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Baseball-Highlights of Sunday's Major League games


Sept 22 (Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Sunday's Major League Baseball games:

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Braves 5, Cubs 2

Andrelton Simmons blasted two home runs on the day Atlanta clinched the National League East division.

Miami's 4-2 victory over Washington had locked down the division crown, and the Braves avoided backing in with the win to claim their first title since 2005.

Simmons homered in the fourth inning and again in the eighth, while Craig Kimbrel finished off the contest with his Major League-leading 49th save of the season.

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Reds 11, Pirates 3

Jay Bruce's three-run double sparked a five-run first inning and Cincinnati cruised to a critical victory over Pittsburgh.

The Reds took two of three in the series to move into a tie with the Pirates for the first National League wild-card spot with one week remaining in the regular season. Both teams are 89-67.

Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run to left-center to make it 5-0.

The Pirates suffered a potential blow when catcher Russell Martin left the game after the fourth inning with left knee discomfort.

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Royals 4, Rangers 0

Justin Maxwell's grand slam in the 10th inning lifted Kansas City to the victory.

Maxwell's two-out full-count grand slam off Joakim Soria, a former Royals closer, landed far over the left-field fence.

The Rangers fell 1 1/2 games behind the Indians for the final wild-card playoff spot. The Royals kept their faint playoffs cards alive with the victory, but are 3 1/2 games back of the Indians with seven road games remaining.

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A's 11, Twins 7

The Oakland Athletics clinched their second straight American League West title, earning it when Texas lost earlier in the day but driving it home with a victory over Minnesota.

Oakland broke through with six runs in the second inning, where Coco Crisp had a three-run homer and Jed Lowrie singled and scored on a double by Josh Donaldson.

Daric Barton added a solo homer in the third and Lowrie a solo shot in the fourth.

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Rays 3, Orioles 1

The Tampa Bay Rays continued fortifying their perch atop the American League wild card standings with their victory.

Tampa Bay got timely hitting and a stifling pitching effort from rookie left-hander Enny Romero who was relieved in the fifth inning with a 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay (86-69) remains a half-game in front of Cleveland for the top wild card while the Orioles fell to 81-73 and 4 1/2 games behind the Indians with seven games remaining.

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Indians 9, Astros 2

Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley each had three hits and Corey Kluber won his 10th game as Cleveland completed a four-game sweep.

It was the ninth win in the last 11 games for the Indians.

Kluber (10-5) pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

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Marlins 4, Nationals 2 (first game)

Nationals 5, Marlins 4 (second game)

Tom Koehler picked up his first win since Aug. 1 and Giancarlo Stanton hit another home run at Nationals Park as Miami beat Washington in the opener of a double-header.

In the second game, third baseman Chris Coghlan's ninth-inning error scored Nationals pinch runner Eury Perez, giving Washington a much-needed win over the Marlins.

Washington (84-72) now sits five games back of the two National League wild-card leaders, the Cincinnati Reds (89-67) and Pittsburgh Pirates (89-67), with six games to play.

Coghlan muffed a grounder off the bat of Wilson Ramos to bring home Perez in the ninth.

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White Sox 6, Tigers 3

Rookie Avisail Garcia singled home two runs and scored once to lead Chicago to a victory that stalled the Tigers' drive to the American League Central Division title.

Detroit's magic number for clinching the crown remained at two with six games to play.

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Giants 2, Yankees 1

Tony Abreu's go-ahead double with one out in the top of the eighth spoiled Yankee Stadium tributes for Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.

New York's sixth sellout crowd of the year watched a 50-minute pregame tribute to Rivera, who is retiring after the season ends.

Then they saluted Pettitte, who officially announced his retirement on Friday and threw seven innings of two-hit ball in his final home start.

Pettitte (10-11) lost a no-hit bid when he allowed Ehrie Adrianza's first career home run with one out in the sixth.

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Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 2

The Red Sox scored four runs in the second inning on their way to a win. Jackie Bradley provided the big blow, belting a three-run homer.

Left-hander Felix Doubront improved to 11-6. He went seven innings, giving up two run on four hits, including a home run.

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Mets 4, Phillies 3

Wilfredo Tovar's first big-league hit lifted the New York Mets to victory and a three-game sweep.

Tovar's single plated two runs in the seventh to give the Mets a one-run lead. Juan Lagares (infield single) and Anthony Recker (double) set up the go-ahead scores.

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Dodgers 1, Padres 0

The Los Angeles Dodgers scored an unearned run in the seventh inning for a victory over the punchless Padres.

Adrian Gonzalez scored from first on Michael Young's double over the head of right-fielder Will Venable.

Venable had trouble fielding the ball off the wall, allowing Gonzalez to round third and come home.

The Dodgers (90-66) took two of three in the season-finale series between the two clubs and shut out San Diego's offense for the final 21 innings.

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Mariners 3, Angels 2

Seattle pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts to knock off the Los Angeles Angels.

Felix Hernandez, making his first start since Sept. 2 because of an oblique strain, struck out 10 batters in four innings of work.

He became the first player in Major League history to record that many strikeouts in a start that lasted just four innings.

Angel starting pitcher C.J. Wilson saw his streak of nine consecutive victories come to an end as Justin Smoak hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, providing the Mariners with a 3-1 edge.

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Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 9

Matt Davidson hit a ninth-inning homer and drove in four runs and Arizona banged out 19 hits to win a slugfest.

Colorado first baseman Todd Helton, who went 3-for-5, hit two doubles, giving him 591 in his career, drove in four runs, raising his career total to 1,402 RBIs.

Michael Cuddyer and Charlie Blackmon each added three of Colorado's 19 hits.

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Brewers 6, Cardinals 4

Scooter Gennett had two hits and drove in an important insurance run with a seventh-inning double as the Milwaukee Brewers beat St Louis despite the Cardinals earning a playoff berth.

The Cardinals began the game assured of a postseason berth thanks to the Washington Nationals' loss in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

With six games left, St Louis holds a two-game lead on both the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.

Gennett went 2-for-2 with two walks and scored three runs.

- - - (Editing by John O'Brien)

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