Clayton Kershaw became Major League Baseball’s first 20-game winner and A.J. Ellis hit a pair of two-run homers, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 14-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Kershaw (20-3) pitched five shaky innings in his shortest start in 3.5 months, but the National League West-leading Dodgers roughed up Edwin Jackson on their way to a 13-hit attack that included four homers. Matt Kemp hit a three-run shot in Los Angeles’ six-run first, and Yasiel Puig added another three-run homer in the sixth.
The Dodgers improved baseball’s best road record to 48-31 and clinched a postseason berth when Milwaukee lost at Pittsburgh.
Jackson (6-15) recorded just two outs in his first appearance since he was placed on the disabled list last month with a right lat strain. He was charged with four hits and five runs in his fourth consecutive loss.
Kershaw struck out nine in his sixth consecutive win. The left-hander is 17-1 with a 1.39 ERA in his past 20 starts. He had pitched at least eight innings in each of his previous seven outings.
PIRATES 4, BREWERS 2
Russell Martin hit a three-run homer off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth inning as Pittsburgh inched closer to a playoff berth by beating Milwaukee.
Martin sent a Broxton fastball into the seats beyond the center field wall for his 11th home run of the season. Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his 31st save as the Pirates moved 4.5 games in front of the Brewers for the second NL wild-card spot with nine days left in the regular season.
John Holdzkom (1-0) earned his first MLB victory. The Pirates have won a season-high five straight.
Rickie Weeks hit his seventh homer for the Brewers, and Yovani Gallardo struck out 11 in seven strong innings. The Brewers, who led the NL Central for most of the summer, are now in danger of missing out on the playoffs entirely after losing their third in a row.
TIGERS 10, ROYALS 1
Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer and everyone in the Detroit starting lineup had a hit by the fourth inning as the Tigers pounded Jason Vargas and second-place Kansas City to add another game to their American League Central lead.
Justin Verlander (14-12) had all the support he needed by the end of the first inning, when the Tigers had shelled Vargas (11-10) for three runs on five hits. Detroit tacked on a run in the second, another in the fourth, and then broke things open with a five-run fifth.
The Tigers, who lead the division by 1.5 games, have forged their advantage by going 12-5 against the Royals this season.
Verlander allowed one run and seven hits in 7-1/3 innings.
Vargas allowed five runs and nine hits in 3-1/3 innings.
Detroit’s designated hitter, 35-year-old Victor Martinez, had a run-scoring single in the first inning to give him 100 RBIs to go with 31 home runs. The only players older than him to become first-time members of the 30-100 club were Carlton Fisk (1985) and Edgar Martinez (2000).
In other games on Friday, it was:
‧ Padres 5, Giants 0
‧ Athletics 3, Phillies 1
‧ Cardinals 2, Reds 1
‧ Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3
‧ Mets 5, Braves 0
‧ Rangers 12, Angels 3
‧ Red Sox 5, Orioles 3 (10)
‧ Nationals 3, Marlins 2
‧ White Sox 4, Rays 3
‧ Rockies 15, Diamondbacks 3
‧ Twins 5, Indians 4 (10)
‧ Mariners 10, Astros 5
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two