Dodgers, Tigers seal playoff berths, Yankees out
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers sealed their berths in the playoffs while the New York Yankees were eliminated from contention as the postseason picture came closer to being framed on Wednesday.
The Dodgers beat second-placed San Francisco to clinch the National League West crown, while Detroit downed the Chicago White Sox to ensure the Tigers of at least a wild card if they do not hold their current lead in the American League Central.
In other key results as the regular season headed toward its climax, St. Louis and Pittsburgh both lost to keep the Cardinals 1-1/2 games clear atop the NL Central, while Kansas City, Seattle and Oakland were all defeated, damaging their postseason prospects.
Los Angeles’ starter Clayton Kershaw tied a career high with his 21st victory of the season as he steered the Dodgers to a 9-1 victory over San Francisco.
Fittingly, the Dodgers claimed their second straight division title thanks to Kershaw (21-3), the probable NL Cy Young Award winner and MVP candidate who has been the catalyst behind their success this season.
Yasiel Puig homered to highlight a four-run sixth inning that effectively sealed the result.
While the Dodgers celebrated, their old rivals, the Yankees, were officially knocked out of playoff contention after a 9-5 defeat at home against Baltimore.
There will be no fairytale finish for retiring great Derek Jeter, who went 0 for 4 as the designated hitter in his penultimate game at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees missed the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992 and ’93. The only other time New York missed the playoffs during the retiring captain’s 20-season big league career was in 2008.
Nelson Cruz had four hits as Baltimore remained 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels for the best record in the AL.
St. Louis missed a chance to shore up its hold on the NL Central title when they lost 3-1 at the Chicago Cubs.
The Cardinals kept their 1-1/2 game divisional lead over Pittsburgh.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (10-5), coming off a one-hit shutout against Cincinnati last week, gave up only two hits in seven innings, and also contributed at the plate, hitting a two-run triple.
Pittsburgh could have closed the gap on St. Louis to half a game but fell 6-2 at Atlanta.
The Pirates also lost catcher Russell Martin to a hamstring strain which forced him out of the game in the fifth inning.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke (7-6) allowed six runs and 13 baserunners — eight hits and five walks — in only four innings.
A clearing of the benches proved the turning point as Detroit came back to win 6-1 against the White Sox as clinch a postseason berth.
The Tigers lead the AL Central by two games over Kansas City. Detroit was assured of at least a wild-card spot when Seattle lost.
White Sox ace Chris Sale was breezing along toward a shutout when he hit Victor Martinez with a pitch in the sixth. The two exchanged words and the benches and bullpens emptied.
It seemed to spark the Tigers and Ian Kinsler gave Detroit the lead with an RBI double in the seventh.
Tigers’ starter Justin Verlander (15-12) allowed one run in eight innings.
Kansas City dropped further behind the Tigers and Cleveland kept a faint pulse in their playoff hopes with a 6-4 win against the Royals.
Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer and Michael Brantley got three more hits for the Indians, who would have been eliminated from contention had they lost.
After blowing a 3-0 lead, they rallied and moved within 3-1/2 games of Kansas City and Oakland in the wild-card standings with four games to play.
Toronto beat Seattle 1-0 to push the Mariners closer to elimination from playoff calculations.
Mark Buehrle (13-10) pitched eight scoreless innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts; one shy of his season high. In the process he passed 200 innings pitched for the 14th consecutive season.
The Mariners lost their fifth straight game to slide from contenders to the brink of early vacations.
The Angels edged Oakland 5-4 to leave the Athletics still in a tie with Kansas City for the two AL wild-card spots — with the Royals holding the tiebreaker advantage and home-field advantage in the wild-card game if they finish on the same win-loss record.
Howie Kendrick doubled and drove in three runs for Los Angeles, which has already sealed the AL West division.
Milwaukee staved off elimination by winning 5-0 at Cincinnati.
Brewers’ starter Kyle Lohse (13-9) pitched his second shutout of the season and also drove in a run.
Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick pitched seven innings and contributed three hits and an RBI to lead the Phillies past Miami 2-1.
Boston’s Anthony Ranaudo pitched seven strong innings to lead the Red Sox to an 11-3 victory over Tampa Bay.
Texas’ Lisalverto Bonilla became the first pitcher in Rangers history to win his first three career starts as he steered his team to a 5-1 victory against state rival Houston.
San Diego pitcher Joe Wieland earned his first big league win in the Padres’ 4-3 victory over Colorado.