Unchallenged for months, the Cleveland Indians clinched their third straight A.L. Central title with a 15-0 blowout on Saturday of the visiting Detroit Tigers, who made four errors and managed only two hits.
Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley connected for back-to-back homers in the first inning off Michael Fulmer (3-12), Jose Ramirez had three hits and the Indians built an 11-0 lead after two on the way to becoming the first team to clinch a division championship this season.
It’s the initial step toward an October when Cleveland will try to win its first World Series since 1948 – the longest drought in the majors. After so many close calls, the Indians believe this is their year.
Cleveland’s current three-year reign in the Central is the club’s longest since winning five straight from 1995-99. The Indians became the first team this year to clinch a division and the second assured of the postseason after Boston, which will be no worse than a wild card.
Mike Clevinger (12-8) allowed one hit in six innings, and Yonder Alonso added a two-run homer as Cleveland’s offense awakened from a late-season slump.
Red Sox 5, Mets 3: Pinch-hitter Brock Holt drove a tiebreaking double off the Green Monster on the first pitch after Jackie Bradley Jr. hit one off the very top of the left-field wall, helping Boston lower its magic number to four.
Rick Porcello earned his 10th straight interleague victory, pitching five innings of two-hit ball as the Red Sox improved their major league-best record to 102-47. Steve Pearce had three hits for Boston, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 41st save.
Boston’s 102 wins is third-most in franchise history, passing the 1915 World Series championship team.
Dodgers 17, Cardinals 4: Yasiel Puig homered three times and had a career-high seven RBIs, giving him five homers in two games, and visiting Los Angeles moved into first place in the NL West. The Dodgers moved a half-game ahead of Colorado in the division following the Rockies’ 3-0 loss to San Francisco. The Cardinals are a half-game behind Colorado in the race for the second National League wild card.
Puig hit a solo homer in the fourth off John Gant and three-run drives in the fifth against Mike Mayers and in the seventh versus Luke Weaver. Puig raised his season total to 21 homers with the first three-homer game of his major league career. He became the fourth Dodgers hitter since 2000 with consecutive multihomer games after Cody Bellinger, Adrian Beltre, and Shawn Green.
Bellinger hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Weaver and had a career-high six RBIs. The defending N.L. champions have won four consecutive games and nine of their last 14.
Astros 10, Diamondbacks 4: George Springer had four hits and scored three runs to help Houston defeat visiting Arizona and extend its lead in the A.L. West.
The Astros managed 12 hits – including 10 singles – and drew seven walks. Coupled with Oakland’s 7-5 loss at Tampa Bay, the Astros extended their lead to 3 1/2 games over the Athletics in the division with 14 games remaining.
Giants 3, Rockies 0: Madison Bumgarner pitched six strong innings, and Austin Slater and Hunter Pence drove in runs as San Francisco knocked visiting Colorado out of first place in the National League West.
The Rockies slipped a half-game behind the Dodgers in the division. Los Angeles beat St. Louis 17-4 Saturday.
The Giants shut out Colorado for the second straight game after starting the month of September with 11 straight losses, their worst winless stretch since moving to San Francisco.
Nationals 7, Braves 1: Washington 19-year-old rookie Juan Soto become the youngest player to steal three bases in a game, had an RBI single and scored the tiebreaking run as Washington stopped Atlanta’s season-best, six-game winning streak.
Soto hit an RBI single in the first inning and stole second, then walked in the fourth, stole two bases and came home on a bases-loaded walk for a 2-1 lead. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he surpassed the mark set by Oakland’s Rickey Henderson at 20 years, 241 days on Aug. 23, 1979, against Cleveland,
Soto also extended his on-base streak to 20 consecutive games, one night after joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline as the only teenagers to reach safely in 19 straight.
Cubs 1, Reds 0: Jon Lester allowed two hits over seven innings with a season-high nine strikeouts, Willson Contreras hit a run-scoring single in the sixth inning and Chicago maintained its N.L. Central lead by defeating Cincinnati in Chicago.
Seeking their third straight division title, the Cubs moved 2 1/2 games ahead of second-place Milwaukee, which lost 3-1 to Pittsburgh. Chicago has won three straight and four of five.
Lester is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA in his last six starts, following a mid-season slump. A day after saying closer Pedro Strop has a hamstring strain that will cause him to miss the rest of the regular season, four pitchers combined for two-hit relief.
Cody Reed allowed two hits and struck out a career-high 10 in five innings, matching his longest outing this season.
Blue Jays 8, Yankees 7: CC Sabathia got clocked early and New York, despite hitting four home runs during a furious rally, kept wobbling toward a playoff spot in a loss to visiting Toronto.
Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer with the Yankees down 5-0 in the sixth inning. It was 8-1 in the seventh before Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton homered and Miguel Andujar launched a grand slam.
New York maintained its 1 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the top A.L. wild-card slot. The Athletics lost to Tampa Bay 7-5. The Yankees are just 6-7 this month.
Rays 7, Athletics 5: Jake Bauers hit a three-run homer off Jeurys Familia in the eighth inning to help Tampa Bay slow playoff-chasing Oakland in St. Petersburg, Florida. Oakland remains 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the top A.L. wild card after New York lost to Toronto earlier in the day. The A’s have dropped two of three since winning six straight. Ferris alum Andrew Kittredge (2-2) retired Mark Canha with the bases loaded in the eighth to preserve a 4-4 tie and win a game in which both teams used relievers as openers. Tampa Bay and Oakland have been at the forefront of that trend this season.
Phillies 5, Marlins 4: Cesar Hernandez hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the fifth, seven relievers combined on seven shutout innings and Philadelphia picked up its second win over visiting Miami after a five-game losing streak. Philadelphia overcame a 4-0 deficit and closed within 6 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta in the N.L. East with 15 games left. The Phillies remained five games back for the NL’s second wild-card spot.
Pirates 3, Brewers 1: Zach Davies failed to hold an early lead and gave up a go-ahead double to Francisco Cervelli in the fourth inning that lifted Pittsburgh past the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee lost for just the fourth time in 15 games and dropped 2 1/2 games behind the N.L. Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
Rangers 6, Padres 3: Robinson Chirinos hit a three-run double during a five-run sixth inning to help Texas defeat the Padres in San Diego. San Diego led 3-1 prior to the big inning. The Padres fell to 59-90, losing 90 games for the third straight season.
White Sox 2, Orioles 0: Reynaldo Lopez was sharp over seven innings to continue his late-season surge and lift Chicago past the Orioles in Baltimore. The 24-year-old Lopez (6-9) has a 1.10 ERA over his past five starts.
Royals 10, Twins 3: Ian Kennedy pitched six innings to earn his first win since the first week of April, Alex Gordon drove in five runs and Kansas City defeated visiting Minnesota for its fifth win in six games.
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