Major League Baseball roundup
Braves 6, Giants 0
Freddie Freeman didn't care that his eyes kept tearing up from all the beer and champagne soakings.
It seemed like every teammate stopped by to blast him, and he loved every minute of it.
"This is the first step of hopefully a few celebrations to come," he said with a big, wet smile. "We're excited. We've got a really good ballclub. We're just getting started."
The Atlanta Braves clinched their second straight NL East title as Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 41st homer in a win over San Francisco on Friday night that eliminated the Giants from postseason contention in Bruce Bochy's last year as manager.
Acuña scored three runs to back Mike Foltynewicz (8-5), who allowed three hits in eight innings. Atlanta's 19th division title tied the New York Yankees for the most since Major League Baseball split into divisions for the 1969 season.
Atlanta's win ensured it will finish ahead of second-place Washington and will start the NL Division Series at home on Oct. 3, most likely against the NL Central champion.
Braves players ran onto the infield to celebrate as soon as Acuña caught Alex Dickerson's game-ending flyout.
Atlanta (95-60) moved into sole possession of first place for good on June 12. Led by Acuña, Freeman, Josh Donaldson and an offense that has produced a franchise-best 241 homers, its lead swelled from 5.5 to 10 games in six days ending with a 9-4 home win over Washington on Sept. 7.
"Last year I kept running around with blinders on wondering if we were good enough to pull it off," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "This year, as went, it was like we're pretty good. Nobody gave us a chance early, and it was good to see these guys get on a roll. Just took care of business, winning a lot of first games and winning a lot of series. That was big."
The Braves, who have not won a postseason series since 2001, secured a postseason berth last week and needed a few extra days to clinch the division. They lost three in a row for the first time since July 16-18 but have won two straight.
Bochy was given a standing ovation when a video tribute was played before the second inning. The 64-year-old is retiring after 25 seasons as a major league manager, including 13 years in San Francisco highlighted by three World Series titles. He managed his 2,000th regular season win this week.
The Braves remind Bochy of some of his better clubs.
"They have such a good lineup," he said. "They've got speed, they've got youth, they've got experience. They've had a heck of a year. Congrats to them for clinching tonight."
Foltynewicz, who also won last year's clincher in Game No. 155, is 4-0 with an 0.69 ERA in four starts this month. He has won seven straight decisions in a span interrupted by a six-start demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett, but the Braves have won his last 12 starts, the longest streak in the majors this year.
Josh Tomlin finished a four-hitter.
Freeman's sacrifice fly in the first and Ozzie Albies' RBI single in the second built a lead. Acuña hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Brian McCann added a two-run homer in the sixth off Tyler Beede (5-10), who allowed seven hits in six innings.
Acuña has been a catalyst the last two nights.
"This kid is liable to go off for the next two weeks and be in a really good place when we start the playoffs," Snitker said. "You can kind of see the evidence of that tonight."
Mike Yastrzemski had all three hits for the Giants (74-80).
Acuña, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year became the 14th-youngest player reach 100 RBIs in a season at 21 years, 276 days. On Thursday he joined Mel Ott and Eddie Mathews as the only players to hit 40 homers prior to their 22nd birthday.
Acuña has 126 runs and needs six to break Dale Murphy's franchise season record, set in 1983.
"In my opinion, he's probably going to be the best player in the game, if not now, in a couple of years," Freeman said.
Cardinals 2, Cubs 1
Yadier Molina had three of St. Louis' four hits, including a two-run single, and the Cardinals held off the fading Chicago.
Carlos Martinez got the final two outs. The Cardinals' NL Central lead is three games over Milwaukee and five over Chicago. The Cubs are two games behind the Brewers for the second NL wild card.
Chicago has totaled nine runs while losing its past four games. The Cardinals have won the first two games of this key four-game set, and they'll play the Cubs five more times over their final eight games.
The Cubs scored their run following a St. Louis error in the second inning, and the Cardinals rallied in the sixth.
David Phelps (2-1), the second of eight Cubs relievers, took the loss.
Ryan Helsley pitched a scoreless fifth and was awarded the win.
Dodgers 12, Rockies 5
A.J. Pollock hit a three-run homer in the home half of a seven-run, fourth inning that took 41 minutes, and Los Angeles beat Colorado for its 99th victory this season.
The NL West champions improved to 14-3 against the Rockies this year, including 7-0 at home. Colorado has dropped 12 straight games at Dodger Stadium.
Clayton Kershaw (15-5) put the Dodgers in a 3-0 hole with back-to-back homers to Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon in the first, and an RBI single by Tony Wolters in the second. He gave up another homer to Garrett Hampson in the fourth. Kershaw allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one.
In the especially long inning, Colorado's three pitchers threw 61 pitches to 12 batters. The Dodgers had five hits, three walks and one batter hit by a pitch. The Rockies committed an error on a pickoff throw, too.
Corey Seager got the comeback going with a solo shot off rookie Peter Lambert (3-7). The Dodgers scored the tying and go-ahead runs on back-to-back RBI singles by pinch-hitter Kiké Hernández and Max Muncy.
Brewers 10, Pirates 1
Chase Anderson pitched six scoreless innings, Trent Grisham hit a bases-loaded triple and Milwaukee routed Pittsburgh to strengthen its grip on an NL wild card.
Milwaukee pulled two games ahead of the Cubs for the second wild card after Chicago fell to St. Louis 2-1 earlier in the day. The Brewers trail Washington by a game for the top wild card and are three back of the NL Central-leading Cardinals.
The Pirates fell to 65-89 with their seventh straight loss.
Anderson (7-4) allowed three hits, struck out four and walked one while matching his longest outing of the season.
Steven Brault (4-6) surrender six hits and six runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings.
Nationals 6, Marlins 4
Trea Turner hit two solo homers as Washington beat Miami.
Washington had dropped four of six. It maintained its one-game lead over Milwaukee for the top spot in the NL wild-card standings.
The Marlins became the third team to lose 100 games this season, joining the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers. Miami also had 100-loss seasons in 1998 and 2013.
Before the game, the Marlins announced manager Don Mattingly had agreed to a two-year contract extension. Mattingly was in the final year of a four-year contract.
The Nationals grabbed the lead for good on Asdrúbal Cabrera's three-run homer off Robert Dugger (0-3) in the fourth inning.
Diamondbacks 9, Padres 0
Rookie Merrill Kelly pitched seven dominant innings and Josh Rojas hit a three-run double in the seven-run eighth for Arizona in a win over lackluster San Diego.
Arizona remained five games behind Milwaukee for the second NL wild card and also needs to overtake the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. The Diamondbacks have won four of their last six games after losing six straight.
San Diego has lost eight of nine.
The 30-year-old Kelly (12-14) held the Padres to two hits and struck out nine while walking three.
Eric Lauer (8-10) also struck out nine but allowed two runs and two hits in six innings, with four walks.
Astros 6, Angels 4
Carlos Correa hit two home runs, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman also connected and Houston dropped its magic number to clinch the AL Central to one by beating Los Angeles.
The Astros have won six straight and already secured a playoff spot.
Zack Greinke (17-5) retired his first six batters before Kevan Smith hit his first pitch of the third inning into the bullpen in right-center to cut the lead to 5-1. Greinke yielded seven hits and four runs in five innings to win his third straight decision.
Roberto Osuna allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth for his 36th save.
Barria (4-10) allowed eight hits and six runs in 2 2/3 innings to drop his seventh straight decision.
Athletics 8, Rangers 0
Mike Fiers struck out five and didn't walk a batter over eight dominant innings to win for the first time in four starts, and Oakland beat Texas to maintain a two-game lead for the top AL wild card.
Chad Pinder hit a three-run homer and Mark Canha also connected as the A's (93-61) kept their margin over Cleveland and Tampa Bay (91-63).
Fiers (15-4) allowed two hits and faced the minimum, helped by a double play and a pickoff. Chris Bassitt struck out two in a perfect ninth to finish Oakland's 11th shutout in 2 hours, 38 minutes.
Mike Minor (13-10) allowed six runs, six hits and four walks in five innings as Texas lost its sixth straight.
Twins 4, Royals 3
Randy Dobnak pitched 5 1/3 innings for his first major league win, and Minnesota beat Kansas City.
Minnesota won for the sixth time in eight games to maintain its four-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. It reduced its magic number to clinch the division title to five with eight games to play.
Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run double for the Twins, and Miguel Sanó had a run-scoring triple.
Kansas City has dropped seven of eight and is one defeat away from its second consecutive 100-loss season and No. 6 in franchise history. The Royals could give the majors four 100-loss teams in a season for only the second time.
Dobnak (1-1) surrendered one run and three hits in his fourth start.
Trevor May struck out the side in his second save of the season.
Eric Skoglund (0-2) gave up two runs and three hits in four innings for Kansas City.
Orioles 5, Mariners 3
Félix Hernández labored through five innings in what was likely his penultimate start with Seattle, and Baltimore got home runs from Anthony Santander and Hanser Alberto in the win.
After rookie Kyle Lewis hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Hernández (1-7) gave the lead back in the bottom half after throwing just eight pitches.
The Mariners never recovered.
Aaron Brooks (6-8) threw seven innings of one-hit ball in relief of opener Richard Bleier to help the Orioles end Seattle's five-game winning streak.
Hernández needed 91 pitches to get 15 outs. His line included five runs, eight hits two walks and two wild pitches.
White Sox 10, Tigers 1
Eloy Jiménez hit a grand slam in the fourth inning, and Yoán Moncada also went deep as Chicago breezed past Detroit.
Tim Anderson had two more hits in his pursuit of the American League batting title, and the White Sox chased Jordan Zimmermann (1-12) in the fourth.
Dylan Cease (4-7) allowed a run and five hits in six innings — the first quality start for the White Sox since Sept. 6. Cease struck out eight with two walks.
Zimmerman allowed nine runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Jiménez finished a double shy of the cycle, and Yolmer Sanchez had four hits for Chicago.
Indians 5, Phillies 2
Carlos Carrasco got his first save in five years, and Cleveland beat Philadelphia to maintain position for the second AL wild card and damage the Phillies' playoff chances.
Cleveland (91-63) is tied with Tampa Bay for the second wild card, trailing Oakland. The Indians are four games behind AL Central-leading Minnesota.
Philadelphia slipped five games behind Milwaukee for the second NL wild card and lost for the fourth time in six games.
All-Star MVP Shane Bieber (15-7) allowed two runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Rookie Oscar Mercado had RBI singles in the first and seventh. Yasiel Puig, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana also drove in runs, helping Cleveland to its fifth straight win
Drew Smyly (4-7) allowed four runs, five hits and three walks in two-plus innings.
Stories that may interest you
Noah Gragson squeezed past JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier with four laps remaining in a move that caused Allgaier to crash and opened the door for Gragson to win at Bristol Motor Speedway
NASCAR is beginning to hear calls for fans to come back after two successful weeks of racing
FIFA has urged soccer competition organizers to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players over in-game expressions of solidarity with George Floyd
Baseball owners and players have reverted to the form they displayed during eight work stoppages dating back a half-century filled with salary squabbles