MLB Roundup: Nationals clinch playoffs slot, beat Dodgers
WASHINGTON— The Nationals have brought playoff baseball to Washington for the first time since 1933 after earning a playoff spot Thursday with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The win ensured Washington at least a National League wild-card spot behind Ross Detwiler’s six strong innings and Ryan Zimmerman’s RBI double.
A crowd of 30,359 stood and cheered in the ninth inning, then got even louder when Drew Storen struck out Hanley Ramirez to end it. Manager Davey Johnson saluted the fans as he left the field and the team wore caps acknowledging the playoff berth.
Washington was last in the postseason 79 years ago, when player-manager Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the New York Giants in five games in the World Series.
The Dodgers are now three games behind St. Louis for the NL’s second wild-card spot. Milwaukee moved ahead of Los Angeles with its win over Pittsburgh.
Earlier, the Cincinnati Reds became Major League Baseball’s first team to clinch a 2012 playoff spot, beating the Chicago Cubs 5-3 while manager Dusty Baker remained in a hospital after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.
Ace pitcher Johnny Cueto (18-9) and the NL Central leaders ensured themselves of at least a wild-card spot. Cincinnati cut its magic number to two for winning the division for the second time in three years.
The Reds said Baker would remain in a Chicago hospital for an additional day so doctors could monitor his progress.
Seth Smith homered, doubled and drove in four runs as and the Oakland Athletics avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Detroit Tigers 12-4 in a matchup of American League playoff contenders.
Josh Donaldson hit a go-ahead single in a four-run sixth inning that made it 6-3, then had an RBI double to cap a six-run ninth that included Smith’s three-run double.
Oakland is level with Baltimore for the wild-card lead. The Tigers are two games behind Central-leading Chicago, despite losing to the Kansas City Royals 4-3.
Alex Rios was thrown out at the plate, Alexei Ramirez was picked off third base as the White Sox again failed to come up with a vital hit in its loss to Kansas City.
Eric Hosmer singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning.
Nw York signing Ichiro Suzuki hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a seven-run fourth inning capped by Nick Swisher’s grand slam as the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-7 to open a one-game AL East lead over Baltimore.
After struggling for much of the summer, the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays and have won five in a row, their longest winning string since June 23-27.
Suzuki homered in the third, then doubled in the fourth. His ninth hit in 10 at-bats chased Aaron Laffey (3-6).
In other AL games, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4 and the Cleveland Indians edged the Minnesota Twins 4-3.
In the NL, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley sparked an eight-run first inning, and Ryan Howard added a late grand slam as the Phillidelphia Phillies trounced the New York Mets 16-1, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 5-4, the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-7, the San Francisco Giants downed the Colorado Rockies 9-2 and the San Diego Padres were 6-5 winners over the Arizona Diamondbacks..