New York Daily News - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND — For the se­cond year in a row, the Cleve­land In­di­ans are AL Cen­tral cham­pi­ons.

They clinched their ti­tle on Satur­day night when sec­ond­place 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.

A divi­sion crown is the first step for the In­di­ans, whose only goal is win­ning the World Se­ries af­ter com­ing so close last year. From the mo­ment they lost to the Chicago Cubs in seven games, the In­di­ans have been fo­cused on get­ting back, and a divi­sion crown is a first step.

Cleve­land hasn’t won a World Se­ries since 1948, base­ball’s long­est drought. 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. The In­di­ans have won the Cen­tral nine times. This time, all their fans were long gone from their ball­park when it be­came of­fi­cial.

Fran­cisco Lin­dor hit an RBI dou­ble in the sixth off Ja­son Ham­mel (8-12), which gave the 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).

BLUE JAYS 7, TWINS 2: Marco Estrada (9-8) pitched eight ef­fi­cient in­nings and Josh Don­ald­son home­red twice among his four hits for visit­ing Toronto. Min­nesota’s loss clinched the AL Cen­tral for the Cleve­land In­di­ans and cut their lead for the fi­nal AL wild card ahead of the An­gels to one game.

AN­GELS 2, RANGERS 0: Justin Up­ton hit two home runs as the host An­gels closed within one game of Min­nesota, which lost to Toronto, for the se­cond AL wild-card spot. The vic­tory also pre­vented Hous­ton from clinch­ing the AL West, leav­ing the Astros’ magic num­ber at one over the An­gels.

RED SOX 3, RAYS 1: Rick Por­cello took a shutout into the eighth in­ning and Mookie Betts hit his 22nd home run as visit­ing Bos­ton re­duced its magic num­ber for clinch­ing a play­off spot to six and kept its AL East lead over the Yan­kees at three games. It was the eighth win in 10 games for the Red Sox. Por­cello (10-17) gave up one un­earned run in 7.1 in­nings, al­low­ing five hits and a walk to win for the sixth time in nine starts.

DODGERS 3, NATS 2: Cody Bellinger hit his 38th homer to match the NL sin­gle-sea­son record for rook­ies, and the Dodgers moved closer to the NL West ti­tle. Chase Ut­ley had two dou­bles and scored twice to help L.A. re­duce its magic num­ber to win the divi­sion to five. Rich Hill (10-8) and five re­liev­ers com­bined on a four-hit­ter. Los An­ge­les also moved seven games ahead of Washington in the race to se­cure home-field ad­van­tage through­out the NL play­offs. The Dodgers have won four straight since drop­ping 11 in a row.

The Na­tion­als have lost four of five since clinch­ing the NL East last Sun­day.

ASTROS 8, MARINERS 6: Dal­las Keuchel (13-4) threw six solid in­nings and Car­los Bel­tran had three hits and two RBI as host Hous­ton low­ered its magic num­ber for clinch­ing the AL West ti­tle to one. The Astros (90-58), who reached 90 wins for the first time since 2004, can se­cure the fran­chise’s sev­enth divi­sion ti­tle with one more win or a loss for the An­gels.

CUBS 4, CAR­DI­NALS 1: Kyle Hen­dricks pitched six-hit ball into the eighth, Ad­di­son Rus­sell home­red and the Cubs earned their fifth straight vic­tory. Rus­sell was ac­ti­vated be­fore the game af­ter be­ing side­lined by a foot in­jury. He pinch-hit in the eighth and con­nected for a solo shot against Tyler Lyons.

Cubs catcher Will­son Con­tr­eras was sus­pended for two games and fined an undis­closed amount for what MLB called “in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions” dur­ing Chicago’s win over the Car­di­nals on Fri­day. Cubs pitcher John Lackey also was fined an undis­closed amount.

D-BACKS 2, GI­ANTS 0: Zack Greinke (17-6) pitched eight in­nings of two-hit ball and Paul Gold­schmidt hit a tworun homer as visit­ing Ari­zona re­duced its magic num­ber for clinch­ing a play­off berth to six.


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