Dodgers clinch NL West crown with shutout win
Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw pitched the bigmoney Dodgers to their third straight NL West title, tossing a one-hitter in an 8-0 win against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.
The Dodgers’ clinching performance came with the regular season in its final week and the race for playoff berths nearing a climax.
Most interest Tuesday was on the tight American League West, with Texas edging Detroit to stay two games clear on top. The Los Angeles Angels moved into second, half a game ahead of Houston; the Angels notched their seventh straight win by downing Oakland, while the Astros gave up a lead and lost at Seattle.
Elsewhere, the New York Yankees lost at home against eternal rival Boston and missed its chance to stitch up the wild-card berth.
Los Angeles’ Kershaw allowed just a single in the third inning and struck out 13 as the Dodgers advanced to face the New York Mets in the best-of-five NL Division Series.
Kershaw (16-7) struck out the side in order three times and retired the final 19 batters as the Dodgers snapped a four-game losing streak.
The Dodgers earned a third straight playoff berth for the first time in franchise history, and did so by snapping a seven-game losing streak at San Francisco this year.
Texas’ Cole Hamels won his sixth consecutive decision, overcoming a shaky start to strike out eight in six innings, and the AL West-leading Rangers beat Texas 7-6.
Next for Texas is a four-game home series against the Angels which will decide the AL West winner.
Hamels is 6-1 in 11 starts since getting traded from Philadelphia at the end of July, and the Rangers have won his past nine starts. The outing took him past 200 innings in a season for the seventh time in his career and past 200 strikeouts for the fourth time.
Los Angeles’ Albert Pujols had an RBI double among his three hits, helping the Angels win 8-1 at Oakland.
Erick Aybar drove in three runs for the Angels, who are in the race for both the AL West title and the second AL wild-card, half a game ahead of Houston in both.
With four games in Texas to close the season, the Angels are in control of their playoff destiny no matter the result of the wild-card race. Rebounding splendidly from an awful August, Los Angeles is a majors-best 18-8 in September.
Houston lost ground with a 6-4 loss at Seattle, with Shawn O’Malley hitting a two-run, bases-loaded single in the eighth inning for the Mariners.
Seattle had lost its previous six games.
The Yankees missed a chance to seal playoff participation when they lost 10-4 at home against Boston.
New York starter Michael Pineda (12-9) was hit hard at the start, and Boston got two homers and five RBIs from rookie catcher Blake Swihart.
New York is 5-1/2 games behind leader Toronto in the AL East. The Blue Jays’ game at Baltimore was rained out, creating a double-header on Wednesday. Toronto needs only one win — or another Yankees loss — to wrap up its first AL East title in 22 years.
In the wild-card race, New York is three games ahead of the Angels, and 3-1/2 ahead of Houston. Minnesota, which is also in the wildcard race, also had its game rained out at Cleveland.
The Chicago Cubs won 4-1 at Cincinnati to move within three games of Pittsburgh in the fight over who will host the NL wild-card game. The Pirates’ home game against St. Louis — four games up on Pittsburgh — was rained out.
Miguel Montero doubled home a pair of runs during Chicago’s fourrun first inning, and Dan Haren pitched into the eighth following a long rain delay.
The Reds lost their season-worst 10th in a row, their longest slump since they dropped 11 straight in 1998.
Kansas City, which has already clinched the AL Central title, lost 4-2 at the Chicago White Sox, with Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales both hitting homers.
The New York Mets’ run of 11 successive road wins ended with a 4-3 loss at Philadelphia, with Darin Ruf hitting a three-run homer for the Phillies.
Atlanta’s A.J. Pierzynski hit two home runs to lead the Braves to a 2-1 win against Washington.
Tampa Bay’s Asdrubal Cabrera hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Rays a 4-2 victory over Florida state rival Miami.
Arizona’s Phil Gosselin singled in the winning run after Colorado reliever Brooks Brown had walked the bases loaded in the 11th inning, giving the Diamondbacks a 4-3 win against the Rockies.
Milwaukee’s Jean Segura hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth inning as the Brewers beat San Diego 4-3.
Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez #10 and Adam Eaton #1 celebrate the White Sox’s 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals, as Melky Cabrera watches, after a baseball game in Chicago, Illinois, Tuesday, Sept. 29.