Cardinals win the NL Central
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their first NL Central title in four years, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-0 Friday night behind the strong pitching of Lance Lynn and home runs by David Freese and Matt Holliday.
St. Louis (95-65) has won six of seven and is tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NL. They are assured of home-field advantage when the NL division series starts Thursday.
Lynn (15-10) struck out six in a row, starting with Dioner Navarro to end the first.
Travis Wood (9-12) gave up three runs and four hits, leaving after just one inning — when he reached 200 in a season for the first time.
PIRATES 4, REDS 1
CINCINNATI (AP) — Marlon Byrd had three hits and Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer high off the batter's eye, leading the Pirates over the Reds 4-1 in a series that will decide the NL wild-card game host.
With the Cardinals clinching the Central title, it comes down to who gets to host the wild-card playoff next Tuesday night, and the Pirates are one win away from taking it to PNC Park.
Byrd and Alvarez provided all of the Pirates' runs off Homer Bailey (11-12), who is struggling with his control heading into the postseason. A.J. Burnett (10-11) handled the Reds' slumping lineup, allowing Todd Frazier's homer and five hits overall in eight innings. Jason Grilli gave up a hit in the ninth while getting his 33rd save in 35 chances.
Cincinnati has lost three straight and scored one run in the last 22 innings.
DODGERS 11, ROCKIES 0
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw scattered four hits over six innings, Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis each homered and drove in three runs and the Dodgers beat the Rockies.
Kershaw (16-9) lowered his ERA to 1.83, becoming the first pitcher to lead the majors in ERA in three consecutive seasons since Atlanta's Greg Maddux from 1993-95.
The left-hander joined Houston's Roger Clemens (1.87) and Boston's Pedro Martinez (1.74) as the only qualifying pitchers since 2000 to post an ERA under 2.00. Kershaw is the first Dodgers pitcher to do so since Sandy Koufax had a 1.73 ERA in 1966.
Kershaw struck out eight and walked none in totaling a career-high 236 innings this season. Favored to win the NL Cy Young Award, Kershaw leads the league with 232 strikeouts.
Rookie Collin McHugh (0-3) gave up eight runs and nine hits in four innings, struck out three and walked one.
BRAVES 1, PHILLIES 0
ATLANTA (AP) — Chris Johnson led off the eighth inning with a homer to spoil an otherwise dominant start by Cliff Lee, Kris Medlen allowed only two hits in eight innings and the Braves beat the Philadelphia.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 50th save.
Johnson's homer to left field snapped a streak of 16 consecutive batters retired by Lee (14-8), who allowed only three hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts in eight innings.
Medlen (15-12) strengthened his case to be the Braves' Game 1 starter in the NL division series next week. He allowed two hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. He has won five straight decisions.
GIANTS 7, PADRES 3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hunter Pence hit his career-best 26th home run to back a shaky outing by Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants beat the Padres.
Brandon Belt and Juan Perez also homered for San Francisco in the first game of the season-ending series between two teams battling to stay out of the cellar in the NL West.
Vogelsong (4-6) gave up a pair of runs in the first three innings and had to pitch out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth to win for the first time since Aug. 25.
Burch Smith (1-3) allowed six runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings. The San Diego rookie walked three and struck out eight, giving him 42 in 31 innings.
BREWERS 4, METS 2
NEW YORK (AP) — Norichika Aoki hit a leadoff homer, Khris Davis connected three batters later and Yovani Gallardo pitched the Brewers to a victory over the Mets.
Martin Maldonado also homered and Gallardo (12-10) went six innings to end his inconsistent season with a win. The right-hander, who won 33 games over the previous two years, finished 4-1 in eight starts since returning from a strained left hamstring.
Jim Henderson pitched a perfect ninth for his 28th save in 32 tries.
Aoki sent the fourth pitch from Carlos Torres (4-6) to right field for his second career leadoff homer.
NATIONALS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 4
PHOENIX (AP) — Stephen Strasburg ended his season with a strong performance, Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each hit three-run homers and the Nationals opened their final weekend with Davey Johnson as manager by beating the Diamondbacks.
Strasburg (8-9) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings with four strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter.
Werth, who missed the early part of the season with a hamstring injury, sent a pitch from Patrick Corbin (14-8) soaring to deep left field for his 25th home run. Ramos' 16th homer was off Chaz Roe in the seventh.
MARLINS 3, TIGERS 2
MIAMI (AP) — Jhonny Peralta had a hit and an RBI double in his first game since completing a 50-game suspension, but the Tigers lost to the Marlins.
Peralta, who was suspended for his involvement with bogenesis, a Florida-based anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs, started in left field.
His first action came when Giancarlo Stanton hit a bases-loaded double in the third inning that gave Miami a 3-0 lead.
Peralta's run-scoring double chased Miami starter Tom Koehler (5-10) in the sixth and cut the Marlins' lead to 3-2.
Detroit's Jose Alvarez (1-5) lasted 2 2-3 innings in his return to the starting rotation after eight relief appearances.