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Angels clinch playoff spot, beat Mariners 8-1

September 16, 2014

ANAHEIM, California (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels became the first team in the major leagues to clinch a playoff spot Monday after Matt Shoemaker allowed five hits into the eighth inning of an 8-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

David Freese and Brennan Boesch homered for the MLB -leading Angels (94-56), who reduced their magic number to three in the AL West race with their 11th victory in 12 games. Los Angeles is assured of at least a wild card berth in its first postseason since 2009.

Albert Pujols left the game in the third inning with a left hamstring cramp after hitting a three-run double off Hisashi Iwakuma (14-8) for Los Angeles’ first runs.

The Mariners (80-69) dropped two games behind Kansas City for the second AL wild card spot with their fifth loss in six games.

The Baltimore Orioles moved to the brink of claiming their first American League East title in 17 years, using a resilient pitching performance by Chen Wei-yin to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2.

Baltimore can clinch the division crown with a win over Toronto on Tuesday. That would assure the Orioles their second playoff berth in three years following a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons.

Chen (16-4) allowed two runs on nine hits over 5 2-3 innings to become the first Orioles lefty to win 16 games since Jimmy Key in 1997 — the year Baltimore last won the AL East.

At Atlanta, Stephen Strasburg threw seven scoreless innings as the Washington Nationals beat the struggling Atlanta Braves 4-2 to move to the verge of the National League East title.

The Nationals can clinch the division by beating the defending champion Braves on Tuesday night. Strasburg (12-11) ended a streak of eight winless starts against Atlanta since 2012.

The San Francisco Giants lost their third consecutive game when Mark Trumbo hit a grand slam to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6-2 victory.

San Francisco’s NL West chances took a hit with consecutive losses to the Dodgers over the weekend, but the Giants are still in control of the wild-card race, beginning the day with a three-game lead over Pittsburgh for the top spot.

In other games, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning to help the Detroit Tigers downed the Minnesota Twins 8-6, the Kansas City Royals edged the Chicago White Sox 4-3, the Tampa Bay Rays blanked the New York Yankees 1-0 and the Los Angeles Dodgers trounced the Colorado Rockies 11-3.

Jose Altuve had three hits to give him 209 this season and drove in two runs to lead the Houston Astros over Cleveland Indians 3-1, the San Diego Padres shut out the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0, the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds by the same margin and the Miami Marlins were 6-5 winners over the New York Mets.

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