Nats, Birds clinch division titles
(AP) — Major League Baseball’s first two division champions were crowned on Tuesday, and they reside about 40 miles apart. The Washington Nationals clinched the National League East for the second time in three seasons, a few minutes before the Baltimore Orioles claimed their first American League East title in 17 years.
Tanner Roark pitched five-hit ball over seven innings as the Nats shut out the Braves 3-0 in Atlanta. The game was scoreless until Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to help Roark pick up his 14th win. Desmond also scored an insurance run on a wild pitch in the ninth.
Steve Pearce hit a go-ahead, three-run homer and Baltimore’s bullpen tossed four scoreless innings in an 8-2 rout of Toronto. Jimmy Paredes added a solo shot before Alejandro De Aza put the game out of reach with a three-run triple in the seventh.
The Blue Jays collected just four hits in moving a step closer to elimination in the AL wild-card race.
Baseball’s tightest division race remains in the AL Central, where Detroit still leads by 1 ½ games over Kansas City after both teams blew late leads.
Minnesota rallied to beat Detroit 4-3 after J.D. Martinez launched a two-out, three-run homer to put the Tigers ahead 3-2 in the top of the ninth. Kurt Suzuki tied the score for the Twins with an RBI double before Aaron Hicks poked a walkoff single to end the Tigers’ four-game winning streak.
The Royals were enjoying a 5-4 lead until Conor Gillaspie laced a bases-loaded triple in the seventh inning to lift the Chicago White Sox over Kansas City 7-5. Alex Gordon had two RBIs for the Royals, who lost despite Nori Aoki’s second straight four-hit game.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Seattle is just a game behind Kansas City for the AL’s second wild-card berth after Chris Taylor doubled home the go-ahead run and collected three RBIs in the Mariners’ 13-2 laugher over the Angels. Los Angeles led 2-0 until Mike Zunino hit a two-run double in the Mariners’ four-run fifth
— Jake Smolinski smacked a two-run homer and Nick Tepesch allowed three runs in six innings as Texas doubled up Oakland 6-3, reducing the Angels’ magic number for clinching the AL West to two. The Rangers tagged Scott Kazmir for six runs and nine hits in just 4 1/3 innings.
— Colorado halted a seven-game skid and slowed the Dodgers’ run to a division crown by crushing Los Angeles 10-4. Corey Dickerson hit a two-run homer and a two-run triple to help the Rockies withstand Yasiel Puig’s first homer since July 31.
— San Francisco pulled within three games of the NL West-leading Dodgers as Jake Peavy allowed a run and five hits over 7 2/3 innings to pitch the Giants past Arizona 2-1. Buster Posey homered for the Giants, who didn’t take the lead for good until Brandon Crawford lifted a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
— The Cardinals’ lead in the NL Central is down to 2 ½ games over Pittsburgh after Hector Gomez lined an RBI single in the 12th inning to lift Milwaukee past St. Louis 3-2. Gerardo Parra homered to help the Brewers stay within two games of the Pirates for the final NL wild-card berth.
— Charlie Morton combined with five relievers on a seven-hitter as Pittsburgh blanked Boston 4-0. Russell Martin put the Pirates ahead with a two-run homer in the second, four innings before Starling Marte added a solo blast.
— Wil Myers drove in two runs with one sacrifice fly and Jake Odorizzi allowed one run in six innings of Tampa Bay’s 6-1 win over the New York Yankees. Derek Jeter extended his hitless streak to 26 at-bats before he was plunked on the arm, the fifth time a Yankees batter has been hit by a Rays pitcher in the past week.
— Jake Arrieta took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning and eventually settled for a one-hitter as the Chicago Cubs dumped Cincinnati 7-0. Chris Coghlan capped a five-run sixth inning with a three-run double, and Jorge Soler homered in the seventh.
— Jose Altuve set an Astros for hits in a season, but Yan Gomes hit a two-run homer and Corey Kluber struck out a career-high 14 over seven innings of Cleveland’s 4-2 triumph at Houston. Altuve went 2-for-5 to give him 211 hits this year, topping the previous team mark of 210 set by Craig Biggio in 1998.
— Wilmer Flores was 3-for-4 with two homers and a career-high six RBIs as the New York Mets ripped Miami 9-1. Ruben Tejada drove in two runs to back Bartolo Colon, who surrendered 12 hits but only one run in 7 2/3 innings.
— San Diego beat Philadelphia 5-4 as Alexi Amarista went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer. Rymer Liriano also had three hits for the Padres, who’ve already been eliminated from the NL West race despite owning the division’s best home record at 42-31.