Rays clinch 2nd consecutive AL East crown

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays clinched their second straight AL East title, with Mike Zunino hitting a go-ahead homer and Brandon Lowe later adding a pair of RBI doubles to beat the Miami Marlins 7-3 on Saturday night.

Pete Fairbanks retired Lewis Brinson on a foul popup with the bases loaded for the final out, giving the Rays the chance to celebrate on the field. Earlier in the day, Tampa Bay’s magic number was cut to one when the New York Yankees beat Boston 5-3.

There was a standing ovation from the season-high crowd of 23,783 at Tropicana Field when the Yankees’ victory was announced after the top of the sixth inning.

Tampa Bay improved to 96-59 and won its fourth division title since becoming a major league team for the 1998 season. The club debuted as the Devil Rays then, and wore jerseys with that name during this clinching victory.

The Rays, who lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games last season, have never won the championship.

Shane McClanahan (10-6) allowed one run and six hits over five innings.

Zunino connected off Sandy Alcantara (9-14) for his 32nd homer.


BOSTON (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton hit a go-ahead grand slam over the Green Monster in the eighth inning and New York tied Boston for the top spot in the AL wild-card race.

The Yankees, who began the day with a two-game lead over Toronto and Seattle for the second wild card, now have a chance to nudge in front of their longtime rivals in Sunday night’s series finale at Fenway Park.

Stanton connected off reliever Darwinzon Hernandez with two outs to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. The slugger also had three hits and a three-run homer Friday night to help New York win the series opener.

Luis Severino (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings. Aroldis Chapman allowed Bobby Dalbec’s solo homer in the ninth but held on for his 29th save.

Tanner Houck (1-5) took the loss.


CHICAGO (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals set a franchise record with their 15th straight win, boosted when catcher Yadier Molina and center fielder Harrison Bader helped pull off a wild double play against Chicago.

Bader, Tyler O’Neill and Paul DeJong homered as these Cardinals broke the team record of 14 wins in a row set in 1935, a year after Dizzy Dean and the Gas House Gang won the World Series.

Bader went 4 for 4 and scored three times as the Cardinals held their comfortable lead for the second NL wild card.

Nolan Arenado doubled to spark a three-run rally in the seventh after Codi Heuer (7-3) replaced starter Adrian Sampson.

Ian Happ drove in three runs for the Cubs, who have lost five straight and nine of 10. The loss snapped Chicago’s streak of seven consecutive winning seasons at Wrigley Field.

Kwang Hyun Kim (7-7) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ranger Suarez pitched a four-hit shutout, Bryce Harper homered and the Philadelphia Phillies kept up their playoff push by beating Pittsburgh for their fifth straight win.

The Phillies began the day 1 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. Philadelphia visits the Braves for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.

Suarez (7-5) allowed just four singles, walked none and struck out seven in his first major league complete game. He didn’t permit a runner past first base and faced only one batter more than the minimum.

Harper hit his 34th home run and Matt Vierling connected for his first in the majors as the Phillies (81-74) moved a season-best seven games over .500.

Vierling and Harper each had a solo homer in the third inning off Will Crowe (4-8).


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Starling Marte hit a game-ending double with one out in the ninth inning to lift Oakland over Houston.

The Athletics are four games behind co-wild card leaders New York and Boston, with Seattle and Toronto in between.

Houston’s magic number to clinch the AL West remained at three over the Mariners.

Elvis Andrus singled off Ryan Pressly (5-3) to begin the Oakland ninth and scored the winning run, but injured his left ankle on the play.

Andrew Chafin (2-3) retired three batters to get the win.

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros.


CLEVELAND (AP) — Eli Morgan allowed one hit in six innings and José Ramirez drove in three runs, powering Cleveland past the AL Central champion White Sox.

Chicago remained four games behind AL West leader Houston in the race for home-field advantage in the Division Series. Both teams have seven games remaining.

Morgan (4-7) struck out six and walked one, giving up only a double to Yoan Moncada in the fifth.

Ramirez hit a two-run homer and had an RBI single off Lance Lynn (10-6), whose winless streak reached nine starts. The All-Star gave up six runs in six innings, striking out six without a walk, and has not won since July 25.

Andrés Giménez had a solo homer. Sam Hentges and Bryan Shaw wrapped up the three-hitter for Cleveland’s eighth shutout.


DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera drove in four runs, including a go-ahead double in the sixth inning, and Detroit downed Kansas City.

Jeimer Candelario delivered an RBI double for the Tigers, who have won five of six. Jonathan Schoop had two hits and scored two runs.

Drew Hutchison (3-1) allowed only an unearned run in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Michael Fulmer got four outs for his 12th save.

Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo robbed Hunter Dozier of a homer with a leaping catch.

Domingo Tapia (4-1) took the loss.


BALTIMORE (AP) — Kelvin Gutierrez homered to cap a three-run seventh inning and Baltimore beat Texas.

Jose Trevino and Nathaniel Lowe went deep for the Rangers, who have lost nine of 11 to fall to 56-99. Texas is headed toward its first 100-loss season since 1973.

The game was scoreless in the seventh when the 105-loss Orioles broke through against starter Jordan Lyles (9-13). Trey Mancini walked and scored on Pat Valaika’s double, and Gutierrez followed with his second homer.

Trevino homered in the eighth off winner Brooks Kriske (2-1). Dillon Tate allowed a solo shot to Lowe in the ninth before getting his third save.


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