Baseball Capsules

ST. LOUIS (AP) " Anthony Rizzo hit a pair of home runs and Jon Lester pitched eight dominant innings as the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0 on Wednesday to clinch at least a wild-card playoff berth.

The Cubs improved their MLB-best record to 93-52 and their magic number is one to clinch their first National League Central title since 2008. Chicago secured a playoff berth because St. Louis and San Francisco are the only teams that could pass them in the standings, but since those teams open a four-game series on Thursday both teams wouldn't be able to do so.

The Cardinals began the day a half-game behind the New York Mets and a full game behind the Giants for one of the two wild-card spots.

Lester (17-4) allowed four base runners, none of which got past first. Cubs catcher David Ross threw out two Cardinals trying to steal second and Lester faced just two batters over the minimum.

St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez (14-8) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings.


NEW YORK (AP) " Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw pitched five nearly perfect innings before Justin Turner hit an RBI double off Dellin Betances in a two-run ninth.

The Dodgers took advantage of errors by second baseman Starlin Castro and Betances (3-5) to increase their NL West lead to five games over San Francisco.

The Yankees completed a 7-3 homestand and remained two games behind Toronto for the second AL wild card. Next up, they begin an 11-game trip " their longest of the season " to Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto.

Kershaw gave up one hit without a walk, pitching through two rain delays in his first career start at Yankee Stadium.

Luis Avilan (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, and Kenley Janson struck out three in the ninth for his 44th save.


WASHINGTON (AP) " Tanner Roark pitched seven scoreless innings and Wilson Ramos homered in the seventh inning for the game's only run as Washington beat New York.

With one out in the seventh, Ramos hit his 21st home run deep over the center-field wall on the first pitch from Fernando Salas (0-1). The Nationals have won five of six.

Roark (15-8) allowed three hits with seven strikeouts and four walks, one intentional.

Reliever Blake Treinen pitched the eighth and Mark Melancon got the final three outs for his 42 save.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) " Madison Bumgarner missed a chance at his milestone 100th career win and San Francisco wasted another chance for a potential push in the NL West, losing to San Diego to be swept by the division's second-to-last-place club.

On Tuesday night, San Francisco's bullpen blew a three-run lead in the ninth and the Giants failed to gain ground.

Bumgarner (14-9) gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings.

Luis Perdomo (8-9) allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings of four-hit ball.

Brandon Maurer finished for his 10th save.


TORONTO (AP) " Alex Cobb pitched 6 2/3 innings to win for the first time in almost two years and Kevin Kiermaier and Corey Dickerson hit two-run homers for Tampa Bay.

Cobb (1-0) allowed one run and two hits to win for the first time since Sept. 23, 2014, against Boston.

Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson sat out his third straight game for Toronto and was scheduled to get an MRI on his sore right hip.

Marco Estrada (8-9) allowed four runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 24 Oct 2016 19:50:26 Processing Time: 1078ms