And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Ubaldo Jiminez windup.jpgRockies
5, Padres 2
: Ubaldo Jimenez? Yeah, Ubaldo Jimenez: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER,
13K. Your move, Messers Lincecum and Halladay.

Blue
Jays 5, Indians 1
: Brett Cecil took a perfect game into the seventh
and ended up giving up only one hit while striking out ten. In other
news, whenever I read the name “Brett Cecil” my brain processes it as
“Brett Ashley” and I begin to wonder whether the Blue Jays’ starter’s
life is aimless and unsatisfying. Whether he too will even find
happiness as he searches in vain for the shattered values he held before
the war.

Rangers 4, Athletics 2: There’s the Rich Harden we were looking for (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 9K). Ron Washington gets ejected for the second time since Friday in a game his team wins. Maybe he’s on to something!

Red Sox 17, Angels 8: Mike Lowell went 4 for 4 with four RBIs and three doubles, J. D. Drew had four
hits and drove in three runs and Kevin Youkilis, Bill Hall, Adrian Beltre and Dustin Pedroia all went long. In light of how given to hyperbole the Boston media is, I’m sure we can look forward to many a story this morning about how the Sox will break the single season runs record and and accompanying features in the travel section promoting World Series getaway packages.

Cardinals 6, Phillies 3:  A three-run double for David Freese as last week’s player of the week keeps up his torrid pace. Jaime Garcia gave up three hits and struck out six. If it wasn’t for a fellow named Heyward, Freese and Garcia would be having quite the teammate’s battle over NL Rookie of the year, huh? Joe Blanton returned for Philly and he was a bit better than his line indicated — 6.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER — but it just wasn’t enough. But, hey, this was fun.

Yankees 4, Orioles 1:  See Boston? That’s how you beat Baltimore. All you need is a three-run homer from Randy Winn and eight strong innings from CC Sabathia. You might want to hold the Jorge Posada calf injury, though. That’s purely optional.

Twins 10, Tigers 4: Of course the Twins had to do this on the same day I provocatively put them below the Tigers in the Power Rankings. Wilson Ramos follows up his four-hit major league debut with a 3 for 4 night. I hereby predict that he will play in 2128 more games before being rested and that Joe Mauer will be relegated to historical footnote.  OK, not really. I’m just still coming down from my ballgame buzz.

White Sox 5, Royals 1: The White Sox breathe a sigh of relief as Jake Peavy throws seven shutout innings while striking out nine. With this tuneup out of the way, I’m sure they’ll feel much more confident about him facing major leaguers the next time out.

Reds 3, Mets 2: An 11th inning pinch-hit walkoff job for Lance Nix overshadows a decent-for-him performance from Oliver Perez. Too many baserunners — Perez allowed six hits and walked four — but he did only give up two runs and that’s some kind of progress. Or luck, but let’s not dwell on the negative, shall we?

Diamondbacks 9, Astros 1: That’s seven straight losses for the Astros, as they continue to travel around the league, making teams who have been struggling feel good about themselves. Indeed, in just the past week they’ve lifted the spirits of the Reds, the Braves and now the Dbacks. Good for you, Houston. You’re doing God’s work.

Dodgers clinch NL’s top seed, West title with win over A’s

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Wrapping up an NL West title has become routine for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but in a year in which no one was sure three months ago if there would be a baseball season, manager Dave Roberts wanted his team to still savor the moment.

The Dodgers clinched the NL’s top postseason seed and eighth straight division title Tuesday night with a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. They are third team to win at least eight straight division titles, joining the Atlanta Braves (14 straight from 1991-2005) and New York Yankees (nine straight from 1998-2006).

“To fast forward a couple months and be crowned NL West champs is a credit to everyone. It should never be taken for granted,” Roberts said. “Truth be told a lot of guys didn’t know we could clinch. We were responsible but I let it know that it has to be appreciated.”

The Dodgers, who own the best record in the majors at 39-16, were the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth on Sept. 16. They will open postseason play on Sept. 30 by hosting every game in a best-of-three series against the No. 8 seed.

Los Angeles came into the day with a magic number of two and got help with the Angels’ 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Instead of a wild celebration on the mound after Jake McGee struck out Sean Murphy for the final out, players briskly walked out of the dugout to celebrate with teammates. Everyone grabbed a division clinching shirt and cap before heading to the mound for a group photo.

The clubhouse celebration was also muted. Champagne was still involved, but it was players toasting each other with a glass instead of being showered in it.

“We talked about it instead of dumping stuff on people. It’s a moment you need to celebrate and we did,” said Corey Seager, who had three hits and one of Los Angeles’ four home runs, “It stinks not being able to do champagne and beer showers because some of the younger guys haven’t been able to experience that.”

Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock also went deep for Los Angeles, which leads the majors with 104 home runs.

“This whole year has been weird. There’s no other way to describe it,” Muncy said. “It’s sad not to be celebrate as usual but we know there is a lot more at stake.”

Dustin May (2-1) went five innings and allowed two runs on three hits. The 22-year-old red-headed righty set a team record by not allowing more than three earned runs in his first 13 career starts, which include 10 this season.

Robbie Grossman homered for Oakland, which clinched its first AL West crown in seven years on Monday during a day off. The Athletics, in the postseason for the third straight year, currently are the AL’s No. 3 seed.

Mark Canha had two of Oakland’s five hits.

Seager tied it at 1 in the first with an RBI single and then led off the fifth with a drive to center off T.J. McFarland to extend LA’s lead to 6-2.

Muncy gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the third inning with a two-run homer. Taylor and Pollock extended it with solo shots in the fourth off Oakland starter Frankie Montas (3-5).

Grossman quickly gave Oakland a 1-0 lead when he homered off the left-field pole in the first inning. Sean Murphy briefly gave the Athletics a 2-1 advantage when he led off the third with a walk and scored on a wild pitch by May with two outs.

Montas, who allowed only four home runs in his first seven starts, has given up six in his past three. The right-hander went four innings and yielded five runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

“They’re a pretty good team that when you make mistakes, they make you pay,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “They’re pretty good laying off and making you throw it over the plate. They made Montas pay, unfortunately.”

Cody Bellinger added two hits for the Dodgers, including an RBI single with the bases loaded in the seventh.

ATHLETICS ADVANCE

The A’s have a team text thread they used to celebrate clinching their first AL West title since 2013 during their off day Monday, when the Mariners beat Houston.

“We didn’t really celebrate too much yet. It’s exciting,” Chad Pinder said. “We wanted to do it on our own terms. We still won the division and that was our goal. It’s nice to know we’ll be playing home for the series.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: INF/OF Pinder (strained right hamstring) planned to run at Dodger Stadium and test his leg with hopes of still playing before the conclusion of the regular season. …. RHP Daniel Mengden has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He was designated for assignment after being medically cleared and reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list following a positive test from Aug. 28.

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before first pitch due to left hamstring discomfort He came off the injured list on Sept. 15 and has not played in the field since Aug. 28. … Joc Pederson was in the lineup at DH after missing five games while on the family emergency medical list. Roberts said before the game that he wasn’t sure if Pederson will remain with the team during the entire postseason.

UP NEXT

Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50) is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA over his last five starts dating to Aug. 20.

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (3-0, 3.49) will make his team-leading 11th start.

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this story.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports