Altuve hits HR, Astros beat Rays 4-0 to clinch AL West title
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Jose Altuve hit a leadoff homer and the Houston Astros clinched their fifth AL West title in six years, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 on Monday night.
Headed to the postseason for the sixth straight season, Houston won for the eighth time in nine games and improved the AL’s best record to 97-51.
Luis Garcia (13-8) won his fifth straight decision, giving up two hits and four walks in five innings while striking out four. Hunter Brown pitched three innings and Héctor Neris finished the five-hitter, the Astros 16th shutout this season.
Tampa Bay (82-65) is in position for the second of three AL wild card berths, one game behind Toronto (83-64) and a half-game ahead of Seattle (81-65). José Ramírez had three of the Rays’ five hits.
Drew Rasmussen (10-6) gave up four runs and six hits in six innings. He has allowed four runs in consecutive starts and giving up three runs or fewer during 11 in a row.
METS 7, BREWERS 2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Max Scherzer was pulled from his 200th win with a perfect game intact, and New York clinched its first playoff berth in six years.
Reinstated from the injured list before the game, Scherzer (10-4) struck out nine in six innings. The 38-year-old ace threw only 68 pitches, but that was as far as the NL East leaders let him go in his first start in 16 days.
Christian Yelich doubled leading off the seventh against Tylor Megill, making his first major league relief appearance after 27 starts. Megill also came off the injured list Monday.
Pete Alonso hit a three-run homer off reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes (10-8), and the Mets won their fifth straight to wrap up at least one of the three National League wild cards. They lead the NL East by one game over defending World Series champion, Atlanta, which beat Washington 5-2 at home.
It is the 10th postseason appearance in the franchise’s 61-season history, and first since the Mets lost to San Francisco in the 2016 NL wild-card game.
BRAVES 5, NATIONALS 2
ATLANTA (AP) — Kyle Wright won his major league-leading 19th game, Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario homered and Atlanta beat Washington.
The defending World Series champions won their ninth straight home game to improve to 92-55.
Wright (19-5) won his sixth consecutive decision, allowing two runs and eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in six innings. The Braves improved to 22-6 in Wright’s starts this season, including seven straight wins. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 35th save in 42 chances.
Riley hit his 37th homer, second-best in the NL, and his eighth against the Nationals in 14 games this year.
Last-place Washington dropped to 51-96 and lost for the seventh time in nine games.
DODGERS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 2
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 and Chris Taylor blasted a three-run homer which the Dodgers successfully challenged a fan interference call.
The Dodgers have beaten the D-backs in 19 of their last 20 meetings at Dodger Stadium. They improved to 12-3 against Arizona this season.
Kershaw (9-3) allowed one run and six hits in six innings to earn his second straight win after a loss and four no-decisions dating to July 24. His strikeouts tied for his second-most of the season.
Closer Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth and gave up a leadoff single and then hit two straight batters to load the bases. Gavin Lux made a diving stab on pinch-hitter Sergio Alcantara, who grounded into a double play, before Daulton Varsho popped up to end it.
On a night when the Dodgers’ power trio of Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman went a combined 1 for 11 with a walk and two strikeouts, the lower half of the order produced. Lux had three hits from the No. 7 spot.
Merrill Kelly (12-7) gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two.
GIANTS 10, ROCKIES 7, 10 INNINGS
DENVER (AP) — Thairo Estrada hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the 10th inning after keying a tying rally in the ninth, and San Francisco beat Colorado.
Mike Yastrzemski homered and Wilmer Flores had three hits and two RBIs for the Giants, who snapped a three-game losing streak and overcame four errors that led to two unearned runs.
Michael Toglia had three hits for the Rockies, including a pair of run-scoring triples. C.J. Cron and Charlie Blackmon also had three hits apiece for Colorado.
Gavin Hollowell (0-1), making his major league debut, struck out the first two batters he faced in the 10th. But he walked LaMonte Wade Jr., giving the Giants runners at first and second, including the automatic runner. Estrada worked the count full before connecting for his 14th home run, a line shot that reached the left field bleachers.
Camilo Doval (6-6) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win and Scott Alexander got three outs for his second save.
MARLINS 10, CUBS 3
MIAMI (AP) — Bryan De La Cruz hit a grand slam in the third inning and Miami beat Chicago.
Rookie Charles Leblanc and Jon Berti also went deep while Miguel Rojas had three hits for the Marlins. Berti also singled twice and stole two bases, giving him an NL-leading 36. Miami starter Edward Cabrera (6-3) threw five innings of three-run ball. The rookie right-hander gave up three hits, walked three, struck out four and hit two batters.
De La Cruz’s blast off Cubs starter Wade Miley (1-1) capped a five-run third and erased a 2-0 deficit. He is hitting .333 with three homers and 12 RBIs since being recalled a second time this season from Triple-A on Sept. 7.
In his third start since returning from the 60-day injured list, Miley allowed seven runs, three earned, on seven hits. He walked two in addition to plunking Anderson.
TIGERS 11, ORIOLES 0
BALTIMORE (AP) — Tyler Alexander held Baltimore hitless until the seventh inning and Riley Greene drove in three runs to lead Detroit.
Baltimore fell five games behind Seattle in the race for the last of three AL wild-card spots. Both teams have 16 games left, and the Mariners own the tiebreaker advantage for winning the season series.
Alexander (4-10) permitted only two baserunners over the first six innings, both on walks, before Ryan Mountcastle led off the seventh by lofting a single in front of Greene in center. Anthony Santander followed with another single, but both runners were stranded.
Alexander matched his career high by pitching seven innings. The lefty, who struck out four, was winless in four starts since Aug. 20. Will Vest worked the eighth and José Cisnero completed the two-hitter.
GUARDIANS 11, TWINS 4
CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Naylor and Amed Rosario hit three-run homers, Cal Quantrill kept his home unbeaten streak intact and Cleveland thumped Minnesota, taking four of five in the series from an AL Central pursuer.
Naylor homered in the first inning off Sonny Gray (8-5) and Rosario connected in the sixth off rookie Ronny Henriquez to make it 7-3 as the first-place Guardians opened a four-game division lead.
Nick Gordon homered off Quantrill (13-5) for the Twins, who came to town hoping to cut into the Guardians’ lead but left further behind. Cleveland went 13-6 against Minnesota, winning nine of the last 10.
Quantrill stuck around until the sixth and improved to 13-0 in 32 starts at Progressive Field. The right-hander is one win shy of matching Vic Raschi’s record for dominance in one ballpark. Raschi went 14-0 at Comiskey Park from 1947-55. Sam Hentgen got seven straight outs for his first professional save.
MARINERS 9, ANGELS 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Carlos Santana homered twice, including his first grand slam in three years, Ty France drove in four runs and Seattle stopped a three-game losing streak.
Santana had the 15th multi-homer game of his 13-year career and fourth this season. He has seven homers in his last nine games and has hit 15 of his 19 home runs this season since Seattle acquired him from Kansas City in late June.
Logan Gilbert struck out a career-high, allowing one run and four hits in six innings and helping prevent the Mariners from being swept in a four-game series at Angel Stadium for the first time in 10 years.
Seattle (81-65) opened a 4 1/2-game lead over Baltimore for the AL’s final wild card spot. The Orioles played Detroit later Monday.
Shohei Ohtani had two hits and scored in the sixth inning. The reigning AL MVP has hit safely in his last five games and is 6 for 17 during that span. Mike Trout was not in the lineup due to a planned rest day.