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Astros claim AL West title; Rox take over 2nd wild card spot

NEWS
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25   //    26 Sep 2018, 12:26 IST
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TORONTO (AP) — The Houston Astros clinched another AL West title and reached 100 wins for the second straight season, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Tuesday night behind Alex Bregman's two-run homer.

Houston improved to 100-57 and was assured of first place hours later when second-place Oakland (95-63) lost at Seattle. The Astros will open the Division Series at home against Cleveland on Oct. 5.

The Astros need three wins in their final five games to break the franchise record for victories in a season, set in 1998.

Houston is 18-4 in September and 54-22 on the road, both best in the major leagues.

Roberto Osuna needed just six pitches in the ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances. Earlier Tuesday, assault charges against Osuna were dropped because the complainant, who lives in Mexico, made clear she would not travel to Toronto to testify.

Josh James (2-0) allowed one run and four hits in five innings in his third big league start.

Bregman went 2 for 5 and extended his club-record streak of reaching base safely on the road to 53 games.

Bregman hit his 31st homer, a two-run drive in the first off Sam Gaviglio. Billy McKinney's sixth homer cut the gap in half in the third, but Houston widened its lead in the sixth when Tyler White chased Gaviglio with an RBI single and pinch-hitter Evan Gattis had a sacrifice fly off Danny Barnes.

Gaviglio (3-9) allowed four runs — three earned — and six hits in five-plus innings, his fifth straight winless outing.

MARINERS 10, ATHLETICS 8, 11 INNINGS

SEATTLE (AP) — Pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann's two-run homer in the 11th inning gave Seattle a 10-8 win over Oakland and clinched the AL West for Houston, leaving the Athletics with a wild-card matchup against the New York Yankees.

Seattle overcame an 8-5 eighth-inning deficit and dropped the A's 2½ games behind the Yankees for home-field advantage in the Oct. 3 winner-take-all matchup. Oakland had been 68-0 when leading after seven innings.

Denard Span hit a two-run double off Fernando Rodney in the eighth.

Blake Treinen was one strike from closing out his 38th save in the ninth, but Nelson Cruz punched a two-out single, Ryon Healy reached when third baseman Matt Chapman bobbled his grounder for an error and Kyle Seager hit an RBI single. Treinen had allowed just one hit in his previous 13 appearances.

Ben Gamel walked with one out in the 11th against Emilio Pagan (3-1), and Herrmann batted for Andrew Romine and sent an 0-1 fastball out to deep right-center field.

Alex Colome (7-5) pitched the 11th for the victory.

ROCKIES 10, PHILLIES 3

DENVER (AP) — David Dahl homered for a second straight night, a three-run shot in the third, and the Colorado Rockies vaulted into the final NL wild-card spot by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 10-3 on Tuesday night.

The Rockies' fifth straight win moved them a half-game in front of St. Louis for the second wild-card after the Cardinals lost 12-4 to Milwaukee. Colorado trailed the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers by 1½ games entering the night and still has a chance to win its first division title. The Rockies have five games remaining.

The game-changing hit was delivered by Dahl, who lined a fastball from Vince Velasquez (9-12) to left for his 12th homer — nearly to the same spot where Dahl hit a two-run homer the previous night. Dahl also added a run-scoring single as part of a 3-for-5, 4-RBI evening.

The Rockies used seven relievers, with DJ Johnson (1-0) getting one out in the third to earn his first big league win.

BREWERS 12, CARDINALS 4

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Christian Yelich homered and drove in six runs, and surging Milwaukee hurt St. Louis' playoff chances.

Ryan Braun went deep twice and Jesus Aguilar also connected as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games and moved within one-half game of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. Manny Pina had two hits and drove in a run, and pitcher Gio Gonzalez contributed an RBI single for just his fourth hit of the season.

The Cardinals (87-71) fell one-half game behind the Colorado Rockies (87-70), who beat Philadelphia 10-3, for the second NL wild card. Milwaukee (91-67) leads Colorado by 3½ games for the top wild card.

Milwaukee scored each of its first six runs with two outs. Aguilar and Braun hit back-to-back homers in the first off rookie Austin Gomber (6-2), and Gonzalez chased the left-hander with his hit in the fourth.

Gonzalez lasted four innings. Taylor Williams (1-3), the third of seven Milwaukee pitchers, got three outs for the win.

PIRATES 6, CUBS 0

CHICAGO (AP) — Slugger Kris Bryant exited with a bruised left wrist, Mike Montgomery got hit hard over four-plus innings and the Chicago Cubs stumbled again in their playoff run by losing to Pittsburgh.

The Cubs missed a chance to clinch a franchise-record fourth straight trip to the postseason for the second time in as many nights. And their lead in the NL Central over Milwaukee shrunk to a half game, with the Brewers beating St. Louis 12-4.

Chicago needed a win plus a loss by Colorado to Philadelphia to secure a playoff spot and extend a run that includes a drought-ending World Series championship in 2016. But the Cubs lost for the fourth time in sixth games while the Rockies won 10-3.

Bryant got struck by a pitch from Chris Archer (3-3) in the fourth inning and was replaced at third base in the sixth by Ian Happ, who had pinch hit in the fifth.

Montgomery (5-6) gave up five runs and seven hits, and the Cubs got shut out for the 11th time this season.

NATIONALS 9, MARLINS 4

WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer became the 17th pitcher since 1900 to strike out 300 batters in a season, reaching that milestone by fanning 10 in seven innings during Washington's otherwise meaningless win over Miami.

Scherzer (18-7) lowered his ERA to 2.53 by allowing one run in seven innings as he bids for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award; he also won the 2013 honor in the AL for Detroit.

The righty reached the 300-strikeout mark by getting Austin Dean to whiff on an 85-mph slider at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat for the second out of the seventh.

Washington's Anthony Rendon hit a three-run shot in the first inning off Jeff Brigham (0-4), increasing his season totals to 24 homers and 90 RBIs and extending his streak of reaching base to 33 straight games.

YANKEES 9, RAYS 2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Struggling Gary Sanchez drove in four runs for the first time since early April, Luis Severino won his 19th game and New York beat Tampa Bay to keep up its push for home-field advantage in the AL wild-card game.

Sanchez had been 10 for 66 (.152) since returning Sept. 1 from a groin strain and 1 for his last 28, dropping his average to .180. He hit a three-run homer off Jalen Beeks in a seven-run third inning, his first long ball since Sept. 10, and added an RBI single in the fifth.

Severino (19-8) is competing for Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ to start in the Oct. 3 winner-take-all game against Oakland. The Yankees opened a 2½-game lead over the Athletics for home-field advantage.

Adeiny Hechavarria homered against Jake Faria (4-4) leading off the third. Luke Voit had an RBI double, Beeks walked Neil Walker with the bases loaded, Miguel Andujar hit a sacrifice fly and Sanchez followed with his 17th homer.

INDIANS 5, WHITE SOX 4

CHICAGO (AP) — Trevor Bauer took a step toward returning to Cleveland's rotation for the postseason by tossing four effective innings, but Chicago overcame a two-run, ninth-inning deficit and beat Cleveland.

Carlos Carrasco (16-10) followed Bauer with his second relief appearance this season. Carrasco tossed one-hit, shutout ball through four innings and entered the ninth with a 4-2 lead before the White Sox scored three times and snapped a three-game losing streak.

The White Sox need to win one of their last five games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1970, when they went 56-106.

White Sox starter James Shields allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in six innings. Reliever Ian Hamilton (1-2) got one out in the ninth to earn the win.

BRAVES 7, METS 3

NEW YORK (AP) — Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning, Ozzie Albies homered in the eighth and NL East champion Atlanta rallied past New York for its sixth straight victory.

Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson exited early with a sore left hand, and the Braves were held scoreless by Noah Syndergaard for six innings. But they jumped all over the Mets' bullpen for seven runs in the next two innings to match their longest winning streak of the season.

Mets captain David Wright was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list before the game but did not play even though he was available off the bench.

Kurt Suzuki drove in two runs for the Braves, who trailed 3-0 before rallying against Robert Gsellman (6-3) in the seventh. Acuna's two-run single off Drew Smith gave Atlanta a 4-3 lead.

Dan Winkler (4-0) allowed a run in one inning for the win.

TIGERS 4, TWINS 2

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Harold Castro's first career hit started an eighth-inning rally that led Detroit past Minnesota.

Joe Mauer set the Twins' record for reaching base. He singled in the first inning, reaching base for the 3,073 time in his career and surpassing Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Victor Alcantara (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning in relief of starter Spencer Turnbull, who allowed one run in six innings in his second major league start. Shane Greene earned his 32nd save.

Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger (4-6) surrendered four runs and retired one batter while giving up three hits and a walk.

ROYALS 4, REDS 3

CINCINNATI (AP) — Hunter Dozier led off the ninth inning with a tie-breaking home run, lifting Kansas City over Cincinnati.

Dozier's 11th homer of the season, off Raisel Iglesias (2-5), left Kansas City needing two wins in its last five games to avoid tying the franchise record of 106 losses in a season, set in 2005.

Kevin McCarthy (5-4) worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth and earned the win. The Reds loaded the bases again in the ninth with two outs against Wily Peralta. But Joey Votto grounded out and Peralta earned his 14th save.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, DODGERS 3

PHOENIX (AP) — Eduardo Escobar homered off Kenta Maeda leading off the ninth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks tightened the NL West race.

Los Angeles (88-70) had won 10 of its previous 12 games to surge into the NL West lead, but Colorado (87-70) pulled within a half-game of the NL champions by beating Philadelphia 10-3.

Chris Taylor hit a tying double off Brad Boxberger (3-7) in the top of the ninth. Escobar sent a full-count fastball from Maeda (8-10) into the right-field seats, stopping Arizona's four-game losing streak.

David Peralta had a two-run double and pinch-hitter Ildemaro Vargas lined a run-scoring single in the seventh inning for Arizona (80-78), which needs two wins to ensure consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2007-08.

Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run for the Dodgers.

ANGELS 4, RANGERS 1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton and Kaleb Cowart drove in runs and the Los Angeles Angels rallied with four runs in the sixth inning to beat Texas.

Noe Ramirez (7-5) earned the victory in relief.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the third when Joey Gallo hit his 40th homer of the season to deep center. Gallo has three more homers than singles (37) this season.

Gallo became the fourth Rangers player to have back-to-back 40-homer seasons.

GIANTS 5, PADRES 4, 12 INNINGS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pitcher Madison Bumgarner had the first game-ending hit of his career, a pinch-hit single in the 12th inning that drove in Gorkys Hernandez, and lifted San Francisco.

Hunter Pence homered and scored three times in what was likely one of his final games with San Francisco. Gregor Blanco had a two-run single and Evan Longoria added an RBI double.

The Giants recorded their 10th walk-off win of the season, and won for just the fifth time in 22 games.

Freddy Galvis had four hits and a walk, continuing his offensive surge for San Diego. Eric Hosmer added a two-run single.

At 63-95, the Padres are assured of their worst record since 2008, when they finished 63-99.

After Hernandez tripled off Rowan Wick (0-1), and without a position player left on his bench, Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to his best hitting pitcher.

Bumgarner took a called strike and then lined a sharp single past third baseman Myers to drive in the winning run.

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