Dodgers clinch NL West crown with shutout win

The China Post - - SPORTS -

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.

AP

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.

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