CLEVELAND (AP) — Unchallenged for months, the Cleveland Indians clinched their third straight AL Central title with a 15-0 blowout on Saturday of the 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.
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
BOSTON (AP) — 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 (17-7) 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.
The Mets, who had won four straight, took a 3-1 lead on Brandon Nimmo’s three-run homer in the fourth. With two on in the fifth, Bradley lined a ball that bounced off the top edge of the wall and up, back toward the field. Although the umpires signaled for him to circle the bases, Bradley was sent back to second base when replays showed it didn’t completely clear the red line that signifies a homer.
Paul Sewald (0-6) intentionally walked Rafael Devers, Drew Smith replaced Sewald, Holt hit for Sandy Leon and, on the first pitch, lined one off the Monster in left-center to score both runners and make it 5-3.
Boston’s 102 wins is third-most in franchise history, passing the 1915 World Series championship team.
DODGERS 17, CARDINALS 4
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Yasiel Puig homered three times and had a career-high seven RBIs, giving him five homers in two games, and 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 (7-6) 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 NL champions have won four consecutive games and nine of their last 14.
Rich Hill (9-5) allowed four runs, two hits and four walks in five innings, improving to 3-1 in seven starts against the Cardinals, who have lost four straight games for the third time this season.
NATIONALS 7, BRAVES 1
ATLANTA (AP) — 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.
Washington starter Jeremy Hellickson left after re-injuring his right wrist while batting in the fourth inning. Hellickson had been sidelined by a sprained right wrist and was making his first start since Aug. 15.
Jefry Rodriguez (3-2) relieved to start the bottom half and pitched 4 2/3 hitless innings.
CUBS 1, REDS 0
CHICAGO (AP) — 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 NL Central lead.
Seeking their third straight division title, the Cubs moved 2 ½ games ahead of second-place Milwaukee, which lost 3-1 to Pittsburgh. Chicago has won three straight and four of five.
Lester (16-6) 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
NEW YORK (AP) — 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 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 1½-game lead over Oakland for the top AL wild-card slot. The Athletics lost to Tampa Bay 7-5. The Yankees are just 6-7 this month.
Randal Grichuk hit two homers and doubled, and Kevin Pillar also connected as Toronto ended a four-game losing streak. The Blue Jays exhausted their bullpen, using seven pitchers to hold on.
Sean Reid-Foley (2-3) struck out 10, giving up singles in five shutout innings. Ken Giles earned his 21st save, nine since being traded from Houston to Toronto.
RAYS 7, ATHLETICS 5
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Jake Bauers hit a three-run homer off Jeurys Familia in the eighth inning to help the Tampa Bay slow playoff-chasing Oakland.
Oakland remains 1 ½ games behind the Yankees for the top AL wild card after New York lost to Toronto earlier in the day. The A’s have dropped two of three since winning six straight.
Bauers’ homer was just the second allowed by Familia (4-2) since he was acquired by Oakland on July 21 from the Mets. Bauers busted a 4-for-65 slump with three hits and four RBIs.
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.
Sergio Romo got his 20th save despite giving up a homer to Matt Chapman in the ninth. It was Chapman’s 23rd homer.
WHITE SOX 2, ORIOLES 0
BALTIMORE (AP) — Reynaldo Lopez was sharp over seven innings to continue his late-season surge and lift the Chicago to just its sixth winning streak of at least three games.
The 24-year-old Lopez (6-9) has a 1.10 ERA over his past five starts. He struck out six and allowed four hits and a walk this time to help Chicago to just its sixth winning streak of at least three games.
Yolmer Sanchez broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the sixth, chasing rookie Yefry Ramirez (1-6) from his longest big league outing with two outs. Avisail Garcia added his 18th home run in the ninth.
Caleb Frare retired two batters in the eighth and Juan Minaya got the last four outs for his first save.
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 won for the fifth time in six games.
Alcides Escobar added three RBIs while finishing a homer shy of the cycle, and Cam Gallagher ended a 0-for-14 skid with a career-best four hits.
Kennedy (2-8) allowed six hits while striking out four in his second start since a two-month stint on the disabled list. The right-hander allowed only Ehire Adrianza’s RBI single in the second and Logan Forsythe’s run-scoring hit in the fifth to earn his second home win in two years.
Gordon had an RBI groundout in the first, a two-run double in the fourth and another two-run double in the sixth.
Chase De Jong (0-1) was pounded for five runs — three earned — on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
PHILLIES 5, MARLINS 4
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — 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 Miami after a five-game losing streak.
Philadelphia overcame a 4-0 deficit and closed within 6½ games of first-place Atlanta in the NL East with 15 games left. The Phillies remained five games back for the NL’s second wild-card spot.
JT Riddle had a pair of doubles and three RBIs for the Marlins, who have lost five straight and at 57-91 are trying to avoid what would be only the third 100-loss season in team history.
Luis Garcia (3-1) got the last two outs in the fifth, and Pat Neshek pitched a hitless ninth for his fifth save in six chances. Philadelphia relievers allowed two hits, struck out eight and walked none.
Reliever Jarlin Garcia started for Miami, which used seven pitchers.
PIRATES 3, BREWERS 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) — 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.
Milwaukee lost for just the fourth time in 15 games and dropped 2½ games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. The Brewers’ lead for the NL’s top wild card was cut to three games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Christian Yelich reached 30 homers for the first time when he connected in the first off Ivan Nova (9-9).
Colin Moran hit a tying homer in the second. Pittsburgh scored its final run in the sixth when Starling Marte doubled and came around when Josh Bell stole his first base since June 22 last year, and catcher Erik Kratz’s throwing bounced into center field for an error.
Cervelli and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle were ejected.
Davies (2-6) made his third start since his latest return to the majors and allowed two runs, three hits and a walk in five innings.
ASTROS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 4
HOUSTON (AP) — George Springer had four hits and scored three runs to help Houston extend its lead in the AL 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.
Springer finished 4 for 5. Astros starter Charlie Morton (15-3) frustrated Arizona hitters and was perfect through three innings before the Diamondbacks scored on a sacrifice fly from David Peralta in the fourth to pull to 2-1.
Morton allowed two runs and three hits while striking out seven in six innings.
Zack Godley (14-10) gave up five runs and seven hits, while matching a season-high with six walks in 3 2/3 innings. He lost his third straight start.
GIANTS 3, ROCKIES 0
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Madison Bumgarner pitched six strong innings, and Austin Slater and Hunter Pence drove in runs as San Francisco knocked 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.
The Rockies lost for the sixth time in seven games at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner (6-6) struck out two, walked one and hit a batter in winning for the second time in eight starts. He extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak at home to 20.
Relievers Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Will Smith combined for three innings of two-hit ball for the Giants. Smith worked the ninth for his 12th save.
RANGERS 6, PADRES 3
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Robinson Chirinos hit a three-run double during a five-run sixth inning to help Texas.
San Diego led 3-1 prior to the big inning. The Padres fell to 59-90, losing 90 games for the third straight season.
The Rangers sent 10 to the plate in the sixth mostly against the bullpen after a solid five-inning start by Eric Lauer. The left-hander was charged with two runs, including one in the sixth after allowing Elvis Andrus’ leadoff single.
After Trey Wingenter walked Adrian Beltre, Jose Castillo (2-3) allowed a single to Jurickson Profar, RBI doubles to Chirinos and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and a run-scoring single to Shin-Soo Choo.
The Rangers had a reliever open the game for the second straight night, with lefty Alex Claudio getting the nod. Claudio gave way to Ariel Jurado after an inning.
MARINERS 6, ANGELS 5
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Robinson Cano hit a go-ahead three-run double to cap Seattle’s rally from a four-run deficit.
Seattle trailed 4-0 before Kristopher Negron and Mitch Haniger homered in the fifth inning. Negron added an RBI single in the sixth, then Cano cleared the bases in the eighth to lift Seattle to 82-66.
The Mariners are 7 1/2 games behind Oakland for the final AL wild card with 14 games to play.
The Angels took a 3-0 lead in the first on back-to-back home runs from Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. It was the 28th home run for Trout and the 20th for Ohtani.
Justin Upton added a solo home run in the fourth. Upton added a second solo homer in the ninth to give him 29 on the season.
James Pazos (4-1) pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the victory.