BASEBALL Indians equal AL record with 20th straight win
The Cleveland Indians share a record with a team celebrated by Hollywood. “Moneyball” has its sequel. Following a familiar script of scoring first, playing strong defense and riding dominant pitching, the Indians extended their winning streak to 20 games and matched the AL mark held by the 2002 Oakland Athletics, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Tuesday night. Cleveland’s streak, which began on Aug. 24 in Boston, is tied for the majors’ second-longest in 82 years - and the Indians show no signs of stopping. Corey Kluber (16-4) strengthened his Cy Young Award case with a four-hitter as Cleveland joined the 2002 A’s, 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and 1916 New York Giants (26) as the only teams since 1900 to win at least 20 in a row. Francisco Lindor homered leading off the first inning against Matthew Boyd (5-10), and Kluber sealed win No. 20 - and Cleveland’s seventh shutout during the streak - by getting Miguel Cabrera on an easy grounder to third.
Clayton Kershaw pitched Los Angeles to its first win in nearly two weeks, helping the Dodgers clinch a playoff berth by beating San Francisco to snap an 11-game losing streak that was the club’s worst since moving to the West Coast in 1958. The Dodgers’ slide was their longest in 25 years, topping 10-game skids in Los Angeles during the 1961 and 1992 seasons. The 1944 Brooklyn team lost 16 straight games. Despite the recent tailspin, Los Angeles still owns the best record in the majors at 93-52. The NL West leaders won for only the second time in 18 games and secured at least the second NL wild card, joining the NL East champion Washington Nationals as the only teams to punch their postseason tickets so far. Kershaw (17-3) went six innings and tied Milwaukee’s Zach Davies for the major league lead in wins. Kenley Jansen got four outs for his 37th save but allowed three straight singles with one out in the ninth to face a bases-loaded jam. He struck out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley to end it. Justin Turner hit a key RBI double in the eighth and Chase Utley homered leading off the fourth, splashing into the water of McCovey Cove beyond the right-field wall for the first time in his career. Johnny Cueto (7-8) struck out eight over 3 2/3 innings for the Giants. He allowed four runs and six hits with four walks in his third start since coming off the disabled list.
Eric Thames hit his 29th home run, Domingo Santana went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh. The Brewers pulled within two games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs who were playing the New York Mets. Gerrit Cole (11-10) took his first loss in 10 road starts since the Atlanta Braves beat him 5-2 on May 22. He slipped to 8-1 away from PNC Park over that stretch after allowing five runs and seven hits in six innings. He tied his seasonhigh with 10 strikeouts in his fifth start against Milwaukee this season. Manager Craig Counsell turned to the bullpen to protect the 5-2 lead. Jeremy Jeffress, Oliver Drake, Jared Hughes, Anthony Swarzak and Josh Hader each turned in a scoreless inning. Jeffress (3 -0) was the pitcher of record. Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.
Mookie Betts hit two home runs and a tworun triple, and Boston rolled past Oakland. The Red Sox, winners of five of their last six, pushed their American League East lead back to four games over the Yankees following New York’s loss to 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay. Betts went 3 for 5 with six RBIs. He’s driven in three runs or more in a team-high 11 games. The loss snaps a fivegame win streak for the A’s. They managed just one run and one hit off Eduardo Rodriguez (5-5), who struck out nine over six innings. Sean Manaea (10-10) was pulled after giving up seven earned runs on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Freddie Freeman hit a three-run home run off Gio Gonzalez and Julio Teheran threw seven shutout innings as Atlanta cruised past Washington. Gonzalez (14-7) allowed five earned runs and seven hits in five innings and struck out eight. The left-hander did guarantee his $12 million option for next season with his first out of the game as he reached 180 innings this season. The Nationals, who clinched the division Sunday when the Braves came back to beat the Miami in extra innings, lost for just the second time in eight games. This loss kept them from closing the gap on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Teheran (11-11) allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked two.
Richard Urena singled home the winning run in the ninth inning and Toronto handed slumping Baltimore its sixth straight loss. Facing Orioles closer Zach Britton (2-1), who had recorded the final out of the eighth, Kevin Pillar drew a leadoff walk in the ninth and went to third on Teoscar Hernandez’s single. One out later, Pillar scored when Luke Maile singled off the glove of third baseman Manny Machado. Urena followed with a single to center. Darwin Barney raced around from second and slid home safely ahead of the throw from Adam Jones. Blue Jays left-hander Tim Mayza (1-0) got one out for his first career win. Tim Beckham homered for the Orioles.
Adeiny Hechavarria hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning off Sonny Gray and Tampa Bay, playing as the home team in a series relocated to Citi Field because of Hurricane Irma, beat the Yankees. Tampa Bay has split the first two games of the set held at the home of the New York Mets. The Rays will fly back to Florida immediately after Wednesday afternoon’s game for firsthand looks at the storm damage. No word yet from MLB if Boston and Tampa Bay will play at Tropicana Field on Friday night as scheduled - the Rays expect to host the three-game set, but it could be reconfigured to give them an extra day off to handle personal matters. Tommy Hunter (3-5) pitched one inning to give Tampa Bay, on the fringe of the AL wild-card race, its second win in six games. Alex Colome closed for his 44th save in 49 chances. Gray (9-10) again pitched well but wound up with a loss. The Yankees, who hold the top AL wild-card spot, have dropped just three of their last 10.
Brandon Moss hit a grand slam in the first inning for his third consecutive game with a homer, powering Kansas City past Chicago. Scott Alexander worked out of a ninth-inning jam for his fourth save in six chances. He yielded a double to Adam Engel and a single to Yolmer Sanchez to lead off the ninth. He struck out Yoan Moncada, retired Jose Abreu on a pop to Whit Merrifield and got pinch hitter Matt Davidson on a grounder to end the game. White Sox rookie Dylan Covey (0-5) walked the bases loaded before Moss drove a full-count fastball to rightcenter. It was Moss’s fourth career grand slam and his first since July 24, 2014. He has nine RBIs in his past three games. Sam Gaviglio (4-5) picked up his first Royals victory in his second start after being picked up on waivers Sept. 1 from Seattle.
Justin Verlander pitched eight innings of onehit ball in a stellar second start for Houston, and the Astros snapped their four-game skid. Yuli Gurriel’s second-inning single drove in the only run for the Astros (87-57), who lowered their magic number for clinching the AL West title to five by blanking the second-place Angels (73-71). Verlander (12-8) struck out nine and walked one in another overpowering performance for his new team. The star right-hander held the Angels without a hit after Brandon Phillips’ leadoff double in the first, allowing only two more baserunners. Verlander pitched six innings of one-run ball in Seattle during his Astros debut last week, and he looks exactly like the stopper Houston wanted for the pennant race. Boston Yankees Tampa Bay Baltimore Toronto
Nick Williams hit a walk-off, two-out double in the bottom of the 15th inning, scoring Aaron Altherr as Philadelphia rallied for the win. Innings-wise, it was the longest game of the season for the Phillies and second-longest for the Marlins. Williams had three hits and reached base five times in the marathon game. He has 47 RBIs since being called up the week before the All-Star break. The Phillies celebrated with Williams, but thought they actually had a walkoff win in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Hyun-Soo Kim, but while the Phillies mobbed Kim at first base, ripping off his jersey and dousing him with water, Gatorade and sunflower seeds, the Marlins challenged the play at the plate. After a lengthy review, it appeared catcher J.T. Realmuto’s glove nicked the finger of a sliding Cesar Hernandez an instant before it touched the plate and the call on the field was overturned, and after the grounds crew had to clean up the mess around first base, Odubel Herrera struck out, sending the game to extra innings.
Jason Castro homered twice and Brian Dozier was a double from the cycle as Minnesota routed San Diego. The Twins hit a season-high seven home runs, setting a Target Field record for most homers in a game, to back another strong start from Kyle Gibson. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Twins set a major league record by homering in each of the first seven innings with Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar and Kennys Vargas adding to the total. Gibson (10-10) pitched six innings with four hits and six strikeouts. He has allowed two runs or fewer in five straight starts for Minnesota, which maintained its hold on the second wild card spot in the American League.
Ben Gamel and Kyle Seager both hit threerun homers to lead Seattle past Texas in a matchup of wild card hopefuls. Texas (72-72) and Seattle (72-73) have split the first two games of their four-game series.
The Rangers dropped three games behind Minnesota for the American League’s second wild card, while the Mariners remained 3 1/2 back after the Twins also won. Seager’s homer in the third made it 7-1 and chased Miguel Gonzalez (7-11), who made his second start overall and first at home for the Rangers since they acquired him in an Aug. 31 trade with the Chicago White Sox. Gonzalez allowed seven runs and seven hits while recording only seven outs. Marco Gonzales (1-1), traded from St. Louis to Seattle on July 21, got his first victory in six starts for the Mariners. The lefty struck out six while allowing three runs over five innings, his longest outing this season.
Paul DeJong homered, Yadier Molina drove in three runs and streaking St Louis outslugged Cincinnati. The Cardinals have won four straight and six of their last seven to stay two games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. Molina’s two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the first gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. He drove in his 10th run over his past three games with a single in the sixth. Molina leads the team with 75 RBIs. Matt Carpenter walked a career-best four times, doubled in a run and scored twice. Lance Lynn (11-7) allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits in five innings. Robert Stephenson (4-5) was pulled after three innings, the shortest career outing for the Reds rookie. He allowed six runs, four earned, and all three of his walks scored.
Kris Bryant hit a three-run homer, Jose Quintana pitched seven effective innings and Chicago got a sorely needed victory. Quintana (10-11) also helped himself at the plate with a pair of sacrifices, including a perfectly placed safety squeeze that drove in Kyle Schwarber in the fourth. Quintana got another bunt down in the sixth, sending Javier Baez to third ahead of Ben Zobrist’s RBI single. Chicago had lost three in a row and six of eight, making for a crowded race at the top of the NL Central. St. Louis and Milwaukee also won Tuesday night, so the Cubs remained two games ahead of the Cardinals and 2 1/2 games better than the third-place Brewers.
Carlos Gonzalez, heating up for the stretch run after a subpar season at the plate, homered twice and Colorado won its sixth in a row. Gonzalez drove in all four Colorado runs in his first multihomer game since Aug. 16 last year and is batting .451 (14 for 31) in September. Jon Gray (8-4) gave up two runs and scattered seven hits over seven solid innings, striking out 10 with no walks and a hit batter for the Rockies, who won their eighth straight road game to pull within three games of Arizona for the first NL wild card. Gray matched the season high for strikeouts he set in a win at Arizona on June 30. Chris Rusin got two outs for his second save. — AP
SAN FRANCISCO: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides safely past Orlando Calixte #46 of the San Francisco Giants at third base on a ball hit by Chris Taylor #3 in the fourth inning at AT&T Park on Tuesday in San Francisco, California. — AFP