And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 5, Red Sox 0: Cliff Lee.  Cliff Phifer Lee.  Cliff effin’ Phifer Lee throws his third straight shutout and completes his 32nd straight scoreless inning. Some may downplay this by claiming that this was against a weak Red Sox lineup, but a weak Red Sox lineup is still better than a great many other major league lineups at full strength. Either way, Lee is entering seldomly-navigated waters now, approaching the Hershiser Zone.

Mets 14, Tigers 3: Jose Reyes was 4 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base and three runs scored and Carlos Beltran drove in four. Clearly both should be traded.

Rays 4, Reds 3: Evan Longoria hits the walkoff jack. Which the Associated Press likes to call a “game-ending homer” for reasons that are unclear but are likely rooted in a love of buzz-killing bore-speak. Johnny Damon homered and drove in three. The Rays are on fire, having won nine of 11 and now stand a single game behind the Red Sox for second place in the East.

Pirates 7, Blue Jays 6: The Pirates roughed up Jo-Jo Reyes to take a 6-1 lead and then just held on as the Jays clawed back with the help of two homers from Edwin Encarnacion.  Kevin Correia gets his 10th win, though, becoming the first Pirate to win 10 games before the All-Star break since Bob Walk did it back in 1993. No one knows who did it before that because no one except some random scientists and academics had the Internet before then.

Cardinals 6, Orioles 2: St. Louis gets back on the winning track, helped by five shutout innings from Kyle Lohse. He had to leave a bit early due to a half-hour rain delay, but by then things were under control.

Giants 13, Cubs 7, Giants 6, Cubs 3: It’s not often that the Giants’ bats carry the day, but they did in this twin bill. They broke out for a baker’s dozen in the first game, saving Ryan Volgelsong from an uncharacteristically meh start. In the nightcap, two RBI a piece from the fearsome duo of Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford made it more or less the same story.

Yankees 12, Brewers 2: I toyed with the idea of writing this one up as “a possible World Series preview!” because everyone else was saying that about the Red Sox-Phillies, ignoring the fact that, unlike the series going on down in Philly, at least both of these teams were in first place. But really, my heart wasn’t in it, because I’m not sure I take Milwaukee 100% seriously yet. Certainly the Yankees don’t, as they smacked Zack Greinke around. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher each drove in four.

Rangers 7, Astros 2: C.J. Wilson didn’t allow the Astros’ offense to do much and, given how bad the Astros’ pitching is, a two-run game from their bats is basically a death sentence.

Twins 6, Dodgers 4: Yesterday, one of the Dodgers’ lawyers actually said, in open court, that the bankruptcy can’t possibly be affecting the Dodgers seeing as though they won 15-0 on Monday night.  If I were the judge I’d call his office this morning and demand that he file a supplemental brief explaining the result of last night’s game.  Don’t get cute with the baseball, Mr. Lawyer Man. That’s my gig.

Rockies 3, White Sox 2: Ty Wigginton hit the game-winner — a bloop single — in the 13th. Again, AP goes with “game-winning hit.” Maybe ESPN or someone copyrighted “walkoff” and that’s why AP style won’t allow for it. I kind of hope that’s it and that every time I use it I’m offending some ESPN lawyer or something.  And that the cease and desist letters keep getting lost in the mail.

Diamondbacks 6, Indians 4: Cerrano hit the curve! Wily Mo Pena with a pinch-hit, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for yet another walkoff (walkoff, walkoff, walkoff) win last night. Necessitated, however, by a rocky outing for J.J. Putz, so it’s not all Skittles and beer in Dback land.

Padres 4, Royals 2: The Padres stay hot, winning their sixth game in seven tries. Kansas City, in contrast, has lost eight of 10.

Braves 5, Mariners 4: Brian McCann may be the hottest hitter in baseball right now. Four hits for the Braves’ catcher, including a two-run single that put Atlanta up for good. He also threw out Adam Kennedy on an attempted double steal, blowing a hole in the middle of what could have and should have been a Mariners rally.

Athletics 1, Marlins 0: Gio Gonzalez and Javier Vazquez were both on point, but Gonzalez was pointier, allowing only one hit over eight innings while striking out nine.

Angels 11, Nationals 5: Vernon Wells went 4 for 5 with a homer and a couple of RBI on a rare night of big offense at home for the Halos. Davey Johnson just doesn’t know how to win.

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.

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