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MLB ROUNDUP: Cardinals inch closer to first NL Central title since 2009

by The Associated Press on September 22, 2013 1:30 AM

Matt Carpenter broke Stan Musial’s team record for doubles by a left-handed batter in a season, Lance Lynn won for the first time since early August and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 on Saturday night to maintain a two-game lead in the NL Central.

Seeking their first division title since 2009, the Cardinals (91-64) have surged ahead of Pittsburgh (89-66) and Cincinnati (88-67), which fell three back with a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh.

St. Louis lowered its magic number to one for clinching a postseason berth, won for the 12th time in 17 games and improved to 14-4 against the Brewers this year, including 8-1 in Milwaukee.

Carpenter’s fifth-inning double was his 54th of the season, one more than Musial had in 1953.

Lynn (14-10) allowed one run, four hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts. He had been 0-5 with a 5.44 ERA in eight starts since winning at Cincinnati on Aug. 4.

CUBS 3, BRAVES 1: Dioner Navarro hit a tiebreaking single in a three-run eighth inning, and Chicago kept the Braves on the brink of the NL East championship. Atlanta’s magic number remained at one to clinch its first division title since 2005. Second-place Washington was rained out against Miami later Saturday.

Starlin Casto singled off Kris Medlen with one out in the eighth, pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy singled against Scott Downs (2-1) and Anthony Rizzo hit a tying double down the left-field line. Navarro singled in the go-ahead run against David Carpenter, and Nate Schierholtz added a sacrifice fly.

DODGERS 4, PADRES 0: Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 in seven dominant innings, Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis hit two-run homers and NL West-champion Los Angeles beat San Diego.

Kershaw (15-9) lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.88 and leads the NL with 224 strikeouts. The left-hander is trying to become the first pitcher to lead the majors in ERA in three consecutive seasons since Atlanta’s Greg Maddux from 1993-95.

DIAMONDBACKS 7, ROCKIES 2: Matt Davidson homered and drove in three runs, Gerardo Parra had three hits and Arizona beat Colorado.

Chris Owings also had three hits for the Diamondbacks, who won for the first time since being eliminated from the NL West race Thursday.

Arizona starter Trevor Cahill (8-10) lasted into the sixth despite taking a line drive by DJ LeMahieu off his right leg in the bottom of the first.

METS 5, PHILLIES 4, 6½ INNINGS: David Wright and Daniel Murphy hit solo home runs and New York beat Philadelphia in a game called in the top of the seventh inning because of rain.

The game was halted and then called after a wait of 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Wright connected for the third consecutive game, and second straight day since returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for more than a month. Murphy broke a 1-all tie with a homer in a four-run sixth. His 12th homer of the season tied a career high set in 2009.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

RAYS 5, ORIOLES 1: Desmond Jennings drove in four runs, Alex Cobb took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning and Tampa Bay won in a matchup of exhausted teams to maintain their lead in the AL wild-card race.

The first pitch came 10 hours, 56 minutes after the Rays’ 5-4, 18-inning win over Baltimore that ended at 2:05 a.m., a game that stretched on for 6:54 — a record time for both teams. Saturday’s game, by comparison, seemed to breeze by in 2:51.

BLUE JAYS 4, RED SOX 2: Clay Buchholz lost for the first time this season, and the AL East champion Red Sox fell to Mark Buehrle and Toronto. A day after the Red Sox clinched the division title, they lost for just the sixth time in 21 games.

Buchholz (11-1) gave up two earned runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. He had pitched 11 scoreless innings in his previous two starts, his first since spending three months on the disabled list. Buchholz was the first Boston pitcher to start a season 11-0 in his initial 14 starts since Roger Clemens went 13-0 in 1986.

ANGELS 6, MARINERS 5: Collin Cowgill homered and also stole home as Los Angeles beat Seattle. Rookie Grant Green hit a three-run double to help Jerome Williams win his fourth straight start.

The Angels won for the 21st time in 28 games. Earlier in the day, they were officially eliminated from postseason contention.

RANGERS 3, ROYALS 1: Matt Garza pitched eight impressive innings for his first victory in six starts and Texas kept close in the playoff race.

The Rangers won for only the fifth time in 19 September games. They remained a half-game behind Cleveland for the second AL wild-card berth.

The Royals, out of the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, dropped 3? games in back of the Indians.

TIGERS 7, WHITE SOX 6, 12 INNINGS: Detroit Tigers tied the game with an astonishing six-run rally in the ninth inning, then beat the White Sox when Omar Infante hit an infield single with the bases loaded in the 12th.

Infante’s grounder deflected off the glove of reliever Jacob Petricka (1-1) with one out, and the Tigers spilled onto the field with Comerica Park in a frenzy. Detroit plays its final scheduled home game of the year today and can clinch a third straight AL Central title with a win and a Cleveland loss.

Trailing 6-0 in the ninth, the Tigers scored five runs before the first out.

INDIANS 4, ASTROS 1: Scott Kazmir allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer and Cleveland maintained its hold on an AL wild-card spot.

Cleveland began Saturday with a half-game lead over Texas for the AL’s second wild card. The Indians, who have won eight of their last 10, trail Tampa Bay by a half-game for the wild-card lead.

INTERLEAGUE

YANKEES 6, GIANTS 0: Ivan Nova pitched a six-hitter for his second career shutout, Eduardo Nunez hit a two-run homer and theYankees kept pace in the AL wild-card chase.

Alfonso Soriano connected for the second straight day and Robinson Cano had an RBI single in a three-run third against Ryan Vogelsong (3-6), helping New York win for just the third time in eight games.

New York entered three games behind Cleveland for the second AL wild card with three teams ahead. The Yankees have seven games remaining, including three against the wild-card leading Tampa Bay Rays.

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