Dodgers claim NL West title on day of MLB mourning
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 26, 2016 04:27 PM
Los Angeles Dodgers' Charlie Culberson celebrates after a walkoff home run against the Colorado Rockies during the 10th inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. The Dodgers won the NL West division over the Rockies. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their fourth straight National League West title in dramatic style as Charlie Culberson homered with two outs in the 10th inning to beat Colorado 4-3 on Sunday.
The Dodgers clinched on a day when on-field events were overshadowed by news of the death of ace Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez in a boating accident. The Marlins game against Atlanta was postponed.
With the three division titles in the NL now decided, the only fight left is for the two wildcard berths, held by the New York Mets and San Francisco with six games to play. St. Louis missed a chance to move above the Giants by losing to the league-leading Chicago Cubs.
In the American League, Toronto strengthened its grip on the top wildcard berth by pulling off a late come-from-behind win against the New York Yankees, while Cleveland missed another chance to seal the AL Central title by losing to the Chicago White Sox.
The Dodgers' victory came from an unlikely source as Culberson hit his first homer of the season and just sixth of his career.
It sparked raucous celebration from the home team, as players charged out of their dugout and mobbed Culberson.
The Dodgers then tipped their caps to the broadcasting booth in a salute to the 88-year-old announcer Vin Scully, who was calling his last home game.
The Cubs beat St. Louis 3-1, led by another strong performance by pitcher Jon Lester.
One of the top candidates for the Cy Young Award as the NL's top pitcher, Lester struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings. He is 10-0 with a 1.34 earned run average per nine innings over his past 13 starts.
David Ross homered for the Cubs, who finished the season with a 57-24 home record; their most home wins in a season since 1910.
Toronto's Ezequiel Carrera drove in the tying run with a squeeze bunt in the ninth inning and Edwin Encarnacion hit a winning single to give the Blue Jays a 4-3 win against the New York Yankees.
Toronto leads Baltimore by 1-1/2 games for the top AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays have won a team-record eight straight at home against the Yankees.
The Yankees had scored twice in the top of the ninth inning to take the lead.
Melvin Upton Jr. walked to begin the bottom of the ninth and took third when Kevin Pillar singled. Carrera followed with a squeeze bunt, and both runners advanced as the scoop throw to home plate rolled past the catcher toward the backstop.
After a strikeout, Josh Donaldson was intentionally walked to load the bases and Encarnacion's slow roller between the first and second basemen scored the winning run.
Chicago's Carlos Rodon struck out a career-high 11 over eight dominant innings to lead the White Sox to a 3-0 win at Cleveland.
Rodon easily handled the Indians, who still haven't wrapped up a playoff spot and have gone flat at the worst time possible.
Cleveland will clinch its first AL Central title in nine years with its next win or Detroit's next loss.
Detroit dropped 1-1/2 wins off the last AL wildcard by losing 12-9 to Kansas City.
The Royals had a single, double, triple and homer with its first four hitters of the game, and later added three more homers.
The defending World Series champions avoided elimination from this year's postseason race, but are still six games off the wildcard berths with only six games to play.
Boston's Dustin Pedroia used clever baserunning to score from first base in the 10th inning as the Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 and extended their winning streak to 11 games.
Pedroia singled to start the inning. David Ortiz followed with a double, and while the relay throw beat Pedroia to home plate, he avoided the first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it. The catcher was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.
Boston remained 5-1/2 games clear atop the AL East with six to play.
The New York Mets recorded their biggest shutout victory ever by crushing Philadelphia 17-0 to stay ahead in the NL wildcard chase.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a grand slam and Jose Reyes drove in four runs as the Mets delivered a memorable performance in their last home game of the regular season.
New York's previous high for runs in a shutout was 14, set in 1965 and 1998.
Houston kept a pulse in its playoff hopes with a 4-1 home win against the Los Angeles Angels.
Joe Musgrove pitched seven strong innings, allowing one run while Evan Gattis, Tony Kemp and Tyler White homered for the Astros, who had lost their previous three games.
Houston is three games off the last AL wildcard spot, held by Baltimore.
The Orioles tightened their grip on that wildcard berth by edging Arizona 2-1, with Hyun Soo Kim's two-run homer in the second inning proving to be just enough.
San Francisco's hold on the last NL wildcard was loosened by a 4-3 loss at San Diego, with Padres rookie Manuel Margot hitting a triple in the seventh inning and scoring the go-ahead run on Wil Myers' hit.
Seattle kept up its longshot playoff ambitions with a 4-3 win at Minnesota, powered by two homers from Nelson Cruz.
Playoff-bound Washington won 10-7 at Pittsburgh in a game which included a bench-clearing brawl after Nationals pitcher A.J. Cole was ejected for throwing behind the back of Pirates' Jung Ho Kang.
Oakland's Jharel Cotton pitched seven crisp innings to guide the Athletics past Texas 7-1.
Cincinnati's Brandon Finnegan pitched five scoreless innings in his final start of the season, lifting the Reds past Milwaukee 4-2.