Indians clinch crown again
CLEVELAND: For the second year in a row, the Cleveland Indians are Major League Baseball’s AL Central champions.
The Indians clinched their title on Saturday night when second-place Minnesota lost to Toronto. Earlier, the Indians bounced back after having their league record winning streak ended at 22 games by beating the Kansas City Royals 8-4.
This is the first time the Indians have won consecutive division titles since 1999, when they finished a run of five straight first-place finishes. All of their fans were long gone from Progressive Field when this clinch became official.
Francisco Lindor’s RBI double in the sixth off Jason Hammel (8-12) gave the All-Star shortstop an extra-base hit in a club-record 10 straight games. The major league record is 14 straight, shared by Chipper Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927).
Carlos Carrasco (16-6) pitched into the seventh as the Indians improved to 32-5 in their last 37 games.
In Minneapolis, Marco Estrada pitched eight efficient innings and Josh Donaldson homered twice among his four hits as Toronto topped Minnesota Twins 7-2.
The Twins’ loss clinched the AL Central for Cleveland. They are one game ahead of the Angels for the second wild-card spot. Estrada (9-8) gave up two runs. In Anaheim, Justin Upton hit two home runs, Parker Bridwell outpitched Cole Hamels and the Los Angeles Angels moved up in the AL wild-card race by beating Texas 2-0.
The Angels closed within one game of Minnesota for the second wild-card spot.
Upton connected in the first inning and again in the eighth. He has 31 home runs and a career-high 103 RBIs this year with Detroit and the Angels — it’s his second straight season with at least 30 homers.
The 30-year-old Upton had just one homer in his first 13 games for the Angels before twice tagging Hamels (10-4).
Bridwell (8-2) retired the first 13 batters he faced and left after a leadoff walk in the seventh. Yusmeiro Petit retired the side in the ninth for his third save, completing a combined three-hitter.
In San Francisco, Zack Greinke pitched eight innings of two-hit ball and Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer as Arizona defeated San Francisco 2-0.
Arizona reduced their magic number for clinching a play-off berth to six as they won for the 20th time in 25 games and for the ninth straight time on the road.