Yankees beat Angels 9-1, claim 1st AL East title since 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — The resilient New York Yankees powered their way to the club’s first AL East title since 2012, routing the Los Angeles Angels 9-1 Thursday night behind three RBIs each from old mainstay Brett Gardner and newcomer DJ LeMahieu.
A day after wasting a chance to clinch first place, the homer-happy Yankees went ahead when LeMahieu hit a three-run drive in the second inning and breezed to their 100th win.
Gardner added a solo shot in the fourth and then hit a two-run double in the sixth. Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier homered for good measure in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman struck out Albert Pujols to end it.
Despite putting 30 players on the injured list this season, New York (100-54) wrapped up first place with eight games to spare and made Aaron Boone the first manager to win 100 games in each of his first two major league seasons.
The Yankees open the playoffs on Oct. 4, likely against Minnesota, which leads the AL Central, or the wild-card winner.
Masahiro Tanaka (11-8) allowed Kole Calhoun’s homer leading off the fourth. The Angels had just four hits in seven innings off Tanaka, who struck out six and walked one.
But the Yankees may go to the postseason without their winningest pitcher, Domingo Germán. The 27-year-old right-hander, who is 18-4, was placed on administrative leave under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy earlier in the day.
New York’s 19th AL East title was its first following a run of 13 in 17 years that started in Derek Jeter’s rookie season.
Andrew Heaney (4-6) gave up six runs and five hits in five-plus innings.
BRAVES 5, PHILLIES 4
ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. became the second-youngest player in baseball history to hit 40 homers in a season, Freddie Freeman also drove in two runs and Atlanta clinched at least a tie for first place in the NL East with a win over Philadelphia.
The Braves hold a 9 1/2-game lead over the Washington Nationals, who have played three fewer games and were off Thursday. Atlanta can officially celebrate as soon as Friday with either a victory over the San Francisco Giants or if Washington loses at Miami.
The Phillies came into the day trailing both Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs by three games for the NL’s second wild-card spot.
Mel Ott, who was 20 when he hit 42 homers for the New York Giants in 1940, is the only player younger than Acuña to post a 40-homer season.
Aaron Nola (12-6) worked five-plus innings, giving up nine hits, two hits and all five Atlanta runs.
Mark Melancon worked perfect ninth for his 11th save with Atlanta and 12th overall this season.
BREWERS 5, PADRES 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Lorenzo Cain homered before exiting with a sore ankle, Milwaukee pitchers combined to strike out 16 and the Brewers improved their playoff position by beating San Diego.
Milwaukee moved within one game of Washington for the top NL wild-card spot. The Brewers began the day tied with Chicago for the second wild-card slot and three games behind Central-leading St. Louis — the Cardinals played the Cubs later in the day.
Ryan Braun put Milwaukee ahead with an RBI double in the first inning off Joey Lucchesi (10-9). The Brewers added a run in the third when Keston Huira doubled and later scored on Lucchesi’s wild pitch.
Eric Hosmer’ homered for San Diego.
Freddy Peralta (7-3) struck out three of the four batters he faced for the win. Josh Hader picked up his 34th save in 40 tries, breaking a franchise record for left-handers previously held by Dan Plesac.
RED SOX 5, GIANTS 4
BOSTON (AP) — Eduardo Rodriguez struck out 10 over six innings of two-hit ball, and Xander Bogaerts had a pair of RBI singles to lead Boston over San Francisco.
Brandon Workman picked up his 15th save. Rodriguez (18-6) walked two and allowed one unearned run.
Madison Bumgarner (9-9) lost in his first career start at Fenway Park, giving up five runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings while striking out seven. He allowed the first four Boston batters to reach safely and fell behind 2-1 after one inning.
MARINERS 6, PIRATES 5, 11 INNINGS
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shed Long had three hits, two RBIs and scored the go-ahead run in the 11th on an unusual inning-ending double play as Seattle beat Pittsburgh.
The Mariners swept the three-game series between last-place teams and sent the Pirates to their sixth straight loss.
Long reached base on first baseman Jose Osuna’s error to start the 11th and Omar Narvaez singled with one out to put runners on the corners. Austin Nola then hit a chopper to second baseman Kevin Kramer — rather than flip the ball to second, he ran at Narvaez, who alertly stopped and began to retreat.
Kramer then threw to first, and Narvaez was eventually tagged in a 4-3-6-2 rundown as Long scored. Kramer likely would’ve had no chance to throw home at the start to get Long.
Pittsburgh’s Jake Elmore had three hits and two RBIs.
Brandon Brennan (3-6) pitched one scoreless inning and rookie Erik Swanson worked around a walk in the 11th for his first career save. Clay Holmes (1-2) took the loss.