Rangers win AL West on fi­nal day

The China Post - - SPORTS -

All of the play­off matchups were l ocked in Sun­day on the fi­nal day of the Ma­jor League Base­ball reg­u­lar sea­son, as Cole Hamels and the Texas Rangers fi­nally clinched the Amer­i­can League West ti­tle.

Hamels pitched a three-hitter and Adrian Bel­tre hit a go-ahead homer as the Rangers beat the An­gels 9-2 Sun­day, elim­i­nat­ing Los An­ge­les from play­off con­tention.

A year af­ter their 95 losses were the most in the Amer­i­can League, two months af­ter they were still eight games out of first place and three days af­ter en­sur­ing them­selves a post­sea­son spot, the Rangers wrapped up their sixth di­vi­sion ti­tle.

Texas plays its first AL di­vi­sion se­ries game since 2011 on Thurs­day at Toronto.

Hous­ton is go­ing to the play­offs for the first time in a decade de­spite the Astros end­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son with a 5-3 loss to the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs.

The Astros led the AL wild-card race by a game head­ing into Sun­day. They shared a few high fives in the dugout in the eighth in­ning af­ter clinch­ing it when the An­gels lost to Texas.

Pittsburgh clinched home field in the Na­tional League wild card game, beat­ing the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 be­hind J.A. Happ’s stel­lar out­ing and Pe­dro Alvarez’s long homer.

The Pi­rates (98-64) locked up the right to host the Chicago Cubs (97-65) Wed­nes­day night in a win­ner-take-all play­off with a vic­tory on the fi­nal day of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

In Los An­ge­les, Clay­ton Ker­shaw struck out seven bat­ters in an ab­bre­vi­ated start to be­come the first pitcher in 13 years to reach 300 strike­outs, as NL West cham­pion Los An­ge­les closed the reg­u­lar sea­son on a five-game win­ning streak af­ter a 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres.

Ker­shaw fin­ished with 301 strike­outs and joined for­mer Ari­zona team­mates Randy John­son (2000-02) and Curt Schilling (2002) as the only pitch­ers since 2000 to reach 300 strike­outs in a sea­son. Ker­shaw be­came the sec­ond to do so in Dodgers history; his men­tor Sandy Ko­ufax ac­com­plished the feat three times in the mid-1960s.

The Chicago Cubs beat the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers 3-1 for their eighth straight win, but will have to play the NL wild card game in Pittsburgh, while Mark Buehrle failed to be­come the fifth ma­jor lea­guer to pitch 200 in­nings or more in 15 con­sec­u­tive sea­sons as the AL East cham­pion Toronto Blue Jays missed out on home­field ad­van­tage through­out the play­offs af­ter los­ing 12-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The New York Yan­kees stum­bled into home-field ad­van­tage in the AL wild-card game af­ter a loss by Hous­ton made its 9-4 de­feat to the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles mean­ing­less.

Salvador Perez added to his ca­reer-best home run to­tal and Johnny Cueto tossed five solid in­nings as Kansas City se­cured home-field ad­van­tage through­out the post­sea­son.

In other games, Ja­cob deGrom looked es­pe­cially sharp in his ab­bre­vi­ated play­off tuneup as the NL East cham­pion New York Mets blanked the Washington Na­tion­als 1-0, the Philadelphia Phillies avoided a 100-loss sea­son with a 7-2 win over the Mi­ami Mar­lins, and the At­lanta Braves won dou­ble­header sweep over the St. Louis Car­di­nals 6-0 and 2-0.

Corey Dick­er­son hit a three-run homer as the Colorado Rock­ies downed the San Fran­cisco Giants 7-3, the Cleve­land In­di­ans beat the Bos­ton Red Sox 3-1, the Mi­ami Mar­lins edged the Oak­land Ath­let­ics 3-2 and the Detroit Tigers com­pleted a 6-0 shutout of the Chicago White Sox.

AP

Min­nesota Twins’ Torii Hunter poses for a photo with a fan who won his jersey af­ter the Twins lost 6-1 to the Kansas City Roy­als in a base­ball game in Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota, Sun­day, Oct. 4.

AP

Mi­ami Mar­lins out­fielder Ichiro Suzuki pitches re­lief dur­ing a base­ball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia, Penn­syl­va­nia, Sun­day, Oct, 4. The Phillies de­feated the Mar­lins 7-2.

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