MLB Roundup: Rangers clinch AL West title
By THE SPORTS XCHANGE
ARLINGTON, Texas — Left-hander Cole Hamels, one of the big prizes at the trade deadline, pitched the Texas Rangers to the American League West title with a 9-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Hamels pitched a complete-game three-hitter a day after the Rangers used nine pitchers in a stunning 11-10 loss to the Angels.
The Rangers earned an American League Division Series matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays. The loss eliminated the Angels, who came into the game with a wild-card shot.
Hamels gave up two of his three hits in the first inning as designated hitter Albert Pujols gave the Angels an early 2-0 lead with a homer to center.
The Rangers got one of the runs back on the bottom of the first against right-hander Garrett Richards (15-12), who was pitching on three days’ rest. But Richards kept the Rangers off the board until the fifth, when Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer to right that just cleared the wall.
Astros 5, Diamondbacks 3
PHOENIX – The Astros returned to the playoffs after a 10-year absence despite the loss to Arizona on the final day of the regular season.
Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run homer broke a tie in the seventh inning, but the Astros were playoff bound an inning later after Texas beat the Los Angeles Angels to clinch the AL West.
However, the Astros’ chances of hosting the wild-card game ended with the loss. Houston (86-76) will play the New York Yankees in the AL wild card playoff game Tuesday in New York. It will be Astros’ first playoff appearance since losing the 2005 World Series.
Orioles 9, Yankees 4
BALTIMORE– Chris Davis hit a pair of two-run homers, and the Orioles completed a sweep of their season-ending series with New York.
But despite losing all three games of this weekend series, the Yankees still backed into hosting the wild-card playoff game. New York held a one-game lead over the Astros heading into the final game but Arizona handed Houston a 5-3 loss, which gave the Yankees the wild-card game at home.
Pirates 4, Reds 0
PITTSBURGH — J.A. Happ pitched six strong innings as the Pirates assured themselves of home field for the wild-card game against the Cubs.
Third baseman Josh Harrison and catcher Francisco Cervelli each had three hits to help the Pirates (98-64), who Pirates (98-64) will host the Cubs (97-65) on Wednesday night in the winner-take-all game after finishing one game ahead of Chicago in the wild card standings.
Cubs 3, Brewers 1
MILWAUKEE — Six strong innings from right-hander Dan Haren and a two-run single in the first inning by first baseman Anthony Rizzo were enough for the Cubs to close out the regular season with a victory.
The Cubs will now head to Pittsburgh for the National League Wild Card Game Wednesday night.
Chicago began the day with a chance to host the game, needing a victory and a Pirates loss. The Cubs did their part, sweeping Milwaukee for the third time this season.
Royals 6, Twins 1
MINNEAPOLIS — Needing a win to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason, Kansas City put up a pair of crooked numbers in the first three innings and cruised to victory.
Kansas City entered the day one game ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays for the best record in the American League and the win made sure it stayed that way. They will play the winner of the American League wild card game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals right-hander Johnny Cueto pitched five innings for the win, allowing just one run despite giving up six hits and a four walks.
Dodgers 6, Padres 3
LOS ANGELES — Left-hander Clayton Kershaw became the first major league pitcher in 15 years to strike out 300 batters in a season during the Dodgers’ win.
Center fielder Joc Pederson and pinch-hitter Chris Heisey each hit a two-run home run for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers will enter the National League Division Series’ Game One in Los Angeles on Friday against the New York Mets with a four-game winning streak.
Kershaw, who finishes the season with a career-best 301 strikeouts, became the first pitcher to collect 300 strikeouts since the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling amassed 334 and 316, respectively, in 2002.
Tigers 6, White Sox 0
CHICAGO — Anthony Gose, Tyler Collins and Daniel Norris will head into the offseason on a positive note after leading the Tigers to a shutout win.
Gose, Detroit’s center fielder, went 2-for-5, tripled and scored two runs. Left fielder Collins hit a three-run triple, and Norris (3-2) threw five scoreless innings to earn his first win since Aug. 2, snapping a string of five consecutive no-decisions.
Detroit’s bullpen also was sharp, with four relievers combining to throw four scoreless innings and allow just two hits.
Indians 3, Red Sox 1
CLEVELAND — Danny Salazar pitched into the sixth inning, and five Cleveland relievers combined to pitch 3 2/3 scoreless innings as the Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox.
The right-hander Salazar (14-10) got the win and right-hander Cody Allen pitched the ninth to pick up his 34th save. Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello (9-15) pitched seven innings and took the loss.
Mariners 3, A’s 2
SEATTLE — Left fielder Seth Smith hit a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Mariners to victory.
Smith’s 12th home run of the season broke a 2-2 tie on the way to snapping Seattle’s three-game losing streak.
Mets 1, Nationals 0
NEW YORK — Right fielder Curtis Granderson’s solo homer with one out in the eighth inning snapped a scoreless tie, and seven New York Mets pitchers combined on a two-hitter.
The National League East champion Mets (90-72) snapped a five-game losing streak. They will enter the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday having scored just two runs in their last 43 innings.
Phillies 7, Marlins 2
PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies avoided franchise infamy with a win in their season finale.
The Phillies (63-99) erased an early 2-0 deficit and broke out for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to not suffer what would have been their first 100-loss season since 1961, when they went 47-107.
Meanwhile, the Marlins (71-91) suffered their sixth straight losing season, a franchise-record most.
Braves 6-2, Cardinals 0-0
ATLANTA — Braves right-hander Shelby Miller ended his four-month winless drought by throwing eight shutout innings in the first game of a doubleheader at Turner Field.
Miller ended a franchise-record 24 consecutive winless starts and broke a 13-game losing streak. He won for the first time since May 17, when he threw a two-hit shutout at Miami.
Miller (6-17) allowed only three hits, struck out seven and walked three. He threw 110 pitches.
Rookie right-hander Matt Wisler pitched 8 2/3 shutout innings in the second game, sweeping the twin bill and the three-game series at Turner Field.
Rockies 7, Giants 3
SAN FRANCISCO — Left fielder Corey Dickerson tied the game with a three-run homer, pinch-hitter Justin Morneau and center fielder Charlie Blackmon added subsequent two-run singles, and the Colorado Rockies exploded for seven runs in the ninth inning to stun San Francisco.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado did not add to his home run total for the Rockies, but he did contribute a single to the ninth-inning rally that began with the Giants holding a 3-0 lead.
Rays 12, Blue Jays 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Joey Butler blasted two home runs in the rout of Toronto.
Tampa Bay scored nine times in the bottom of the first thanks mostly to Butler’s grand slam, the first of the season for the Rays. The designated hitter added a two-run shot in the fifth, joining Evan Longoria (2008) as the only Rays rookies to drive in six runs in a game.