The Milwaukee Brewers clinched the National League Central title for their first division championship since 1982, and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers also wrapped up division crowns.
Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer, his 32nd of the season, to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning as the Brewers won 4-1 at home last night against the Florida Marlins. Milwaukee clinched 26 minutes later when second-place St. Louis lost.
“I live for that moment,” Braun told reporters. “You play the game to have the opportunity to play meaningful games down the stretch in September.”
Alfonso Soriano hit a tie-breaking three-run homer for the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning of their 5-1 win at St. Louis, who in addition to losing any chance at a division crown also fell further behind Atlanta in the NL wild-card chase.
Paul Goldschmidt had a two-run triple in the eighth inning for the Diamondbacks, who captured the NL West title with a 3-1 home win against the second-place San Francisco Giants.
The Philadelphia Phillies, who already have clinched the NL East title and have lost six straight games, were rained out last night at the New York Mets.
The Braves won 7-4 at Washington, defeating Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, to extend their wild-card lead to three games over the Cardinals and five games over the Giants. Atlanta, St. Louis and San Francisco all have five games remaining.
Texas clinched its second straight American League West title, winning 5-3 at home against Seattle and then wrapping up the crown when the Los Angeles Angels lost 3-1 at home to Oakland about two hours later.
Players on Field
Several thousand fans stayed in the stands after the game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, to watch the Athletics-Angels game on the stadium’s giant video screen, and some Texas players sat on the field with their families.
“It feels good,” first baseman Michael Young told reporters after the Rangers had won. “It feels good, been a total team effort, everyone has done their part.”
The Tampa Bay Rays lost 5-1 to visiting Toronto and fell 2 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race. The Angels are 3 1/2 games in back of the Red Sox.
Last night’s scheduled game between the Yankees and the Red Sox in New York was washed out by rain and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader tomorrow.
The Red Sox (88-68) have six games left -- three at New York, followed by three at Baltimore. The Rays (86-71) have five remaining, all at home -- two more against Toronto this weekend, followed by a three-game visit from the Yankees.
The Yankees clinched the AL East title earlier in the week. The Detroit Tigers, who have wrapped up the AL Central title, won 4-3 in 11 innings last night against the Baltimore Orioles.