
MIAMI (AP) — Adonis Garcia hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning, and Atlanta beat Miami for its season-high seventh straight win
Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 27 games with a sixth-inning double. Atlanta’s winning streak is its longest since it won nine in a row from June 27-July 5, 2014.
With the score 2-2, Emilio Bonifacio singled with one out off A.J. Ramos (1-4), stole his first base this season, took third on catcher J.T. Realmuto’s throwing error and came home on Garcia’s single to center.
Brandon Cuniff (2-0) struck out two of three batters in a hitless eighth, and Mauricio Cabrera threw a hitless ninth for his sixth save in seven chances with the Braves.