Twins claim AL Central for third time in 5 years

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Minnesota Twins clinched the American League Central title Friday night with an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Alex Kirilloff homered and drove in three runs, and the Twins held on late to win the division crown for the third time in five seasons under Manager Rocco Baldelli.

Pablo Lopez (11-8) pitched six innings for the Twins, allowing three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. Jhoan Duran gave up a run in the ninth but got the final out with the bases loaded to secure his 27th save of the season.

Minnesota added on with a four-run seventh, highlighted by RBI doubles from Kyle Farmer and Jorge Polanco.

Davis Daniel (0-1) took the loss as the bulk pitcher behind opener José Suarez. Daniel was recalled from Class AAA Salt Lake earlier in the day and gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second career major league appearance.

BLUE JAYS 6, RAYS 2 Chris Bassitt became the American League's second 15-game winner and Toronto beat Tampa Bay in a matchup of teams holding the top two American League wild-card positions. Bassitt (15-8) allowed two runs and six hits while striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings. He tied Tampa Bay's Zach Eflin for the AL lead in wins.

GUARDIANS 9, ORIOLES 8 David Fry delivered a two-run double with one out in the ninth inning as Cleveland recovered from closer Emmanuel Clase blowing another save and rallied to beat Baltimore.

RANGERS 8, MARINERS 5 Corey Seager got Texas started with his 32nd home run and rookie Evan Carter added a three-run blast as the Rangers took over the AL West lead for the first time in September with a victory over Seattle.

RED SOX 3, WHITE SOX 2 Masataka Yoshida hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning after Adam Duvall's sacrifice fly, and Boston rallied for a win over Chicago.

ROYALS 7, ASTROS 5 Cole Ragans (7-4) gave up three hits and two runs over six strong innings and Kansas City used two big innings to defeat Houston, knocking the Astros out of first place in the AL West.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

BRAVES 9, NATIONALS 6 Ronald Acuna Jr. joined the exclusive 40-40 club as Atlanta beat Washington. Acuna's 40th home run led off the game against Nats left-hander Patrick Corbin. The blast was Acuna's 34th leadoff home run in his career and eighth this season. He is the first player to have 40 home runs and at least 60 stolen bases in one season.

BREWERS 16, MARLINS 1 Christian Yelich and Josh Donaldson homered during a 12-run second inning and Milwaukee clinched a playoff berth. Milwaukee, assured at least a National League wild card, shaved its magic number to one for wrapping up the NL Central title. The loss dropped the Marlins one game behind the Cubs for the third and final NL wild card.

CUBS 6, ROCKIES 0 Seiya Suzuki and Jared Young each hit two-run home runs, Jameson Taillon pitched six scoreless innings and struggling Chicago improved their playoff chances with a win over Colorado.

PHILLIES 5, METS 4 (10) Alec Bohm lined the game-winning single in the 10th inning, J.T. Realmuto hit a three-run home run in the sixth and Philadelphia moved closer to their second consecutive playoff appearance with a win over New York. Bohm drove in automatic runner Trea Turner with a single to right off Adam Ottavino (1-6). Phillies reliever Craig Kimbrel blew his fourth save of the season when Brett Baty took the closer deep in the ninth on a one-out tying shot to center that made it 4-all.

PIRATES 7, REDS 5 Bryan Reynolds drove in the tying run in the seventh inning with an RBI single and scored the go-ahead run two batters later on Elly De La Cruz's throwing error as Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati.

INTERLEAGUE

YANKEES 7, DIAMONDBACKS 1 Aaron Judge became the first player in Yankees history with two three-home run games in one season, and New York cruised to a victory over Arizona. Judge hit a three-run shot in the third inning and a two-run drive in the fifth off rookie starter Brandon Pfaadt (2-9). The slugger got his third homer with a drive off Slade Cecconi in the seventh.


Friday’s games

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Chicago Cubs 6, Colorado 0

Milwaukee 16, Miami 1

Atlanta 9, Washington 6

Pittsburgh 7, Cincinnati 5

Philadelphia 5, NY Mets 4 (10)

St. Louis at San Diego, (n)

San Francisco at LA Dodgers, (n)

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Toronto 6, Tampa Bay 2

Boston 3, Chicago White Sox 2

Cleveland 9, Baltimore 8

Texas 8, Seattle 5

Kansas City 7, Houston 5

Minnesota 8, LA Angels 6

Detroit at Oakland, (n)

INTERLEAGUE

NY Yankees 7, Arizona 1


  photo  Tampa Bay Rays' Randy Arozarena goes airborne as he slides into second base with a double off Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Tampa Bay Rays' Randy Arozarena scores on an RBI single by Harold Ramirez off Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow, right, hands the ball to manager Kevin Cash after being taken out of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounds out to Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Osleivis Basabe during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Toronto Blue Jays' Matt Chapman gets hit with a pitch with the bases loaded from Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kelly during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Toronto Blue Jays' Daulton Varsho watches his RBI single off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Kevin Kelly during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Toronto Blue Jays' Alejandro Kirk runs to first base after drawing a bases loaded walk from Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Scoring is Bo Bichette, left. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Toronto Blue Jays' George Springer, right, scores behind Tampa Bay Rays catcher Rene Pinto on an RBI single by Bo Bichette during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
 
 
  photo  Tampa Bay Rays' Curtis Mead, center, celebrates with Isaac Paredes, left, and Manuel Margot, right, after hitting a solo home run off Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)