Kansas City clinched the American League Central title for their first division title in 30 years by beating the Seattle Mariners 10-4 on Thursday.
The Royals moved 11 games clear atop the division with 10 games to play and became the first team in the AL to secure their place in the playoffs.
Kansas City pitcher Johnny Cueto (3-6) picked up his first victory in nearly six weeks, and the win, coupled with Minnesota’s loss to Cleveland, ensured the title.
It is the Royals’ first division title since 1985, when they won the AL West en route to their only World Series championship.
The crowd of 32,244 at Kauffman Stadium cheered when the Twins’ final score was shown on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth.
Kansas City became the first team to wrap up a division title this year. St Louis and Pittsburgh have secured playoff berths in the NL, but which takes the NL Central and which takes only a wild card is still to be decided.
ORIOLES 5, NATIONALS 4
In Washington, Jonathan Schoop and Matt Wieters hit two-run home runs as the Baltimore Orioles completed a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 5-4 victory on Thursday.
Baltimore entered Thursday four games out of the second AL wild-card spot, while Washington began the day six-and-a-half games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.
Manny Machado’s RBI single in the first inning and Schoop’s two-run shot in the fourth gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
However, Wilson Ramos’ home run and Yunel Escobar’s two run-scoring hits helped the Nationals go up 4-3.
Blake Treinen (2-4) came on for the eighth as Washington’s fourth pitcher. Steve Pearce singled and Wieters followed with his seventh homer.
Mike Wright (3-5) got two outs in the seventh for the victory. Brad Brach threw a scoreless eighth, and Darren O’Day pitched the ninth for his sixth save of the season and third of the series.
DODGERS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 3
In Los Angeles, Chris Heisey hit a grand slam in a six-run fifth inning as the Dodgers cut their magic number to four for the NL West title.
Los Angeles increased their division lead to seven-and-a-half games over the San Francisco Giants, who faced San Diego later.
Clayton Kershaw (15-7) had nine strikeouts while yielding six hits and three runs over five innings. He left trailing 3-0, but ended up with his fifth victory in six starts when the Dodgers rallied for their second straight win.
Howie Kendrick had a two-run single for the Dodgers.
Rookie Brandon Drury homered off Kershaw, and Paul Goldschmidt got his 19th RBI in his last 19 games against the Dodgers. Arizona would have to win their final nine games to avoid their fourth consecutive non-winning season.
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 34th save.
Patrick Corbin (6-5) was in control until the fifth inning of his second loss to the Dodgers in 12 days.
YANKEES 3, WHITE SOX 2
In New York, Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer off White Sox ace Chris Sale to lead New York in their push for a playoff spot.
After a tribute before their first home game since Yogi Berra died, the Yankees closed within three games of idle Toronto in the AL East. New York cut their magic number to six to clinch at least a wild-card slot.
Beltran connected in the third inning for his 18th homer.
Michael Pineda (12-8) gave up one run, Trayce Thompson’s homer, in six innings. He improved the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the AL, fanning six without a walk.
All-Star setup man Dellin Betances entered in the seventh with two on and two outs. He walked Melky Cabrera and Thompson to force home a run before striking out Adam LaRoche.
Andrew Miller pitched the ninth inning for his 35th save.
Sale (12-11) fell to 0-4 in his last six starts and the White Sox dropped their third straight.
METS 6, REDS 4
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Daniel Murphy had three hits, including a tiebreaking triple in the seventh inning, as New York closed in on their first playoff appearance in nine years.
The victory, combined with Washington’s loss to Baltimore, reduced the Mets’ magic number to clinch the NL East title to three.
Steven Matz tried to extend his record-setting start with the Mets, but could not hold a 3-1 lead. He had allowed two or fewer runs in each of his first five starts — a club record — but gave up two RBI singles by Brandon Phillips and left with the game tied 3-3 in the sixth.
Murphy’s two-out triple off left-hander Manny Parra (1-2) started a three-run rally in the seventh. Yoenis Cespedes singled for another run, and Lucas Duda followed with his second RBI double of the game.
Erik Goeddel (1-1) retired the only batter he faced in the sixth. Jay Bruce hit a solo homer off Hansel Robles in the eighth, cutting it to 6-4. Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth for his 42nd save, one shy of Armando Benitez’s club record from 2001.
In other results, it was:
‧ Cardinals 7, Brewers 3
‧ Rangers 8, Athletics 1
‧ Pirates 5, Rockies 4
‧ Indians 6, Twins 3
‧ Padres 5, Giants 4
‧ Rays 4, Red Sox 2
‧ Marlins 1, Phillies 0
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