White Sox clinch AL Central title for 1st time since 2008

September 24, 2021 GMT
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Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks gives a thumbs-up after the team defeated the Cleveland Indians in the first baseball game of a doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Cleveland. The White Sox clinched the American League Central title with the win. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks gives a thumbs-up after the team defeated the Cleveland Indians in the first baseball game of a doubleheader, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Cleveland. The White Sox clinched the American League Central title with the win. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox clinched their first AL Central title since 2008 with a 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians in a doubleheader opener Thursday behind two home runs by Tim Anderson.

Chicago, in its first season under 76-year-old Hall of Famer manager Tony La Russa, is going to the postseason in consecutive years for the first time.

Anderson hit his fifth leadoff home run of the season and added a three-run drive in the second for his sixth career multi-homer game. Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez hit consecutive homers in the second for a 7-0 lead off Aaron Civale (11-5).

Aaron Bummer (4-5) retired all three batters in the fifth.

Cleveland won the second game 5-3 when Oscar Mercado hit a two-run homer in the seventh off José Ruiz (1-3), making a winner of Emmanuel Clase (4-5).


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — J.T. Realmuto homered and drove in four, Ronald Torreyes hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth inning and Philadelphia erased a six-run deficit to pull within two games of NL East-leading Atlanta.


It’s the fourth time this season and third time this month Philadelphia won after trailing by at least six runs. The Phillies are the first team in the modern era to win by at least six runs after trailing by at least six runs twice in the same season, according to STATS. The other was last week, when they rallied from down 7-0 in the fourth inning to defeat the Chicago Cubs 17-8 on Sept. 16.

Aaron Nola (9-8) bounced back from a shaky start that saw the Pirates take a 6-0 lead, including homers by Ke’Bryan Hayes and Colin Moran.

Torreyes lined a 2-0 fastball from Anthony Banda (2-2) over the wall in left to put the Phillies up 8-6.


DENVER (AP) — Max Muncy homered off Lucas Gilbreath (2-2) to start the 10th, and Los Angeles closed within one game of NL West leader San Francisco.

Kenley Jansen (4-4) pitched the ninth and Blake Treinen got his sixth save when C.J. Cron hit into a game-ending double play.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nick Gordon drove in four runs and Michael Pineda (8-8) won his third straight start as Minnesota bumped Toronto back in the AL wild-card race.

The loss was especially costly for Toronto, which fell a full game behind New York for the second spot and three games behind wild-card leader Boston. Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. exited in the fifth inning after teammate Randal Grichuk accidentally stepped on his right hand in the outfield.

Blue Jays starter Steven Matz finished just three innings with seven hits and two walks allowed. Thomas Hatch (0-1) exited with right hamstring discomfort and took the loss.

Teoscar Hernández tied it in the fourth with his 30th homer, but the game unraveled for the Blue Jays in the fifth.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jurickson Profar raced home on Victor Caratini’s infield single off Dominic Leone (3-5) with one out in the 10th, denying San Francisco its 100th win. San Diego stopped a five-game losing streak. and remained six games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card.


Ross Detwiler (3-1) pitched the 10th for the win.


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt homered twice, and St. Louis overcame a 5-0 deficit to extend its longest winning streak since 1982 to 12 games.

On a day Adam Wainwright faltered early, St. Louis rallied with one run in the fifth, four in the seventh, two in the eighth and one in the ninth. The Cardinals moved five games ahead of Cincinnati and Philadelphia, who played later Thursday, for the second NL wild card.

Milwaukee has lost five straight since clinching its fourth consecutive playoff berth on Sept. 18, four to St. Louis.

T.J. McFarland (4-1) pitched a one-hit seventh, and Giovanny Gallegos struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 12th save, Aaron Ashby (3-1) was the loser.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Chris Bassitt pitched three scoreless innings less than a month after surgery to repair three facial fractures, but Seattle rallied against Oakland’s bullpen for a four-game sweep.

Seattle matched its season high with its fifth straight win and moved within two games of the idle Yankees for the second AL wild-card spot. Oakland fell four games back of New York.

Bassitt was struck by a 100 mph line drive off the bat of Brian Goodwin of the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 17 and had surgery seven days later. He allowed one hit in three scoreless innings.

Mitch Haniger’s 35th homer tied the score in the sixth, and Luis Torrens followed with a go-ahead, two-run homer off Jake Diekman (3-3).

Joe Smith (3-4) pitched a scoreless fifth and Paul Sewald got his 10th save.


CINCINNATI (AP) — National League batting leader Juan Soto homered in consecutive innings, and Washington pushed Cincinnati further from playoff contention.

Seeking his second straight NL batting title, Soto raised his average to .325 with a three-hit night and is four points ahead of the Los Angeles’ Dodgers Trea Turner. He led off the sixth against Luis Castillo (8-16) with an opposite-field drive to left that bounced off the top of the wall and into the stands. He homered to the opposite field again in the seventh for his 29th homer and third in two nights.

Patrick Corbin (9-15) allowed four hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings with seven strikeouts and four walks as last-place Washington won for the fourth time in five games.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and Los Angeles snapped a six-game losing streak.

The game was tied 1-all when Jack Mayfield lined a double down the left-field line off Lance McCullers Jr. (12-5) to score Ohtani and Jared Walsh. Ohtani got aboard on a one-out walk and stole second. Ohtani has 24 stolen bases this year and is the fourth player in American League history to have at least 45 home runs and 24 steals in one season, joining Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez.

Jason Castro smashed a pinch-hit homer to center with two outs in the ninth off Raisel Iglesias to draw Houston within a run. Jose Altuve followed with a bloop hit before Iglesias got Jose Siri on a check-swing third strike to stop Houston’s four-game winning streak.

Iglesias picked up his 33rd save, which is second in the American League. Austin Warren (2-0) worked 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.


PHOENIX (AP) — Carson Kelly hit a tying three-run homer off Jacob Webb (5-4) in a five-run seventh,and Daulton Varsho followed with a go-ahead double for last-place Arizona against the NL East-leading Braves.

Seeking its fourth straight division title, Atlanta saw its lead cut to two games over Philadelphia.

Arizona, which began the day tied with Baltimore for the major leagues’ worst record at 48-104, announced before the game that manager Torey Lovullo was given a one-year contract extension through 2022.

Sean Poppen (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for his first major league victory. J.B. Wendelken got his second save.


BALTIMORE (AP) — Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays homered, rookie Zac Lowther (1-2) pitched five sparkling innings to earn his first major league victory and Baltimore beat Texas.

Tyler Wells worked the ninth to complete the five-hitter and earn his fourth save.

Mountcastle hit a solo shot in the fifth inning off Glenn Otto (0-3) for a 2-0 lead. Otto gave up two runs and five hits with seven strikeouts in five innings.


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