Twins hold on to beat Angels 8-6 and clinch AL Central title

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins clinched the AL Central title Friday night with an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Alex Kirilloff homered and drove in three runs, and Minnesota held on late to win the division crown for the third time in five seasons under manager Rocco Baldelli.

Of course, the playoffs haven’t been kind to Minnesota. The Twins have lost 18 straight postseason games, mostly to their postseason nemesis, the New York Yankees.

Pablo López (11-8) pitched six innings for the Twins, allowing three runs and five hits with seven strikeouts. Jhoan Duran gave up a run in the ninth but got the final out with the bases loaded to secure his 27th save of the season.

Davis Daniel (0-1) took the loss as the bulk pitcher behind opener José Suarez. Daniel was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake earlier in the day and gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second career major league appearance.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Ronald Acuna Jr. joined the exclusive 40-40 club as the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 9-6 on Friday night.

With the win, Atlanta moves four games ahead of the Dodgers for the top seed in the National League. The Braves hold the tiebreaker over Los Angeles based on a 4-3 season series.

Acuna’s 40th homer led off the game against Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin. The blast was Acuna’s 34th leadoff home run in his career and eighth this season. He is the first player to have 40 homers and at least 60 stolen bases in one season.

Braves starter Charlie Morton walked two batters and left the game due to right index finger discomfort after throwing 24 pitches in the first inning. He'll have an MRI on Saturday. Michael Tonkin (7-2) earned the win with two innings of work, allowing one run. Raisel Iglesias earned his 30th save.

Corbin (10-14) lasted 4 1/3 innings, surrendering five runs on five hits, including both homers, with one walk and one strikeout.


CLEVELAND (AP) — David Fry delivered a two-run double with one out in the ninth inning as Cleveland recovered from closer Emmanuel Clase blowing another save and rallied to beat AL-East leading Baltimore.

After Clase (3-9) allowed the Orioles to take the lead on Aaron Hicks’ two-run, two-out double in the top of the inning, his teammates bailed him out.

Andrés Giménez, who made two dazzling defensive plays in the eighth and ninth, opened the inning with a double off Yennier Cano (1-4). One out later, the Orioles intentionally walked Will Brennan to face Fry.

Cleveland’s catcher jumped on Cano’s first pitch, hitting it off the wall in left-center to score both runners as the Guardians spoiled what would have been a memorable comeback by the Orioles.

The loss kept Baltimore 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Tampa Bay.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Chris Bassitt became the American League’s second 15-game winner and Toronto beat Tampa Bay in a matchup of teams holding the top two American League wild-card positions.

Bassitt (15-8) allowed two runs and six hits while striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings. He tied Tampa Bay’s Zach Eflin for the AL lead in wins.

Jordan Romano replaced Jordan Hicks with two on and two outs in the eighth and walked Isaac Paredes on four pitches before retiring Curtis Mead on a grounder to preserve a 4-2 lead. The right-hander then worked the ninth to get his 36th save in 39 chances.

Rays starter Tyler Glasnow (9-7) had given up just one hit and a walk until George Springer had a one-out single in the sixth. Glasnow permitted four runs, three hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.


MIAMI (AP) — Christian Yelich and Josh Donaldson homered during a 12-run second inning and Milwaukee clinched a playoff berth.

Milwaukee, assured at least a National League wild card, shaved its magic number to one for wrapping up the NL Central title. The loss dropped the Marlins one game behind the Cubs for the third and final NL wild card.

Corbin Burnes (10-8) benefited from the early run support and scattered two hits over five scoreless innings. He struck out six. The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner had not won since July 20.

Milwaukee sent 15 batters to the plate against relievers Steven Okert (3-2) and Bryan Hoeing in its second-largest inning in franchise history. The Brewers scored 13 in the fifth to beat the California Angels 20-7 on July 8, 1990.


HOUSTON (AP) — Cole Ragans gave up three hits and two runs over six strong innings and Kansas City used two big innings to defeat Houston, knocking the Astros out of first place in the AL West.

Houston, which has lost seven of its last 10 games, dropped a half-game back of the Texas Rangers in the division. Houston holds a half-game lead for the final AL wild-card spot over the Mariners with eight games remaining.

Ragans (7-4) struck out five and walked four. He allowed five runs in six innings against the Astros on Sunday.

James McArthur pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for his second save as Kansas City won for the eighth time in its last nine games.

Royals starter Framber Valdez (12-11) surrendered seven runs — six earned — on four hits with 10 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He also walked three and hit two batters.


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Seager got Texas started with his 32nd homer and rookie Evan Carter added a three-run blast as the Rangers took over the AL West lead for the first time in September.

The Astros lost at home to fall a half-game behind Texas. That pushed Houston into the third wild-card spot and still a half-game ahead of the Mariners, who dropped below the playoff line.

Seager, the AL’s leading hitter with a .333 average, snapped a 2-for-22 slide with a first-pitch homer in the first inning off rookie Bryce Miller (8-6). Carter also went deep on the first pitch he saw in the second inning of his 14th big-league game.

Rangers starter Dane Dunning (11-6) had allowed only one hit until the first three Seattle batters reached to open the sixth inning. Dunning gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.

The Rangers scored six runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings against Miller.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Alec Bohm lined the game-winning single in the 10th inning, J.T. Realmuto hit a three-run homer in the sixth and Philadelphia moved closer to its second straight playoff appearance.

Bohm drove in automatic runner Trea Turner with a single to right off Adam Ottavino (1-6).

Phillies reliever Craig Kimbrel blew his fourth save of the season when Brett Baty took the closer deep in the ninth on a one-out tying solo shot to center that made it 4-all.

Baty’s dramatics were all the Mets could muster in the extra innings. Seranthony Domínguez (5-5) pitched out of a bases loaded, two-out jam in the 10th when he got Pete Alonso to wave at strike three in the dirt.

Behind a solid outing from Taijuan Walker, the defending NL champion Phillies moved their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to four. The Phillies, winners of six of eight, are four game ahead of Arizona for the first NL wild card.


NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge became the first player in Yankees history with two three-homer games in one season, and New York cruised to victory over Arizona.

Arizona’s five-game winning streak was snapped, and the Diamondbacks’ lead over the Chicago Cubs for the second of three NL wild-card spots was reduced to one game.

Judge hit a three-run shot in the third inning and a two-run drive in the fifth off rookie starter Brandon Pfaadt (2-9). The slugger got his third homer with a solo drive off Slade Cecconi in the seventh.

In his second start since being claimed off waivers from Seattle on Sept. 14, former Diamondbacks pitcher Luke Weaver (3-5) earned his first win for the Yankees. He allowed four hits in 5 1/3 innings for his first victory since July 3 with Cincinnati.

Jhony Brito gave up Christian Walker’s 31st homer in the ninth but pitched 3 2/3 innings for his first career save.


CHICAGO (AP) — Seiya Suzuki and Jared Young each hit two-run homers, Jameson Taillon pitched six scoreless innings and struggling Chicago improved its playoff chances by beating Colorado.

Suzuki singled in the opening inning to bring home Chicago’s first run, then tagged starter Noah Davis (0-3) for his 20th homer in the fourth. Davis allowed four hits and three earned runs while walking two and striking out four in the first five innings.

Young added his second home run in the sixth off reliever Gavin Hollowell and Dansby Swanson had an RBI single in the seventh off Brent Suter.

Taillon (8-10) allowed four hits, walked four and struck out seven to end a streak of seven winless starts. He allowed runners into scoring position in three of his first four innings but worked out of trouble each time.


CINCINNATI (AP) — Bryan Reynolds drove in the tying run in the seventh inning with an RBI single and scored the go-ahead run two batters later on Elly De La Cruz’s throwing error as Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati.

Ian Gibaut (8-4) gave up three hits and a walk in the seventh was victimized by Cruz’s errant relay to first on Miguel Andujar’s grounder after the Reds got Hayes out at second. Reynolds scored on the play.

The Reds dropped 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the last wild-card spot in the National League. The Reds were eliminated from the National League Central race but Milwaukee’s win over Miami allowed the Reds to stay a half-game behind the Marlins in the wild-card race behind the Cubs.

TJ Friedl had a two-run homer off Hunter Stratton (1-0) in the bottom of the inning to put the Reds up 5-4 before the Pirates rallied again.

David Bednar got the last three outs for his 37th save of the season and 14th in a row.


BOSTON (AP) — Masataka Yoshida hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning after Adam Duvall’s sacrifice fly, and Boston rallied for a win over Chicago.

Red Sox starter Chris Sale went five scoreless innings, striking out seven while allowing just three singles and a walk against his former team where he was a five-time All-Star from 2010-16.

Chicago right-hander Touki Toussaint, who was claimed off waivers after he was designated for assignment by Cleveland on June 17, gave up a run on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks over 6 1/3 innings.

Duvall’s bases-loaded sacrifice came against Garrett Crochet (0-2) before Yoshida sent his grounder between first and second for the tie-breaking run.

Mauricio Llovera (2-3) worked a scoreless inning for the victory and Chris Martin got the final three outs for his third save.



The Associated Press