CHICAGO CUBS STARTING PITCHER Jon Lester throws during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in St. Louis.

CHICAGO CUBS STARTING PITCHER Jon Lester throws during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in St. Louis.


Anthony Rizzo hit a pair of home runs and Jon Lester pitched eight dominant innings as the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0 on Wednesday to clinch a playoff berth.

The Cubs improved their major league-best record to 93-52 and lowered their magic number to one for clinching their first NL Central title since 2008. They can do it Thursday night with a win at home over Milwaukee or a St. Louis loss in San Francisco.

Chicago secured at least a wild card because the four-game series between the Cardinals and Giants makes it impossible for both to catch the Cubs in the standings.

Nationals 1, Mets 0

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tanner Roark pitched seven spotless innings and Wilson Ramos homered in the seventh inning as Washington beat New York.

With one out in the seventh, Ramos hit his 21st home run far over the center field fence on the first pitch from Fernando Salas (0-1). The Nationals have won five of six.

Tigers 9, Twins 6

DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera’s homer broke a seventh-inning tie, and Detroit rallied for a crucial victory.

The Tigers trailed 5-2 in the fourth inning, but came from behind to pull one game behind Toronto for the second AL wild card.

Ian Kinsler had four hits, falling a homer short of the cycle, and drove in three runs while scoring two. Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki homered for the Twins.

Shane Greene (5-4) got the win, while Ryan Pressly (6-7) took the loss after surrendering Cabrera’s homer.

Francisco Rodriguez put up a perfect ninth for his 42nd save.

Marlins 7, Braves 5

ATLANTA (AP) — Marcell Ozuna hit a three-run homer and Miami rallied to beat Julio Teheran and Atlanta in a testy game.

The benches for both teams emptied in the seventh inning after Atlanta reliever Jose Ramirez threw inside to Miami ace Jose Fernandez, who had been knocked to the ground by a pitch from Teheran (5-10) in the fifth.

No punches were thrown and Ramirez was ejected.

The comeback from a 4-1 deficit helped Fernandez (15- 8) stop a five-game road losing streak, the longest of his career.

Padres 3, Giants 1

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Madison Bumgarner missed a chance at his 100th career win and San Francisco wasted another opportunity for a potential push in the NL West, getting swept by fourth-place San Diego.

Luis Perdomo (8-9) allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings of four-hit ball. Brandon Maurer finished for his 10th save.

Mariners 2, Angels 1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager homered to lead Seattle past Los Angeles, extending their longest winning streak of the season to eight games.

The surging Mariners moved within 1 1/2 games of Toronto for the second AL wild card, with Detroit the only team in between.

Hisashi Iwakuma (16-11) pitched into the seventh inning for Seattle, which finished a three-game sweep. It’s the first time the Mariners have won eight in a row since July 2013. They have the longest active streak in the majors.

Astros 8, Rangers 4

HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman both left with injuries, but George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez homered, helping Houston keep its fading playoff hopes alive.

Altuve exited after the fourth with right oblique discomfort, and Bregman was pulled in the sixth with right hamstring discomfort.

Houston snapped a three-game losing streak and closed within 3 1/2 games of Toronto for the second AL wild card.

Indians 6, White Sox 1


Tomlin pitched five effective innings in his return to the Indians rotation, Coco Crisp hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to break the game open and Cleveland beat Chicago to remain six games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central.

Tomlin (12-8) allowed one run and four hits and walked none as he ended a personal five-game losing streak.

Crisp, who also doubled, went deep to left with none out in the sixth to chase Carlos Rodon (7-9), who allowed six runs to match his season high and lost for the first time since July 31.

A’s 8, Royals 0

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yonder Alonso and Marcus Semien hit two-run doubles as Oakland beat Kansas City for the third straight game to further ruin the Royals’ postseason chances.

The 2015 World Series champion Royals are five games out in the AL wild card with 17 games left and would have to climb over five teams.

Phillies 6, Pirates 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Freddy Galvis continued his home run surge, hitting his 19th of the season to lead Philadelphia.

Galvis connected on a two-run shot in the second inning off Steven Brault (0- 3) for his 10th homer in the last 32 games.

Brewers 7, Reds 0

CINCINNATI (AP) — Junior Guerra pitched six shutout innings, Scooter Gennett and Domingo Santana homered and Milwaukee beat Cincinnati to avoid a three-game sweep.

Guerra (9-3), in his third start since coming off the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, allowed just one baserunner past second base — Jose Peraza on a one-out triple in the third inning.

D-Backs 11, Rockies 6

PHOENIX (AP) — Jean Segura homered twice for the second consecutive game and finished with five hits as Arizona completed a three-game sweep of Colorado.

Segura and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies each belted a leadoff homer. Chris Owings and Brandon Drury also went deep for the last-place Diamondbacks.

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