UNDATED (AP) — Mike Napoli homered twice and drove in six runs as the Texas Rangers assured themselves and two other teams of spots in the playoffs with an 8-7 victory Sunday night, earning a doubleheader split against the Los Angeles Angels. L.A. won the first game 5-4.
Napoli’s second homer in the nightcap was a go-ahead three-run shot in the third.
Two-time defending AL champion Texas can be no worse than a wild card and the Rangers can clinch their third consecutive AL West title by winning once in a three-game series at Oakland that starts Monday. They enter the series leading the A’s by 2 games.
The Angels trail the A’s by three games for the AL’s second wild card with three games left.
The loss by the Angels also clinched playoffs spots for Baltimore and the New York Yankees, who are tied for the AL East lead.
Also in the AL on Sunday:
New York rallied from a 5-1 fifth-inning deficit to beat the Blue Jays 9-6 in Toronto. Eric Chavez homered for the winners and teammate Curtis Granderson had a two-run single to reach 100 RBIs for the second straight year despite a .226 batting average.
The Bombers return to the Bronx for a season-ending series against archrival Boston.
The Orioles kept pace with the Yankees by beating the visiting Red Sox 6-3 for their fourth straight W. The Birds finish up their regular season at Tampa.
Baltimore’s win clinched home field for the O’s if there is a one-game tiebreaker game to decide the AL East.
Also in the AL:
— Prince Fielder’s opposite field two-run homer in the eighth inning lifted Central leader Detroit to a 2-1 victory at Minnesota. It’s his 30th jack of the season. Teammate Miguel Cabrera, who is trying to become the first player since 1967 to win the triple crown, went 0 for 3 with an intentional walk, dropping his AL-leading batting average to .325. In the AL Central, the Tigers now have a three game lead.
— Fading Chicago fell three games behind the Tigers with a 6-2 loss to visiting Tampa Bay, keeping the Rays’ wild-card hopes alive. David Price became Tampa Bays’ first 20-game winner. The White Sox’ 10th loss in 12 games moves them to the brink of elimination.
— Yoenis Cespedes (yoh-EHN’-ehs SEHS’-peh-dehs) hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning to move Oakland a win closer to the club’s first playoff berth in six years as the Athletics beat Seattle 5-2. In the American League Wild Card race the A’s top the Angels and Rays by 3 games for the second spot. In the AL West, the A’s are still contending with the Rangers for first place. Oakland plays host to Texas for the final three games of the season starting Monday.
— Asdrubal Cabrera (ahs-DROO’-buhl kah-BREHR’-uh) capped a 10-run fifth inning with a grand slam and the Indians routed the visiting Kansas City Royals 15-3. Cleveland improves to 2-1 under interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. They are 5-2 after a disastrous 12-41 stretch that dropped them from contention into last place in the AL Central and cost manager Manny Acta his job.
In the NL:
— Central Division champion Cincinnati rallied for a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh, clinching home field for the NL division series. It also ensures the Pirates a 20th straight losing season. Xavier Paul led off the top of the ninth with a pinch-hit homer and Zack Colzart snapped a 3-3 tie with an RBI double. At 96-63, the Reds are tied with Washington for the best record in the league.
— The East-leading Nationals could have clinched the division title with a win at St. Louis or an Atlanta loss to visiting New York, but that didn’t happen. Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate for the ninth time in his career and drove in five runs to help the Cards close in on the NL’s second wild-card berth with a 10-4 pounding of the Nats.
— The Braves won for a major league record 23rd straight time in games started by Kris Medlen, beating the New York Mets 6-2. Medlen gave up one unearned run and three hits in six innings while improving to 10-1. Atlanta has already clinched an NL wild-card spot and is on track to host the one-game playoff, which Medlen would start.
— The Astros beat the visiting Brewers 7-0 to eliminate Milwaukee from wild-card playoff contention. The Brewers, who reached the NL championship series last year, had surged since mid-August to get back into the postseason race. But the last-place Astros won two of three at Miller Park to finish off Milwaukee. Jordan Lyles pitched his first major league shutout and hit his first home.
— Cole Hamels finishes his season in style by striking out eight and allowing one run over seven innings of Philadelphia’s 4-1 victory over the Miami Marlins. The left-hander improves to 17-6. The Phillies need one win in the final three-game series at Washington to finish at least .500 for the 10th straight season.
— Pinch hitter Xavier Nady homered off Huston Street to tie the game with one out in the ninth and Hunter Spence hit a go-ahead, two-run shot as the San Francisco Giants rallied to beat the San Diego Padres 7-5. The come from behind win took Tim Lincecum off the hook for a loss, as he allowed a season high three home runs.
— Anthony Rizzo had three hits, David DeJesus homered and the Chicago Cubs ended a seven-game losing streak, beating the Arizona 7-2. The Cubs had lost 18 in a row against NL West opponents.
— Josh Beckett earned his first victory in his last five starts and the Dodgers backed him with three homers, beating Colorado 7-1. The Dodgers have won five straight and remain in contention for an NL Wild Card spot. Matt Kemp, Luis Cruz and A.J. Ellis each hit two-run homers as the Dodgers remained two games behind St. Louis for the second wild card.
Baker rejoining Reds…Tex ready for comeback…Adams is out
Source: Associated PressMLB: Rangers, Yanks And O's Clinch by Sports Talk Florida