Matt Carpenter broke Stan Musial’s team record for doubles by a left-handed batter in a season and Lance Lynn won for the first time since early last month as the St Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 on Saturday to maintain a two-game lead in the National League Central.
Seeking their first division title since 2009, the Cardinals (91-64) have surged ahead of Pittsburgh (89-66) and Cincinnati (88-67), who fell three back with a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh.
St Louis lowered their magic number to one for clinching a post-season berth, won for the 12th time in 17 games and improved to 14-4 against the Brewers this year, including 8-1 in Milwaukee.
At Detroit, the Tigers tied the game with an astonishing six-run rally in the ninth inning, then beat the Chicago White Sox 7-6 in the American League when Omar Infante hit an infield single with the bases loaded in the 12th.
Infante’s grounder deflected off the glove of reliever Jacob Petricka (1-1) with one out, and the Tigers spilled onto the field with Comerica Park in a frenzy. Detroit were to play their final scheduled home game of the year yesterday and could a third straight AL Central title with a win and a Cleveland loss.
Trailing 6-0 in the ninth, the Tigers scored five runs before the first out. Pinch-hitter Andy Dirks hit a three-run homer to pull Detroit within one.
Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning and Desmond Jennings drove in four runs as the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in a matchup of exhausted teams to maintain their lead in the AL wild-card race.
The first pitch came 10 hours, 56 minutes after the Rays’ 5-4, 18-inning win over Baltimore that ended at 2:05am, a game that stretched on for six hours and 54 minutes — a record time for both teams.
Saturday’s game, by comparison, seemed to breeze by in two hours and 51 minutes.
Tampa Bay lead for the wild-card, a half-game ahead of Cleveland. Texas are one game behind the Rays.
Cleveland’s Scott Kazmir allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, while Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer as the Indians maintained their hold on an AL wild-card spot with a 4-1 win over Houston.
The Texas Rangers kept close in the playoff race by beating the Kansas City Royals 3-1, while the Oakland Athletics lowered their magic number to one for clinching their second straight AL West title with a 9-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.
In other AL games, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-2, the New York Yankees blanked the San Francisco Giants 6-0 and the Los Angeles Angels edged the Seattle Mariners 6-5.
In the NL, A.J. Burnett scattered four hits over seven strong innings to help the Pittsburgh Pirates move a game in front of Cincinnati for the top spot in the NL wild-card race with a 4-2 win over the Reds.
Chicago’s Dioner Navarro hit a tiebreaking single in a three-run eighth inning as the Cubs downed Atlanta 3-1 to keep the Braves on the brink of the NL East championship.
In other games, the Los Angeles Dodgers blanked the San Diego Padres 4-0, the Arizona Diamondbacks downed the Colorado Rockies 7-2 and the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 in a game called off in the seventh inning due to rain.