Braves, Cards, Athletics Are In 9/23/13
The Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics were able to celebrate playoff berths before they completed their games on Sunday. Washington's loss to Miami allowed the Braves to clinch their first NL East title in eight years and put the Redbirds back into the postseason. The A's became AL West champs when Texas fell at Kansas City.
The Braves also earned a 5-2 win over the Cubs. Andrelton (AN'-drehl-tuhn) Simmons homered twice and drove in three runs before Craig Kimbrel notched his major league-leading 49th save.
Coco Crisp hit a three-run homer and the Athletics overcame Oswaldo Arcia's six RBIs to beat Minnesota 11-7. Daric Barton and Jed Lowrie added solo shots for Oakland.
The Cardinals still lead the NL Central by two games over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Norichika Aoki (nohr-ih-CHEE'-kuh ah-OH'-kee) drove in a run and scored three times as Milwaukee beat the Redbirds 6-4. The Brewers scored three unearned runs off Joe Kelly, who had one of the Cards' three errors.
Cleveland has a 1 ½-game lead over Texas for the second AL wild-card berth.
Michael Brantley and Michael Bourn drove in two runs apiece as the Indians hammered Houston 9-2 to cap a four-game sweep. Carlos Santana homered for the Indians, who are the first team since the 1961 Yankees to sweep six four-game series.
The Rangers lost to Kansas City 4-0 on Justin Maxwell's grand slam in the bottom of the 10th. Royals starter James Shields gave up six hits in eight innings.
The Rays beat Baltimore 3-1 to remain the AL's wild-card leader. Enny Romero allowed just one hit in 4 2/3 innings of his major league debut before five relievers finished a combined three-hitter.
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are back in a tie for the two NL wild-card berths following the Reds' 11-3 rout of the Pirates. Jay Bruce hit a three-run double and Todd Frazier followed with a homer that capped the Reds' five-run first. Bruce finished with four RBIs and rookie Billy Hamilton added three hits and two stolen bases.
Detroit's magic number to win the AL Central remains two. Conor Gillaspie hit a two-run triple and Erik Johnson pitched into the seventh inning as the Chicago White Sox doubled up the Tigers 6-3.
In other major league action, Chris Yelich hit a two-run homer and Giancarlo Stanton added a solo shot as the Marlins beat Washington 4-2 in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The Nationals took the nightcap 5-4 as Eury Perez scored on third baseman Chris Coghlan's error in the bottom of the ninth. Denard Span had three RBIs in Game 2 for the Nats, who are five games in back of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the NL wild-card race.
- David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered to lead the AL East champion Boston Red Sox to a 5-2 victory over the last-place Toronto Blue Jays.
- Zack Greinke (GREHN'-kee) combined with three relievers on a two-hitter to lead the Dodgers over the Padres 1-0.
- Justin Smoak hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer and Felix Hernandez struck out 10 in four innings as Seattle nipped the Angels 3-2.
- Matt Davidson hit a three-run homer and Chris Owings had two RBIs as Arizona outscored Colorado 13-9.
- Wilfredo Tovar went 2-for-4 with a tiebreaking single in his major league debut to help the New York Mets beat Philadelphia 4-3 and complete a three-game sweep.
- And San Francisco beat the Yankees 2-1 in Mariano Rivera's final game in the Bronx. The 43-year-old all-time saves leader got the final five outs, including a strikeout. The Yankees held a 50-minute pregame ceremony and retired the No. 42 of Rivera, who announced during spring training that this will be his final season. Starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, who is also retiring, took the loss to fall to 10-11. The Yankees saw their wild card hopes dwindle and are four back of Cleveland for the final wild card spot.