Lindor, Indians Roll Royals, 9-3
CLEVELAND (AP) — With one swing, Francisco Lindor shook the Indians from their early September slumber.
The All-Star shortstop homered leading off the first again, Mike Clevinger struck out 10 and Cleveland moved closer to its third straight AL Central title with a 9-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
The Indians ended a three-game losing streak and reduced their magic number for clinching another division title to 10 following Minnesota’s 5-2 loss to Houston.
After a 5-1 loss Monday night, Lindor, who sets the tone for Cleveland with everything he does, talked about the team being flat and needing a spark.
He provided an early one with his sixth leadoff homer — one shy of the club record set by Grady Sizemore in 2008 — as the Indians jumped to a 3-0 lead on Danny Duffy (8-12), whose season is over because of a sore left shoulder.
“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a leadoff hitter,” said Lindor, who has 31 homers. “To get things going.”
Yandy Diaz hit his first major league homer and Jason Kipnis added two RBIs for Cleveland, which has the most commanding lead of any first-place team in the majors.
Not only did the Royals have their season-high winning streak stopped at six, Duffy’s season came to an end rookie right fielder Brett Phillips bruised his right shoulder on a scary collision into the wall.
Duffy was on the disabled list from Aug. 13-23 with shoulder issues.
“I’m crushed about it,” Duffy said. “I get paid to pay baseball. I take pride that if you have an able body you should go. My body just said it was enough today.”
Staked to a 6-0 lead after two innings, Clevinger (11-7) allowed just three hits in six innings and remained unbeaten in his last seven starts. The right-hander, who could have a big role for the Indians in October, had a little more velocity on his fastball and struck out six of nine in one dominant stretch.
Diaz picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice and Kipnis, who is moving from second base to center field, singled home a run in the inning before Duffy was removed after 26 pitches. The left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012.
The Indians added three runs in the second off Burch Smith on Jose Ramirez’s double, Edwin Encarnacion’s sacrifice fly and Brandon Guyer’s RBI single.
ASTROS 5, TWINS 2
HOUSTON (AP) — Alex Bregman hit three doubles and Yuli Gurriel homered for the second game in a row, leading Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros over the Minnesota Twins for their fourth straight win.
Verlander (14-9) yielded one run and three hits while fanning eight over seven innings.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus each hit a solo homer in the fourth inning to put the Texas Rangers ahead to stay in a victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Andrus hit the first pitch of the fourth against Andrew Heaney (8-9) to tie the game at 1. Two batters later, Beltre went deep for the ninth time this season and 471st time in his career. He has 3,147 career hits, the most among active players, after that homer and a single in the eighth.
Shohei Ohtani hit his 16th homer for the Angels, a leadoff shot in the sixth that chased Texas starter Mike Minor (11-7). It was Ohtani’s first major league homer off a left-handed pitcher.
RAYS 4, BLUE JAYS 0
TORONTO (AP) — Ryne Stanek became the first rookie pitcher in 75 years to start consecutive games and combined with six relievers on a three-hitter in Tampa Bay’s victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, which extended the Rays’ winning streak to four.
RED SOX 5
ATLANTA (AP) — Boston hitters wore down Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb with their patient approach.
It was a familiar strategy in yet another interleague win for the best team in the majors.
Steve Pearce had three hits and three RBIs, Rick Porcello allowed two hits in five innings, and the Red Sox beat the Braves for their second straight win in a matchup of division leaders.
BREWERS 11, CUBS 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Lorenzo Cain reached base five times, Wade Miley pitched six stingy innings and the Milwaukee Brewers romped past the Chicago Cubs to climb within three games of the NL Central leaders.
Miley (3-2) allowed one run and three hits, struck out five and walked none as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in its last six meetings with its division rival. The second-place Brewers maintained a 1Ç-game lead over St. Louis for the top NL wild card.
ROCKIES 6, GIANTS 2
DENVER (AP) — Ryan McMahon had a pinch-hit home run and Carlos Gonzalez tripled with the bases loaded during a five-run seventh inning that carried the NL West leading Colorado Rockies past the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Tuesday night.
David Dahl also homered for the Rockies, who have a lead in the division in September or October for the first time since 1995. It was the fourth straight loss for the Giants, who also have lost six in a row to Colorado.
Rockies starter German Marquez had shut down the Giants since allowing a run in the first inning, striking out 11 over 6 2-3 innings. But with two outs and the bases clear in the seventh, Gorkys Hernandez snapped a 1-1 tie with his second home run in as many games.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Yadier Molina hit a grand slam, Marcell Ozuna homered twice and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 11-8 on Tuesday night.
Molina provided a cushion for St. Louis via his sixth career slam, which made it 11-5 with two outs in the ninth.
The Cardinals, who occupy the second NL wild card spot, hit five homers overall as they stopped a three-game skid.
Right fielder Yairo Munoz robbed Ryan Zimmerman of a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, reaching over the fence and pulling it back into the field of play for a two-run double.
Tyson Ross (8-9) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Jordan Hicks got the final out for his sixth save in 11 chances.
Washington starter Erick Fedde allowed four runs in five innings. John Gant of St. Louis was charged with three runs — none earned — in 4 1/3 innings.
MIAMI (AP) — Carlos Santana homered to start a four-run first inning and the Philadelphia Phillies snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Miami 9-4 Tuesday.
Jake Arrieta (10-9) struck out a season-high 11 and earned his first win since July 31. He allowed four runs in 7 1/3 innings and improved to 5-1 in eight career starts against the Marlins.
The Phillies, struggling to stay in playoff contention, began the night four games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. They have a chance to win a series for the first time in a month Wednesday.
J.T. Realmuto hit two solo homers off Arrieta, increasing his season total to 20.
Asdrubal Cabrera drove in three runs with his 23rd homer and a double for the Phillies. Santana drove in a two runs and scored twice, while Cesar Hernandez hit a bases-loaded triple.
The Phils had totaled five runs in their previous four games, and Santana gave them a jump start leading off for only the fifth time this season. After he hit his 21st homer, Hernandez’s three-run triple later in the inning made it 4-0.
By the fifth it was 8-1. Seven Miami pitchers combined to allow nine hits and 10 walks while hitting two batters.
Newly engaged Marlins starter Trevor Richards (3-8) lasted only 1 1/3 innings in his shortest outing yet. The rookie gave up four walks, four hits and six runs, and remained winless since July 14.
The Marlins need an 8-15 finish to avoid their first 100-loss season since 2013.