MLB roundup: Flaherty fuels Cards to NL Central title – Metro US

MLB roundup: Flaherty fuels Cards to NL Central title

Jack Flaherty pitched seven strong innings as the host St. Louis Cardinals captured the National League Central title with a 9-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

The Cardinals (91-71) will play the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series on Thursday. The second-place Milwaukee Brewers will face the Washington Nationals in the wild-card game Tuesday.

The third-place Chicago Cubs (84-78) ended a disappointing season with a farewell loss for manager Joe Maddon, whose contract was not renewed after his five-year run.

The Cubs announced his departure before the game. Maddon led the team to postseason play in his first four seasons and won one World Series title, the franchise’s first since 1908.

Nationals 8, Indians 2

Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Washington added four more runs in the sixth against visiting Cleveland for its season-high eighth straight win.

Suzuki gave the Nationals a 3-1 lead when he hit his 17th home run of the season, a two-out, two-run blast. John Ross (4-4) gave up one run in six innings to get the win for the Nationals, who will host the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday in the National League wild-card game.

Gerardo Parra hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to make it 7-1, and he singled home the Nationals’ final run in the eighth.

Rockies 4, Brewers 3 (13 innings)

Sam Hilliard scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 13th inning, and Colorado beat Milwaukee in Denver to sweep the three-game series.

Dom Nunez homered, and Pat Valaika had two hits for the Rockies (71-91), who avoided finishing in last place a year after challenging the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West title.

Bryan Shaw (3-2) pitched the top of the 13th to get the win. Jake Faria (0-1) took the loss for the Brewers.

Rangers 6, Yankees 1

Lance Lynn allowed one run on two hits over 7 1/3 innings to pick up his 16th win of the season as Texas played its final game at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

Shin-Soo Choo doubled, walked three times and scored two runs, Ronald Guzman had two RBIs, and Elvis Andrus and Jose Trevino each had two hits for Texas, which will move across the street and play in Globe Life Field next season.

Masahiro Tanaka (11-9) took the loss and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits over three innings in his first relief appearance in 164 major league games.

Dodgers 9, Giants 0

The Dodgers finished off a three-game sweep of the Giants, spoiling manager Bruce Bochy’s going-away party. Bochy retired after 25 seasons as a manager, including 13 with San Francisco, which won three World Series championships during his tenure.

For the Dodgers, the win was the 106th on the season, setting a franchise record.

Will Smith smacked a two-run home run and eight pitchers, including Clayton Kershaw in relief, combined on a three-hit shutout. Reliever Dustin May (2-3) got the win, while Dereck Rodriguez (6-11) took the loss. Rodriguez didn’t make it out of the second, charged with five runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 4

Mookie Betts sprinted home from first base on a Rafael Devers single in the bottom of the ninth inning to allow host Boston to avoid a three-game sweep by Baltimore in each team’s season finale.

Betts’ mad dash after the ball deflected off shortstop Richie Martin and into right field. Orioles right fielder Stevie Wilkerson appeared to not notice Betts trying to score. An inning prior, Wilkerson had robbed Jackie Bradley Jr. of what would have been a go-ahead two-run home run with an incredible leaping grab in right that saw Wilkerson roll over the top of the bullpen wall after making the catch.

Despite the win, Boston was unable to hold onto a 4-3 lead taken in the seventh inning that would have made a 20-game winner out of Eduardo Rodriguez. Matt Barnes served up a game-tying single to Jonathan Villar in the eighth inning.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 3

Teoscar Hernandez hit a three-run homer, Breyvic Valera added a solo shot, Justin Smoak drove in three runs with two doubles and Toronto downed visiting Tampa Bay.

The Rays (96-66) lost their final two games of the regular season after clinching a wild-card spot Friday. Tampa Bay visits the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday to play the American League wild-card game.

The Blue Jays (67-95) finished the season by going 12-6. Right-hander Clay Buchholz (2-5) earned the win, allowing one run, four hits and one walk while striking out six in five innings.

Astros 8, Angels 5

George Springer homered, doubled and singled twice to lead Houston past Los Angeles Angels in the regular-season finale for both teams in Anaheim, Calif.

Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole won his 20th game, and Aledmys Diaz and Yuli Gurriel also homered for Houston, which finished the regular season 107-55 for the best record in the majors and secured home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

The 107 victories are the most in franchise history and mark the club’s third consecutive 100-win season. From the franchise’s inception in 1962 through 2016, the team had only one 100-win season (102 in 1998).

Mets 7, Braves 6 (11 innings)

Dominic Smith, making his first plate appearance in more than two months, hit a three-run walk-off home run in the 11th inning as New York completed a season-ending, three-game sweep of division champion Atlanta.

The Mets finished 86-76, a nine-game improvement over last season. The Braves, who won their second straight National League East crown, will face the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Division Series beginning Thursday.

Luis Guillorme singled leading off the 11th, and Wilson Ramos singled with one out before Smith, who hadn’t batted since July 26 due to a left foot injury, stepped up with two outs against Grant Dayton (0-1) and homered beyond the right field fence.

Mariners 3, Athletics 1

Kyle Seager belted a two-run homer and seven pitchers combined on a three-hitter as host Seattle defeated postseason-bound Oakland in the regular-season finale.

The Mariners also received a run-scoring single from rookie Kyle Lewis as they won for just the second time in their final seven games.

The A’s edged out Tampa Bay by one game in the chase for the American League’s top wild card. Oakland will play host to the Rays on Wednesday in a one-game playoff.

Diamondbacks 1, Padres 0

Tim Locastro beat out an infield single into the hole at shortstop to drive in the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning as Arizona beat San Diego in Phoenix to end the season on a five-game winning streak.

Eduardo Escobar singled to open the ninth inning but was thrown out attempting to stretch it into a double before Christian Walker blooped a double down the right field line off Matt Strahm (6-11).

Walker took third on Josh Rojas’ groundout and scored when shortstop Luis Urias’ throw to first on Locastro’s grounder was late and bounced past first base for Arizona’s eighth walk-off win of the year.

Royals 5, Twins 4

Brett Phillips’ sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth led host Kansas City past Minnesota in Royals’ manager Ned Yost’s final game. It was Phillips’ first career walk-off RBI.

Humberto Arteaga led off the ninth with a double down the left field line. Nick Dini blooped a hit into short right, sending Arteaga to third, and setting up Phillips’ heroics.

With the Royals trailing 4-3, Hunter Dozier led off the eighth with his 10th triple of the season. He joined teammates Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi and Eduardo Escobar of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the major league lead in triples. Dozier then scored on Ryan O’Hearn’s double to tie the score.

Marlins 4, Phillies 3

Sandy Alcantara allowed one run in six innings, and Starlin Castro, Isan Diaz and Martin Prado homered to help visiting Miami defeat Philadelphia.

Alcantara (6-14) scattered eight hits, struck out five and walked one. He fanned pinch hitter Philip Gosselin with his 99th pitch to strand the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Harold Ramirez had two hits for Miami (57-105).

The Phillies (81-81) were trying to finish with a winning record for the first time since the 2011 season. Bryce Harper had two hits in the loss, ending with a .260 batting average, 35 home runs and a career-high 114 RBIs in his first season in Philadelphia.

Reds 3, Pirates 1

Aristides Aquino, Brian O’Grady and Alex Blandino hit solo homers as Cincinnati won its second straight and downed host Pittsburgh in both teams’ season finale.

The Pirates were managed by bench coach Tom Prince. Pittsburgh fired manager Clint Hurdle about 90 minutes before game time. Hurdle was 735-720-1 with three straight playoff appearances from 2013-15 after taking over in 2011.

Melky Cabrera had two of seven hits for the Pirates, who finished 69-93. Cincinnati starter Tyler Mahle (3-12) pitched five scoreless innings, giving up three hits, striking out five and walking none.

White Sox 5, Tigers 3

Welington Castillo homered to cap a four-run sixth, and Ross Detwiler pitched 5 1/3 strong innings to help host Chicago close the regular season with a win against Detroit.

Kelvin Herrera navigated a solo home run from Ronny Rodriguez in the ninth inning to notch his first save of the season for Chicago (72-89), which lost fewer than 90 games for the first time since 2016. The Tigers (47-114) finished with the most losses in Major League Baseball for the third time in club history.

Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson won the American League batting title with a .335 average, becoming the first White Sox player to accomplish the feat since Frank Thomas in 1997.

–Field Level Media