ST. LOUIS — Addison Russell hit a three-run homer and John Lackey pitched six strong innings as the Chicago Cubs clinched their second consecutive NL Central title with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
The Cubs reached the postseason for the third straight year for the first time since 1908. They are also the first defending World Series champion to win their division the next season since the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies and the first defending champion to reach the playoffs the next season since the Cardinals won the wild card in 2012.
Lackey (12-11) retired the final 10 batters he faced. The former Cardinal struck out three and gave up two hits and two walks.
Six Cubs relievers combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
Michael Wacha (12-9) was chased after allowing the first six Cubs to reach base in the seventh.
INDIANS 4, TWINS 2
CLEVELAND — From worst to wild card, the Minnesota Twins have completed a most remarkable reversal.
A couple hours after losing 4-2 to Cleveland, the Twins earned an AL wild-card berth the Angels lost 6-4 in 10 innings to White Sox.
A season after winning just 59 games, the Twins became the first team to lose at least 100 and then make the postseason the following year.
Manager Paul Molitor’s team will play Tuesday night at either Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park in the wild-card game. Boston holds a three-game lead over New York in the AL East race.
Cleveland scored two runs off Adalberto Mejia (4-7). Mike Clevinger (12-5) won in relief for the Indians.
WHITE SOX 6, ANGELS 4, 10 INNINGS
CHICAGO — Nicky Delmonico hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Chicago and eliminate the Angels from playoff contention.
Delmonico, who had three hits and three RBIs, connected off Blake Parker (3-3).
Danny Farquhar (4-2) got the win.
ROCKIES 15, MARLINS 9
DENVER — Ian Desmond homered during a six-run second inning and playoff-chasing Colorado won hours after Major League Baseball approved the sale of the Marlins to an investment group featuring Derek Jeter.
Charlie Blackmon reached 100 RBIs for the Rockies, who with three games left are in prime position to contend for their first postseason berth since 2009. They are 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the second NL wild-card spot.
Jon Gray (10-4) lasted six innings and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in 13 straight starts. Adam Conley (7-8) gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings.
REDS 6, BREWERS 0
MILWAUKEE — Brewers rookie Brandon Woodruff was chased in a five-run third inning and Milwaukee’s postseason hopes took another hit.
The Brewers have lost five of seven. They’ve dropped 2 ½ games behind Colorado for the second NL wild-card spot with only four games left.
Joey Votto hit his team-high 36th home run and Homer Bailey (6-9) threw seven strong innings for the Reds. Woodruff (2-3) made his major league debut last month.
RED SOX 10, BLUE JAYS 7
BOSTON — Reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello struggled in his final playoff tuneup, and David Price relieved him to solidify his role on the postseason roster as Boston lowered its magic number to two for winning the AL East.
Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts homered in a five-run third inning for the Red Sox after Porcello (11-17) gave up three runs in the first.
Boston, which is already guaranteed a playoff berth, maintained a three-game lead in the division over the second-place Yankees. The Red Sox could clinch the first back-to-back AL East titles in franchise history with a victory over Houston on Thursday and a New York loss to the Rays.
Marco Estrada (10-9) took the loss.
YANKEES 6, RAYS 1
NEW YORK — Luis Severino cruised through his final postseason tuneup and Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks all homered in the sixth inning for New York.
The Yankees remained three behind AL East-leading Boston with four to play.
Severino (14-6) struck out nine and allowed a run in six innings. He is lined up to start New York’s playoff opener. The Yankees would host the AL wild-card game Tuesday against Minnesota if they don’t win the division.
Matt Andriese (5-5) took the loss.
DODGERS 10, PADRES 0
LOS ANGELES — Rich Hill allowed two hits over seven innings and Yasiel Puig, Curtis Granderson and Corey Seager homered to power Los Angeles.
The Dodgers own the best record in baseball and tied the Los Angeles franchise record for wins in a season at 102, which was last done in 1974.
Hill (12-8) struck out 10. The Dodgers will host the first game of the NLDS against the to-be-determined wild-card winner on Oct. 6 at Dodger Stadium.
ASTROS 12, RANGERS 2
ARLINGTON, Texas — Justin Verlander struck out 11 to win his fifth straight start since getting traded to Houston, major league batting leader Jose Altuve reached 200 hits for the fourth season in a row, and the AL West champion Astros completed a dominating three-game sweep.
Carlos Correa hit two home runs and George Springer had a grand slam as Houston outscored Texas 37-7 in the series. The Rangers lost their sixth straight game.
Verlander (15-8) matched his season high for strikeouts while allowing two runs without a walk in six innings. He is 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his five starts since being traded from Detroit to Houston on Aug. 31.
Altuve, who is hitting .347, got his 200th hit on a single in the first off Nick Martinez (3-8).
DIAMONDBACKS 4, GIANTS 3
PHOENIX — J.D. Martinez hit his 16th homer in September during a three-run rally in the ninth inning that lifted Arizona over San Francisco.
Martinez tied Ralph Kiner’s 1949 NL record for home runs in September. The major league record is 17, shared by Babe Ruth and Albert Belle.
Martinez has 45 homers this season, 29 of them since being traded from Detroit to the Diamondbacks on July 18. His 36 RBIs in a month set an Arizona record, topping Luis Gonzalez’s 35 in June 2001.
David Peralta drew a bases-loaded walk to cap the comeback in the ninth. The next time Arizona plays at Chase Field will be next Wednesday in the NL wild-card game.
All of the runs were charged to Giants closer Sam Dyson (3-3). J.J. Hoover (3-1) earned the win in relief.
PHILLIES 7, NATIONALS 5
PHILADELPHIA — Aaron Altherr had two hits and drove in two runs to lead Philadelphia over Washington.
Nationals starter Tanner Roark (13-11) struggled with command, walking five hitters and allowing six earned runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Bryce Harper was 1 for 4 with a single and a run scored in his second game since returning from a hyperextended left knee.
Rookie Yacksel Rios (1-0) got his first career victory. Hector Neris worked a perfect ninth for his 20th consecutive save conversion and 26th in 29 opportunities overall.
METS 7, BRAVES 1
NEW YORK — Terry Collins was a winner in perhaps his final home game as manager of the New York Mets.
Travis d’Arnaud drove in three runs and pinch-hitter Dominic Smith launched a three-run homer for the Mets, who won their third straight and finished 37-44 at Citi Field this year. They wrap up the season with three games in Philadelphia this weekend.
The 68-year-old Collins, oldest manager in the majors, has said he has no plans to retire and would like to keep working until age 70 — even if that means somewhere else in baseball. His contract expires after this season, and the Mets (69-90) are expected to make changes following a hugely disappointing season derailed by injuries and underperformance.
Robert Gsellman (8-7) capped his inconsistent season by throwing six steady innings. Sean Newcomb (4-9) took the loss.
ROYALS 7, TIGERS 4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Paulo Orlando hit a two-run homer and Kansas City sent Detroit to its ninth straight loss.
The Tigers are 4-22 in September and have been outscored 68-30 in the skid. The last time Detroit lost nine in a row was 2005.
Orlando’s home run was his first since Sept. 19, 2016, going 117 at-bats between long balls.
Scott Alexander (5-4) went 1 1/3 scoreless innings and Mike Minor got his fourth save. Drew VerHagen (0-3) gave up the home run to Orlando,
ATHLETICS 6, MARINERS 5
OAKLAND, Calif. — Mark Canha hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning that sent Oakland over Seattle.
Canha’s fifth homer this season came against Shae Simmons (0-1).
The A’s avoided a three-game sweep and snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Mariners. Matt Joyce tied an Oakland record with three doubles.
Blake Treinen (3-4) pitched a scoreless ninth.
PIRATES 5, ORIOLES 3
PITTSBURGH — Josh Bell hit a two-run homer and Pittsburgh beat Baltimore.
Bell’s 25th home run came off Gabriel Ynoa (2-3).
Chad Kuhl (8-11) went five-plus innings and Felipe Rivero pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances.