Max Scherzer puts on clinic against the White Sox, improves to 16-1

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Tigers starter Max Scherzer silenced White Sox hitters over seven and two-thirds innings tonight, improving to 16-1 with the 3-0 victory. The right-hander allowed three hits and three walks while striking out six, lowering his ERA to 2.85. Scherzer got two quick outs in the seventh, but was lifted for newly-acquired reliever Jose Veras after Alejandro De Aza singled to center. Joaquin Benoit took over in the ninth and converted the save, his 12th of the year.

The Tigers’ three runs came on three solo home runs by Torii Hunter, Jhonny Peralta, and Jose Iglesias. They were again without Miguel Cabrera, who hasn’t played since July 30. This season, the Tigers are, astonishingly, 7-1 without him (via ESPN Stats & Info). Cabrera hopes he’ll be able to play tomorrow, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck.

The win moves the first-place Tigers to 63-45. The Indians defeated the Marlins 4-3 tonight, holding the three-game differential between the two clubs in the AL Central.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.