Tigers Clinch...Rays, Indians, Rangers Win...Cards Widen Gap 9/26/13
The American League division champions are finally set, but there remains a fierce, three-team scramble for the AL's two wild-card berths.
The Detroit Tigers are the AL Central champs for the third straight year, clinching the division with a 1-0 shutout of the Twins in Minnesota. Max Scherzer is 21-3 after holding the Twins to two hits while striking out 10 in seven innings. Neither team scored after Austin Jackson tripled and scored on Torii Hunter's single just two batters into the game.
Tampa Bay moved another step closer to winning a wild-card berth and stayed a game ahead of the Indians by thumping the New York Yankees 8-3. Evan Longoria went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and a solo shot, while David DeJesus added a solo blast and two RBIs. David Price gave up two runs in seven innings to help the Rays eliminate the Yanks from the wild-card race.
Cleveland has maintained a one-game lead over Texas for the second AL wild-card berth with a 7-2 victory over Chicago. Nick Swisher smacked a two-run homer and Asdrubal (as-DROO'-bul) Cabrera added a two-run single in the Indians' team-record 14th consecutive win over the White Sox. Rookie Danny Salazar struck out eight and limited Chicago to a pair of runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Rangers kept pace with Cleveland. Martin (mahr-TEEN') Perez struck out eight and allowed three runs over seven innings of a 7-3 triumph over Houston. Leonys Martin (lee-OH'-nihs mahr-TEEN') put Texas ahead to stay with a three-run double in the fourth before Ian Kinsler added an RBI single and a solo shot.
The St. Louis Cardinals have reduced their magic number for winning the National League Central to one over Pittsburgh while also eliminating Cincinnati from the division race.
Rookie Shelby Miller picked up his 15th victory and Yadier Molina (YAH'-dee-ay moh-LEE'-nah) hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning of the Cardinals' 4-1 win against Washington. Miller held the Nationals to a run and four hits in six innings to help the Redbirds complete a three-game sweep.
Matt Adams homered for the Cards, who now lead their division by three games over Pittsburgh with three games remaining for both teams.
The Pirates lost ground by falling to the Cubs 4-2 in Chicago. The game was tied 1-1 until Darnell McDonald launched a three-run homer in the sixth inning, allowing the Cubs to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Bucs still own a one-game lead over Cincinnati for the first NL wild-card berth.
The Reds fell 1-0 to the New York Mets in the rubber match of their three-game set. Daisuke Matsuzaka (DYS'-kay maht-soo-ZAH'-kah) scattered four hits in 7 2/3 innings, leaving him 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his last four starts. Eric Young singled home the game's lone run to highlight the Mets' four-hit attack.
The Cardinals also own the National League's best record by a half-game after Atlanta lost 4-0 to Milwaukee. Kyle Lohse (lohsh) needed just 89 pitches to complete a two-hitter.
Carlos Gomez put the Brewers ahead with a solo homer in the first inning and was ejected before he ever crossed home plate. Gomez stood at the plate and watched the flight of the ball before starting to run toward first. He got into shouting matches with first baseman Freddie Freeman and pitcher Paul Maholm (mah-HAH'-luhm) before he was met by catcher Brian McCann halfway between home and third. McCann and Gomez screamed at each other and had to be separated as players spilled out of the dugouts and bullpens. Gomez, Freeman and backup catcher Gerald Laird were tossed from the game.
Also in the majors, Oakland was a 3-1 loser to the Angels as Jered Weaver held the Athletics to five hits over seven innings. Josh Hamilton had two RBIs for Los Angeles, which damaged Oakland's shot at gaining home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
The Red Sox clobbered Colorado 15-5 to take a two-game lead over the A's for the top seed in the AL playoffs. Will Middlebrooks led Boston's assault with a grand slam and a three-run homer to finish with a career-high seven RBIs. Shane Victorino added a three-run homer, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (sahl-tah-lah-MAH'-kee-uh) went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Tony Abreu hit a bases-loaded triple and had four RBIs in San Francisco's 6-4 verdict over the Dodgers. Pablo Sandoval belted a two-run homer and Barry Zito kept Los Angeles to one earned run and four hits in five innings. Matt Kemp had three hits and two RBIs for the Dodgers, who are two games down in the loss column as they try to earn home-field advantage for the NL division series.
Kansas City eliminated itself from the AL wild-card race as Hisashi Iwakuma (hih-SAH'-shee ih-wah-KOO'-mah) struck out nine and scattered four hits in eight innings of Seattle's 6-0 shutout of the Royals. Mike Zunino hit a couple of solo homers, Michael Saunders added a solo shot and Kyle Seager doubled home a pair to help Iwakuma get his 14th win.
Ryan Flaherty hit a pair of two-run homers and Baltimore's bullpen allowed two runs over five innings of a 9-5 rout of Toronto. Steve Pearce and Jonathan Schoop added solo homers for the Orioles, who were eliminated from postseason contention the previous night.
Adeiny Hechavarria (ah-DAY'-nee ehch-eh-vah-REE'-ah) hit a two-run triple and had three RBIs in Miami's 3-2 win over Philadelphia. Placido Polanco (PLAH'-sih-doh poh-LAHN'-koh) had three of the Marlins' six hits and scored once.
Pinch-hitter Chris Robinson hit a three-run homer and Chase Headley had three RBIs in San Diego's 12-2 romp over Arizona. Chris Denorfia was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored to back Ian Kennedy, who held his old team to two runs and six hits in seven innings.