The NL West-leading Colorado Rockies locked up a playoff berth for the second straight season, beating the Washington Nationals 5-2 on Friday night for their eighth win in a row behind a resilient start from Kyle Freeland.

David Dahl homered for the fifth consecutive game and Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer against his former team to help Colorado clinch at least a wild card with two games remaining. The Rockies remained one game ahead of Los Angeles Dodgers as they try to wrap up the franchise’s first division crown. The Dodgers won 3-1 in San Francisco.

Wade Davis struck out Bryce Harper looking to end the game and earn his 43rd save. The sellout crowd at Coors Field roared and fireworks went off.

The Rockies are headed to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time in team history. This is their fifth playoff trip since the franchise began in 1993 — last year, they lost to Arizona in the NL wild-card game.

Freeland (17-7) wiggled out of jam after jam on a cool night to finish the season with a 2.40 ERA in games at the hitter-friendly ballpark. The lefty allowed two runs and 11 hits over six innings before turning it over to a staunch bullpen.

Joe Ross (0-2) allowed four runs over five innings in his third start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. Charlie Blackmon had a solo homer in the Rockies third.


BOSTON (AP) — New York clinched home-field advantage for the AL wild-card game, hitting four homers to tie the major league single-season record and beat Boston.

Aaron Judge hit his first homer since coming off the disabled list Sept. 14, and Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit also homered to match the mark of 264 set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners.

The win in the opener of the three-game series settled the AL’s last remaining postseason question with two games to go. The Yankees will host Oakland on Wednesday, with the winner playing Boston.

The Red Sox, who clinched the best record in baseball with a franchise-record 107 wins, were hoping to make things difficult for their archrivals — and the Athletics, too — by forcing the winner of the wild-card game to have to fly cross-country next week. The ALDS begins in Boston on Friday.

J.A. Happ (17-6) pitched three perfect innings and allowed just one hit through five. Staked to an 8-0 lead, he loaded the bases in the sixth for Steve Pearce’s grand slam, but got Rafael Devers on a groundout to end the inning. Brian Johnson (4-5) was the loser.


CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Hendricks went eight innings in another strong start, Kris Bryant homered and Chicago moved closer to the NL Central championship and dealt another hit to St. Louis’ playoff hopes.

The Cubs came into the final weekend of the regular season with a franchise-record fourth straight trip to the postseason assured and their third division title in a row in sight. They remained one game ahead of Milwaukee, which beat Detroit 6-5 on Friday night.

The Cubs can clinch the NL Central on Saturday — and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs — with a win and a Brewers loss.

St. Louis dropped its fourth in a row after being swept by Milwaukee. The Cardinals trail Los Angeles by two games for the second NL wild card after the Dodgers won 3-1 in San Francisco late Friday night.

With two games remaining, one more St. Louis loss or Los Angeles win would eliminate the Cardinals from postseason contention.

Hendricks (14-11) gave up two runs and seven hits. He’s 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his past seven outings.

Bryant made it 3-0 with a long solo drive to center against Adam Wainwright (2-4) for just his second homer in 27 games. The 2016 NL MVP sat out the previous two because of a bruised left wrist and has two stints on the disabled list this season because of left shoulder inflammation.

Daniel Murphy had two hits, two runs and an RBI. He singled and scored in a two-run first, doubled and came around in the fifth, and added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Justin Turner hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fifth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers moved to the brink of securing baseball’s final playoff berth.

The Dodgers remained one game behind NL West-leading Colorado. They also extended their lead to two games over St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot with two left to play.

Los Angeles, which has won the last five division crowns, will go to lefty ace Clayton Kershaw on Saturday.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3) allowed one run on four hits over six innings to win his third straight start. He gave up Nick Hundley’s leadoff homer in the second but the defense then backed its pitchers by turning five double plays — including one to end the game.

Kenley Jansen, the fifth Dodgers reliever, finished for his 38th save.

Turner’s homer off lefty Madison Bumgarner (6-7) broke a 1-all tie.


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ryan Braun hit two homers, the second a solo shot in the eighth inning that bounced off right fielder Nicholas Castellanos’ glove and over the fence, and Milwaukee beat Detroit to keep pace with the NL Central-leading Cubs.

Already assured a playoff spot, the second-place Brewers (93-67) stayed one game back of Chicago, with two games left in the regular season.

Braun also hit a solo homer in the first and doubled in the fifth. He benefited from bad luck in the eighth for Castellanos, who was tracking the high fly to the wall to his left. But the ball bounced off the glove raised over his head, then rolled over the top of the padded fence for a homer off Victor Alcantara (1-1).

Jeremy Jeffress hit leadoff batter Jacoby Jones with a pitch in the forearm to lead off the ninth before retiring the next three Tigers for his 14th save. Joakim Soria (2-1) got the win after getting the last two outs of the eighth in relief of Hader.



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jose Berrios became the first Minnesota pitcher in eight years to reach 200 strikeouts, throwing seven smooth innings against Chicago in the first game of a doubleheader sweep.

Mitch Garver had a career-high six RBIs in the second game.

Berrios (12-11) finished his All-Star season with a career-best 3.84 ERA and 202 strikeouts. The last time a Twins pitcher topped that milestone was Francisco Liriano (201) in 2010, with Johan Santana (235) in 2007 the most recent prior to that. Berrios struck out nine batters, allowing just three hits and one run on Leury Garcia’s RBI single in the third.

Joe Mauer, playing possibly the final games of his career with an expiring contract and a pending decision about whether to retire at age 35, went 2 for 4 in each game.

Chase DeJong (1-1) was the winner in the night game. Reynaldo Lopez (7-10) was the loser in the opener, and Lucas Giolito (10-13) dropped the second.


KANSAS CITY (AP) — Josh Donaldson hit a grand slam and double during a 10-run seventh inning, powering Cleveland past Kansas City.

The AL Central champion Indians improved to 90-70, marking the third time in team history they’ve won at least 90 in three straight years.

Jason Kipnis’ homer in the Cleveland third was the game’s only run in the first six innings.

But the Indians then broke loose against Ian Kennedy (3-9) for their first 10-run inning since doing it on Sept. 30, 2012, against the Royals in Cleveland.

Mike Clevinger (13-8) was the winner.

Brian Goodwin hit a grand slam for the Royals in the ninth off Adam Plutko. Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 18 games.


BALTIMORE (AP) — Gerrit Cole tuned up for the postseason by pitching six sharp innings, and Houston got a home run from Josh Reddick in the Astros’ victory over Baltimore.

The Astros close out the regular season at Camden Yards this weekend after clinching the AL West title on Tuesday night. Houston opens the playoffs at home against Cleveland on Oct. 5.

Cole gave up one run, five hits and a walk. His four strikeouts gave him 276 for the season, and he reached 200 innings for the third time in his career.

Marwin Gonzalez put Houston in front with a bases-loaded single in the eighth off Tanner Scott (3-3).

Tony Sipp (3-1) and Collin McHugh each pitched one inning before Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 21st save.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit three doubles in a four-hit performance and drove in three runs, and Atlanta routed Philadelphia to keep up its push for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The NL East champion Braves improved to 90-70, coming off three straight seasons of at least 90 losses. They will face the NL West champion in the best-of-five Division Series.

Johan Camargo, who homered, and Ronald Acuna Jr. each had three hits for Atlanta. Mike Foltynewicz (13-10) pitched five strong innings, a week after helping the Braves beat Philadelphia to clinch their crown. Rhys Hoskins homered in the ninth for the Phillies, and Jerad Eickhoff (0-1) was the loser.


NEW YORK (AP) — David Wright finally made it back into a major league game, grounding out in his first plate appearance for New York in nearly 2 1/2 years in a loss to Miami.

Sidelined by neck, back and shoulder injuries since May 27, 2016, the 35-year-old Wright came up as a pinch-hitter leading off the fifth inning. Wright is scheduled to start at third base Saturday night against the last-place Marlins in his goodbye game before a sellout crowd. Unable to overcome all the injuries, he said he expects this weekend to mark his final appearance in the big leagues.

Urena (9-12) won his sixth straight decision, holding the Mets to one run over six innings.

Paul Sewald (0-7) was the loser.


CINCINNATI (AP) — Elias Diaz hit a tiebreaking homer, and Colin Moran also homered and drove in three runs and Pittsburgh pulled away its their seventh straight win over Cincinnati.

The Pirates are 13-4 against their Ohio River rivals this season with their longest winning streak against Cincinnati since 1991, when they took nine in a row.

The Reds are ending another disappointing season in a rut, dropping six straight and 11 of 14. Their loss on Friday was their 94th of the season, matching their total for each of the last two years. They’ve dropped at least 90 games in four straight seasons, one shy of the club record from 1930-34.

Nick Kingham gave up Eugenio Suarez’s two-run homer, his first since Sept. 10, during his 3 2/3 innings. Steven Brault (6-3) allowed three hits in 2 1/3 innings. Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart had a career-high five hits, including a triple, a bunt single and a two-run homer.

Anthony DeSclafani (7-8) was the loser.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Randal Grichuk hit a pinch-hit, three-run triple and Toronto rallied to beat Tampa Bay.

Jon Berti, playing in his second big league game after eight years in the minors, had a two-run double for his first career RBIs to tie it at 4 in the sixth inning.

Grichuk’s first triple of the season came off Jose Alvarado (1-6) to put Toronto up 7-5 in the seventh. Adam Moore’s first home run since 2012 drove in the final run for Tampa Bay in the eighth.

Tim Mayza (2-0) got the win and Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his 26th save.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout hit a two-run homer, Shohei Ohtani went 3 for 3 and Los Angeles claimed the series opener.

Taylor Ward also had a two-run shot for the Angels (79-81). If they can sweep the weekend series, they would finish with a .500 record in what is widely expected to be Mike Scioscia’s final season as manager after 19 years.

The Yankees routed the Red Sox 11-6 earlier Friday to clinch home-field advantage in the AL wild-card game, leaving the A’s to travel cross-country to play Wednesday night in the Bronx for the right to face Boston in the best-of-five Division Series.

Mike Fiers (12-8) entered in the second inning for Oakland and was hit hard.

Taylor Cole (4-2) allowed one hit in 2 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked one. Hansel Robles worked the ninth to earn his second save.


SEATTLE (AP) — Robinson Cano had four hits and Cameron Maybin had four RBIs as the Seattle Mariners built a nine-run lead after three innings on the way to the win.

Maybin had three hits and Cano drove in two runs and scored twice. The Mariners scored seven times in the second inning, helped by four walks from Martin Perez (2-7) and a three-run error by right fielder Nomar Mazara.

Perez had allowed two runs when he was replaced by Jeffrey Springs with two outs and the bases loaded. Jean Segura hit a fly ball and it looked as if it would be an easy catch for Mazara at the front of the warning track, but the ball skipped off the top of his glove, clearing the bases to make it 5-0. A single by Cano and a double by Nelson Cruz accounted for the final two runs of the inning.

Seattle added two runs in the third on a double by Maybin and a single by Cano that made it 9-0. Maybin had an RBI double one inning later and a two-run single in the eighth.

Robinson Chirinos hit a two-run homer and the Rangers scored four runs off Wade LeBlanc (9-5) in the fourth. He gave up two more runs in the fifth.


Source: The Associated Press

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