The Chicago Cubs continued to silence their critics in MLB by clinching at least a tie for the National League (NL) Central title on Monday.
The reigning World Series champions beat the St Louis Cardinals 10-2 and can clinch the division outright with a victory, or a Milwaukee Brewers loss, on Tuesday.
That the Cubs will almost certainly clinch their second straight division title seemed a foregone conclusion entering this season. After winning their first World Series since 1908, they looked like a dynasty in the making, with a core of talented young position talent, good pitching, and a manager in Joe Maddon who knew how to put it all together.
But the Cubs stumbled through the first three months of the season, playing around the .500 mark, leading everyone to wonder what had gone wrong. As recently as August 12, the Cubs were a mere 60-55, but they have gone 28-13 since then.
Kansas City Royals 3-11 New York Yankees
Atlanta Braves 9-2 New York Mets
Atlanta Braves 2-3 New York Mets
Washington Nationals 3-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 Boston Red Sox
Houston Astros 11-2 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels 2-4 Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs 10-2 St Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins 5-4 Colorado Rockies
Seattle Mariners 7-1 Oakland Athletics
San Francisco Giants 9-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres 3-9 Los Angeles Dodgers
Houston's Marwin Gonzalez went four-for-five with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored in the Astros' 11-2 win over the Rangers.
Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz gave up five earned runs, on seven hits and a walk, and lasted only two innings in Boston's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays.
JUDGE SETS NEW MARK
Aaron Judge made history with his 50th home run of the season, breaking Mark McGwire's rookie record.
CUBS AT CARDINALS
Every remaining game is virtually a must-win for the Cardinals (81-75) if they want to sneak into a wildcard spot. Meanwhile, the Cubs (88-68) can clinch the NL Central title with a win. The Cardinals will count on Carlos Martinez (12-11, 3.63 ERA) against Jake Arrieta (14-9, 3.43 ERA).