Houston catcher Christian Vazquez, right, celebrates with Manager Dusty Baker Jr. after the Astros clinched the American League West title with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Houston Astros clinched their fifth AL West title in six years, getting a leadoff home run from Jose Altuve in a 4-0 victory over Tampa Bay on Monday night.

Headed to the postseason for the sixth straight season, Houston won for the eighth time in nine games and improved the AL’s best record to 97-51.

Luis Garcia (13-8) won his fifth straight decision, giving up two hits and four walks in five innings while striking out four. Hunter Brown pitched three innings and Héctor Neris finished the five-hitter, the Astros 16th shutout this season.

Tampa Bay (82-65) is in position for the second of three AL wild card berths, one game behind Toronto (83-64) and a half-game ahead of Seattle (81-65).

GUARDIANS 11, TWINS 11: Josh Naylor and Amed Rosario hit three-run homers, Cal Quantrill kept his home unbeaten streak intact and the Cleveland Guardians thumped the Minnesota Twins 11-4 on Monday, taking four of five in the series from an AL Central pursuer.

Naylor homered in the first inning off Sonny Gray (8-5) and Rosario connected in the sixth off rookie Ronny Henriquez to make it 7-3 as the first-place Guardians opened a four-game division lead over the Chicago White Sox. Minnesota trails by seven games.


Cleveland begins a three-game series in Chicago on Tuesday against the second-place White Sox, who were idle.

Nick Gordon homered off Quantrill (13-5) for the Twins, who came to town hoping to cut into the Guardians’ lead but left further behind. Cleveland went 13-6 against Minnesota, winning nine of the last 10.

Rosario was brutal on Twins pitchers in the series, batting .440 (11 of 25) with two homers and 11 RBI.

Quantrill stuck around until the sixth and improved to 13-0 in 32 starts at Progressive Field. The right-hander is one win shy of matching Vic Raschi’s record for dominance in one ballpark. Raschi went 14-0 at Comiskey Park from 1947-55.

MARINERS 9, ANGELS 1: Carlos Santana homered twice, including his first grand slam in three years, Ty France drove in four runs and Seattle Mariners won in Anaheim, California to stop a three-game losing streak.

Santana had the 15th multi-homer game of his 13-year career and fourth this season. He has seven homers in his last nine games and has hit 15 of his 19 home runs this season since Seattle acquired him from Kansas City in late June.


TIGERS 11, ORIOLES 0: Tyler Alexander held Baltimore hitless until the seventh inning, Riley Greene drove in three runs and Detroit stalled the Orioles’ playoff push with a win in Baltimore.

Baltimore fell five games behind Seattle in the race for the last of three AL wild-card spots. Both teams have 16 games left, and the Mariners own the tiebreaker advantage for winning the season series.

Alexander (4-10) permitted only two baserunners over the first six innings, both on walks, before Ryan Mountcastle led off the seventh by lofting a single in front of Greene in center. Anthony Santander followed with another single, but both runners were stranded.


METS 7, BREWERS 2: Max Scherzer was pulled from his 200th win with a perfect game intact, and New York clinched its first playoff berth in six years by winning in Milwaukee.

Reinstated from the injured list before the game, Scherzer (10-4) struck out nine in six innings. The 38-year-old ace threw only 68 pitches, but that was as far as the NL East leaders let him go in his first start in 16 days.


Christian Yelich doubled leading off the seventh against Tylor Megill, making his first major league relief appearance after 27 starts. Megill also came off the injured list Monday.

Pete Alonso hit a three-run homer off reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes (10-8), and the Mets won their fifth straight to wrap up at least one of the three National League wild cards. They lead the NL East by one game over defending World Series champion, Atlanta, which beat Washington 5-2 at home.

It is the 10th postseason appearance in the franchise’s 61-season history, and first since the Mets lost to San Francisco in the 2016 NL wild-card game.

BRAVES 5, NATIONALS 2: Kyle Wright won his major league-leading 19th game, Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario homered and  Atlanta beat visiting Washington to win their ninth straight home game to improve to 92-55.

Atlanta is one game behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East. The Mets beat the Brewers, 7-2, on Monday to clinch a playoff berth.

Wright (19-5) won his sixth consecutive decision, allowing two runs and eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in six innings. The Braves improved to 22-6 in Wright’s starts this season, including seven straight wins. Wright threw 64 of 88 pitches for strikes.


MARLINS 10, CUBS 3: Bryan De La Cruz hit a grand slam in the third inning and Miami beat visiting Chicago.

Rookie Charles Leblanc and Jon Berti also went deep while Miguel Rojas had three hits for the Marlins. Berti also singled twice and stole two bases, giving him an NL-leading 36.


RANGERS: Texas in the process of adding veteran catcher Kevin Plawecki, two people with knowledge of the process confirmed to the Dallas Morning News.

Plawecki, 31, was designated for assignment by Boston on Friday and released from the roster Monday. There were still procedural moves to be checked off before he is given his unconditional release and is eligible to sign with another club. Plawecki likely wouldn’t play much behind Jonah Heim and Sam Huff in Texas over the last two weeks of the season, but it would give the Rangers the ability to get a feel for him. Plawecki was seen as a clubhouse leader in Boston.

In a radio interview, Boston right-hander Nathan Eovaldi said of Plawecki: “He’s the one teammate you want in the clubhouse. The type of guy he is and the selfishness that he has. He is trying to do everything he can for the team. I think sometimes that goes a little further than productivity or whatever on the field. To me that was a very difficult one, to lose a guy like him even where we are in the season in the last few weeks.”


TIGERS: The Detroit Tigers have hired San Francisco Giants general manager Scott Harris as president of baseball operations, a source confirmed to The Detroit News. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Harris, 35, has been the general manager of the Giants for three seasons after serving multiple roles in the Cubs’ baseball operations department for seven years under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

The Cubs played in the postseason for four straight years during his tenure and won the 2018 World Series.

BREWERS: Milwaukee left-hander Aaron Ashby will return from the injured list to start a bullpen game Tuesday night against the New York Mets.

Ashby went on the 15-day IL on Aug. 22 with left shoulder inflammation, a move retroactive to two days earlier. Ashby is 2-10 with a 4.58 ERA and 116 strikeouts over 96 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs over five innings at the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 19.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.