HOUSTON (AP) — George Springer hit a career-high three homers, Justin Verlander posted his MLB-leading 20th win and the Houston Astros clinched their third straight AL West title in grand fashion, routing the Los Angeles Angels 13-5 on Sunday.
A crowd at Minute Maid Park that was cheering from Verlander’s first pitch got even louder as Springer homered three times in the first four innings. The Astros kept breaking away and improved to 102-54, a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees for the best record in the majors.
Springer, the MVP of the 2017 World Series, had two chances to tie the big league record for home runs in a game. He popped up with the bases loaded in the fifth and grounded out in the seventh.
CARDINALS 3, CUBS 2
CHICAGO (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt hit a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning and St. Louis clinched a playoff spot by rallying past Chicago for its first four-game sweep at Wrigley Field in almost a century.
NL Central-leading St. Louis qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2015 and stayed three games ahead of Milwaukee. It was the fifth consecutive win for the Cardinals, who came back for a 9-8 victory Saturday on consecutive homers by Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Eric Thames hit two home runs and Milwaukee took a combined perfect game into the seventh inning to beat Pittsburgh and match Washington atop the NL wild-card standings.
Orlando Arcia connected for the Brewers, but the shortstop also let a line drive tip off his glove with one out in the seventh for a hit that ended the perfect game bid in Milwaukee’s regular season home finale.
MIAMI (AP) — Three relievers each gave up an extra-base hit in a seventh-inning meltdown, and Washington’s streak of 11 consecutive wins against Miami ended in a loss that dropped the Nationals into a tie with Milwaukee for the top NL wild card.
Hunter Strickland and Wander Suero (6-9) allowed two runs apiece in the seventh, and Tanner Rainey gave up an RBI triple by Starlin Castro as the Marlins rallied from a 3-1 deficit to take a 5-3 lead.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hyun-Jin Ryu hit a home run and pitched seven solid innings, Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam and Los Angeles reached the 100-win mark.
With the Dodgers still undecided on a starter for the NL Division Series opener Oct. 3, Ryu (13-5) made his case by giving up three runs and six hits over seven innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. His first career home run was a bonus.
The Dodgers reduced their magic number for clinching the best record in the NL to one.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Oscar Mercado hit a three-run homer, Yasiel Puig drove a three-run double and Cleveland moved into a tie for the second AL wild card.
Carlos Carrasco (6-7) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings for his longest relief appearance since his midseason cancer diagnosis, and the Indians matched the Tampa Bay Rays with six games to play. Both teams are 92-64 and two games behind Oakland, which leads the wild-card race.
BLUE JAYS 3
NEW YORK (AP) — Luis Severino (1-0) struck out nine over five scoreless innings for his first win of the season, and New York hit three home runs as it beat Toronto in its regular season home finale.
New York (102-55) moved 47 games over .500 for the first time since its record-setting 114-victory season in 1998. The AL East champions clinched home-field advantage in the AL Division Series starting Oct. 4 and are competing with Houston for the top record in the AL.
TWINS 12, ROYALS 8
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit his 400th career home run, Miguel Sanó connected twice and Minnesota powered past Kansas City to remain four games ahead of Cleveland for the AL Central lead.
Kansas City joined Baltimore, Detroit and Miami with 100 losses, only the second time in major league history there have been four 100-loss teams in one season.
RED SOX 7, RAYS 4
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi (2-0) pitched six gritty innings, Christian Vazquez hit a three-run homer and Boston beat playoff-contending Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay dropped into a tie with Cleveland for the second AL wild card, and both teams trail Oakland by two games for the top spot.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie Seth Mejias-Brean hit a two-run homer with no outs in the 10th inning and San Diego beat Arizona to give interim manager Rod Barajas his first win since taking over for the fired Andy Green.
Mejias-Brean homered off Yoan Lopez (2-7) on a 1-1 pitch for his second overall and his first walkoff homer. Greg Garcia was aboard on a leadoff double.
METS 6, REDS 3
CINCINNATI (AP) — Michael Conforto homered to cap a four-run first inning and New York gave its faint playoff hopes a boost. J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo also connected for the Mets, who remained 4 ½ games behind Milwaukee for the second NL wild card.
New York starter Marcus Stroman walked the bases loaded with two outs and a 4-2 lead in the fifth. Brad Brach (5-4) came on to get Eugenio Suárez to pop up on the first pitch.
WHITE SOX 3
DETROIT (AP) — Willi Castro hit his first major league homer, one of four connections by Detroit in a win over Chicago. Jeimer Candelario, Gordon Beckham and Victor Reyes also went deep.
Detroit’s Matthew Boyd (9-11), who missed his last start after the death of his grandfather, gave up three runs, eight hits and two walks in five innings. Joe Jimenez pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Chris Davis homered off Marco Gonzales (16-12) in the seventh inning to carry Baltimore past Seattle.
Orioles left-hander John Means (11-11) allowed one run and seven hits over seven sharp innings in the penultimate start of an All-Star rookie season. He walked one and struck out four, including Domingo Santana with his final pitch.