The Chicago Cubs became the first team this season to clinch a Major League Baseball division title even though they lost 5-4 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night.
Because of the loss, the Cubs needed some help to capture their first NL Central crown since the 2008 season. And they got it later that night from the San Francisco Giants who dusted off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 in San Francisco.
The Cubs did not stick around the stadium and instead will celebrate after playing the second game of their four-game series today. “It would have been wonderful to do so for the fans (Thursday), but that’s part of the uncontrollable nature of our game,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We had a really good way about us today. We just made a couple of mistakes that we normally don’t make. That’s going to happen.”
Brewers pinch hitter Scooter Gennett broke a tie in the seventh inning as he doubled home Domingo Santana and Martin Maldonado with one out for go-ahead runs and a 5-3 lead.
Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson threw six innings of three-run ball to get the victory, the first of his career in 12 appearances against Chicago. Reliever Tyler Thornburg faced the top of the Cubs’ order and got the final four outs for his 10th save.
Giants 6, Cardinals 2
Johnny Cueto pitched a five-hitter and helped his own cause with a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, leading the San Francisco Giants to a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a four-game series. Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer, Buster Posey had four hits and Denard Span, demoted to eighth in the batting order, laced a key two-run single, helping the Giants move two games ahead of the Cardinals in the National League wild-card race. Cueto (16-5) became the NL’s fourth 16-game winner with his league-leading fifth complete game.
Red Sox 7, Yankees 5
Hanley Ramirez hit a monstrous two-out, three-run homer to center field to cap a wild five-run, ninth-inning rally that gave Boston a victory over New York. Ramirez connected off Dellin Betances, who had just surrendered run-scoring singles to David Ortiz and Mookie Betts. With Boston down 5-1, David Ortiz hit a solo shot off Adam Warren in the eighth for the 537th home run of his career. He snapped a tie with Yankees great Mickey Mantle for 17th place on the all-time homer list. Ortiz was also in the middle of the ninth-inning rally, collecting his 114th RBI.
Blue Jays 7, Angels 2
Russell Martin hit a three-run home run and drove in four runs to lead Toronto past Los Angeles. Josh Donaldson returned to the Blue Jays’ starting lineup as the designated hitter after missing the past three games because of a jammed right hip. The 2015 American League Most Valuable Player went 3-for-3, hit two doubles, walked twice and scored twice. JA Happ earned his 13th victory in 14 decisions. Happ (19-4) conceded two runs (one earned) and just three hits in six-plus innings, walked three and struck out three.
Athletics 14, Royals 5
Joey Wendle had a career-best four-hit game and scored three runs, while Daniel Mengden pitched seven scoreless innings as Oakland crushed Kansas City to complete a four-game sweep. The A’s 16-hit attack included three-run homers by Marcus Semien in the eighth and Ryon Healy in the third, and a two-run blast by Stephen Vogt, who matched his career high with five RBIs — the third time he has accomplished that. Five A’s had multi-hit games, led by Wendle’s four singles. Mengden (2-7) gave up three hits, walked none and struck out six, picking up his first victory since June 27. He threw 88 pitches, 61 for strikes.
White Sox 2, Indians 1
Carlos Sanchez drove in the winning run on a one-out single in the ninth inning to give Chicago a victory over Cleveland. Omar Narvaez singled to begin the bottom of the ninth. Leury Garcia pinch ran and stole second and scored on Sanchez’s single to right center off Bryan Shaw (2-5). Sanchez entered the game batting just.173. White Sox closer David Robertson (5-3) struck out Coco Crisp with two men in scoring position to preserve a tied game in the top of the ninth. Starter James Shields allowed one run on three hits and three walks in six innings. Shields was 0-5 with a 10.75 ERA while winless in his previous eight starts.
Twins 5, Tigers 1
Brian Dozier’s two-run single capped a four-run second inning and Hector Santiago stymied Detroit for 5 2/3 innings to help the Twins gain a split of their four-game series. Detroit elected to pitch to Minnesota’s hottest hitter with two outs and runners on second and third. Dozier took the second of two flat breaking balls thrown by Mike Pelfrey (4-10) and stroked it into left field to drive in two runs and lift his season’s RBI count to 98. Santiago (12-8) shut out the Tigers on four hits through five innings before James McCann’s two-out RBI double in the sixth provided Detroit’s run.
Pirates 15, Phillies 2
Pittsburgh crushed five home runs and put up an eight-run rally in the ninth inning as it picked up a win over Philadelphia, salvaging a split in a four-game series. Pittsburgh’s first seven runs all came from homers. The Pirates’ eight runs in the ninth inning all came with two outs. Nine of the Pirates’ 13 hits went for extra bases. Two of the home runs were off the bat of Andrew McCutchen, and Jordy Mercer’s three-run blast in the seventh inning broke open what had been a one-run Pittsburgh lead before the Pirates made it a laugher in the ninth.
Rays 7, Orioles 6
Evan Longoria homered and had five RBIs to lead Tampa Bay past Baltimore in the series opener. The Orioles entered the day one game behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East. The Rays, who are looking to play spoiler, won their third straight game. Steven Souza Jr. went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Logan Forsythe also had a pair of hits with an RBI for Tampa Bay, which won for the first time in seven games at Camden Yards this season.
Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 3
Mitch Haniger’s three-run homer capped a five-run sixth inning and Kyle Jensen also homered as Arizona beat Los Angeles to open a four-game series. Brandon Drury added an RBI single and Archie Bradley threw six-plus solid innings for the Diamondbacks, who have won four consecutive home games for the first time since July 9-20, 2014. Bradley (7-9) allowed three runs on nine hits, walked two and struck out seven to earn his third win in his last four starts.
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