(AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh consecutive NL West title in fitting fashion, using two home runs by Corey Seager and a masterful pitching performance by Walker Buehler to beat the Orioles 7-3 on Tuesday night in Baltimore.
After the final out, the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season gathered at the mound for a subdued celebration that included a wardrobe change for a pending champagne celebration in the clubhouse.
Los Angeles, coming off consecutive World Series losses to Houston and Boston and seeking its first title since 1988, will likely begin the postseason at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 3 against the NL wild-card team.
This is the earliest that Los Angeles (94-52) has ever clinched the division, both in terms of date and games. The 1977 team did it in Game 151, and the 2013 club clinched on Sept. 19.
Though an Arizona loss to the New York Mets would have clinched it for the Dodgers, Los Angeles emphatically took care of business on its own. Seager homered with two on to cap a four-run first inning against Ty Blach (1-3) and added a two-run drive in the third for a 6-0 lead.
Gavin Lux hit his first career homer in the fifth to increase the Dodgers’ NL record for long balls in a season to 258.
Buehler (13-3) limited last-place Baltimore to four hits over seven shutout innings. He struck out 11.
PHILLIES 6, BRAVES 5
Corey Dickerson homered twice to help Philadelphia’s wild-card push and the Phillies hit five home runs overall in a win over Atlanta.
Philadelphia closed within two games of the Chicago Cubs for the NL’s second wild card.
J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Dickerson all homered in the first inning, Scott Kingery hit an inside-the-park homer and Dickerson tacked an insurance run with a solo shot late to help the Phillies win for the third time in four games.
Blake Parker (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings of the relief for the win. Hector Neris worked a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.
Max Fried (16-5) took the loss for Atlanta, which got run-scoring hits from Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson and Francisco Cervelli. Johan Camargo added a solo homer.
BLUE JAYS 4, RED SOX 3
Rowdy Tellez hit a two-run home run, Cavan Biggio and Reese McGuire added solo shots and Toronto snapped a seven-game losing streak with a win over Boston.
Biggio walked twice and scored twice, and McGuire had two hits.
Mookie Betts homered for the Red Sox, who have lost four straight.
Justin Shafer (2-1) pitched 1 1/3 innings as Toronto won for the first time since Aug. 31.
Ken Giles finished in the ninth for his 19th save in 20 opportunities.
TWINS 5, NATIONALS 0
José Berriós surrendered two singles over seven innings in his best start in six weeks, Mitch Garver hit the tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh, and Minnesota beat Washington.
Berriós (12-8) struck out four and walked one. Aníbal Sánchez (8-8) was almost as sharp for the Nationals, finishing with four hits and one walk allowed, along with five strikeouts.
The American League Central-leading Twins took a five-game lead on Cleveland into the night.
The Indians, who have six more losses than the Twins, played at the Los Angeles Angels.
The Nationals entered 9½ games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, but they were in the first wild card spot, 3½ games above the cut, ahead of Milwaukee.
The Chicago Cubs have the second spot.
WHITE SOX 7, ROYALS 3
Rookie Eloy Jiménez hit his first career grand slam, Yoán Moncada launched a two-run homer and Chicago beat Kansas City.
Adam Engel added a solo shot for as the White Sox won their second straight, but just their fourth in 14 games.
Adalberto Mondesi, Alex Gordon and Ryan O’Hearn went deep for the Royals.
Ivan Nova (10-12) allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings to snap his three-game losing streak. The right-hander yielded six hits, while walking none and striking out five.
ATHLETICS 21, ASTROS 7
Matt Olson and Sean Murphy each homered twice, and Oakland tagged Wade Miley for seven runs in the first inning and scored a season-high 21 runs in a rout of Houston.
After being blanked in a lopsided loss on Monday, Oakland recovered to win its seventh of nine and remained ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot.
The Astros were coming off a 21-1 win over Seattle on Sunday and a 15-0 thrashing of Oakland on Monday in which they hit seven homers. It was the first time the Athletics had been shut out since May 9.
But on Tuesday, the A’s had a season-best 25 hits and built a 7-0 lead in the first inning without an extra-base knock.
They still ended up tying a season high with six homers after not hitting any in their previous two games.
Houston’s Wade Miley (13-5) allowed seven hits and seven earned runs in a third of an inning.
Tanner Roark (4-1) worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, five earned runs and a walk with three strikeouts.
ROCKIES 2, CARDINALS 1
Nolan Arenado hit a 482-foot two-homer that bounced out of Coors Field in the first inning, Chi Chi González got his first big league win in four years and Colorado slowed St. Louis’ playoff push.
St. Louis, which had won 23 of 30 coming in, maintained a four-game lead in the NL Central over the second-place Chicago Cubs.
González (1-6) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. Jairo Díaz got six outs and finished a six-hitter for second save.
Michael Wacha (6-7) allowed five hits in four innings and is winless in seven starts and two relief appearances since July 19.
RAYS 5, RANGERS 3; 11 INN.
Austin Meadows tied the game with a two-run homer in the eighth, and Tampa Bay scored twice in the 11th after two Texas errors on the same play, stretching its winning streak to six games.
The Rays (87-59) won for the 11th time in 12 games to stay 1½ games ahead of Oakland for the top AL wild-card spot.
Tampa Bay had two on with two outs in the 11th against Emmanuel Clase (2-3) when the rookie reliever bobbled a slow roller by Kean Wong and had his desperate throw bounce away from the first baseman. Second baseman Rougned Odor picked it up and made a high errant throw into left field with a runner diving back into second base, and Nate Lowe scored the tiebreaking run from third. Guillermo Heredia followed with an RBI single.
Emilo Pagan (4-2) struck out two in a perfect 10th before Peter Fairbanks worked the 11th for his first career save.
GIANTS 5, PIRATES 4
Johnny Cueto dazzled over five shutout innings in his long-awaited season debut, pitching San Francisco past Pittsburgh.
The charismatic right-hander, far fitter and stronger than before he got hurt, returned to the mound for the first time in more than 13 months following Tommy John surgery. Cueto, back on the mound for the first time in 13 months after Tommy John surgery, allowed one hit, struck out four and walked one. Stephen Vogt hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs. His two-run single in the first off rookie Mitch Keller (1-4) staked Cueto to a quick lead and Brandon Crawford added an RBI single as four of the first five batters got hits.
Shaun Anderson earned his first save as the Giants won at home for the sixth time in 18 games.
MARINERS 4, REDS 3
Kyle Lewis homered in his major league debut, Kyle Seager hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth, and Seattle stopped a six-game losing streak by beating Cincinnati.
Dan Altavilla (1-0) pitched around a leadoff walk in the eighth for his first big league win since May 18 last year against Detroit. Anthony Bass tossed a perfect ninth for his third save.
Cincinnati’s Brian O’Grady had a two-run homer. Seattle’s Dylan Moore hit his eighth home run.
INDIANS 8, ANGELS 0
Rookie Zach Plesac pitched a four-hitter for his first complete game in the majors and Cleveland kept pace in the playoff race.
Francisco Lindor and Jordan Luplow homered, and Franmil Reyes drove in four runs as the Indians stayed a half-game behind Oakland for the second AL wild-card spot. Cleveland trails wild-card leader Tampa Bay by two games.
The Indians have won four of five. The Angels, again playing without star Mike Trout, have dropped three in a row — the loss ensured the Angels will miss the postseason for the fifth straight year.
Plesac (8-6) struck out five and walked two while throwing 114 pitches.
PADRES 9, CUBS 8; 10 INN.
Manuel Margot drew a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk with one out in the 10th inning and San Diego overcame an impressive power display by Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward to beat Chicago.
The Cubs’ lead for the second NL wild-card spot was cut to one game over Milwaukee and two over Philadelphia.
Bryant hit a pair of two-run home runs and Heyward also homered twice and drove in three runs for the Cubs.
Steve Cishek (3-6) walked Margot to bring in Luis Urias with the winning run.
Rookie Michel Baez (1-1) pitched the 10th for the win.