AP Sports Wrap from Wednesday, September 14, 2016
UNDATED (AP) — There could be a celebration at Wrigley Field tomorrow night.
The Chicago Cubs have reduced their magic number to one for clinching the National League Central with Wednesday's 7-0 rout of the second-place Cardinals in St. Louis. Anthony Rizzo carried the offence and Jon Lester worked eight strong innings as the Cubs improved to a major league-best 92-41.
Rizzo homered twice and had three RBIs to help the Cubs take the rubber match of the three-game set. David Ross also hit a two-run homer and Kris Bryant tripled home a run as Chicago improved to 8-8 against their arch-rivals.
Lester struck out eight and gave up just three hits to improve to 17-4 with a 2.40 ERA. He also singled home the Cubs' first run in the third inning.
The Cubbies can wrap up their first division title in eight years as early as Thursday against Milwaukee.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Washington's magic number to clinch the NL East is down to seven after Tanner Roark combined with two relievers on a three-hitter in a 1-0 shutout of the second-place New York Mets. Wilson Ramos (RAH'-mohs) belted a seventh-inning homer to back Roark, who is 15-8 after limiting the Mets to three hits and four walks over seven innings. The outcome keeps the Mets a half-game ahead of St. Louis and a half-game behind San Francisco as the three teams battle for the two NL wild-card berths.
— Luis Perdomo outpitched Madison Bumgarner as the Padres completed a three-game sweep of the Giants, 3-1. Perdomo gave up four singles and one run over 6 1/3 innings before San Diego's bullpen tossed hitless ball the rest of the way. Luis Sardinas had three hits and factored in each of the Padres' runs by scoring twice before slapping an RBI single that chased Bumgarner.
— The Dodgers got five great innings from Clayton Kershaw before expanding their lead in the NL West to five games over San Francisco. Kershaw gave up just one hit and no walks before L.A.'s bullpen finished up a combined three-hitter in a 2-0 shutout of the New York Yankees. The game was scoreless until Justin Turner laced an RBI double in the ninth following an error by Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro.
— Boston's lead in the AL East is one game over Baltimore, two over Toronto and four over the Yankees after the Orioles earned a 1-0 win at Fenway Park. Mark Trumbo's second-inning homer was enough support for Kevin Gausman, who held the Bosox to four hits over eight shutout innings. Zach Britton worked a perfect ninth for his 43rd save as the Birds won the rubber match of the three-game series.
— The Toronto Blue Jays have dropped into the American League's second wild-card slot and are just one game ahead of Detroit and two games in front of the New York Yankees following a 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay. Corey Dickerson was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBIs to support Alex Cobb, who held the Blue Jays to a run and two hits over 6 2/3s. Kevin Kiermaier (KEER'-my-ur) also hit a two-run shot as the Rays dealt the Jays their seventh loss in nine games, leaving Toronto two games off the AL East lead.
— The Tigers were 9-6 winners over Minnesota behind Ian Kinsler's four hits and three RBIs. Kinsler laced an RBI triple in a four-run fourth that put Detroit ahead 6-5. Miguel Cabrera launched a solo homer after his RBI single put the Tigers ahead to stay.
— Kansas City stayed five games out of a postseason berth after Seth Manaea (mah-NAY'-uh) held the Royals to three hits over five innings of Oakland's 8-0 shutout victory. Khris Davis, Yonder Alonso and Marcus Semien drove in two runs apiece as the A's beat the Royals for the third straight night.
— Freddy Galvis socked a two-run homer and Tommy Joseph added a solo blast in the Philadelphia's 6-2 victory over the Pirates at Philadelphia. Jake Thompson allowed two runs over six innings as the Phillies kept the Pirates six games out of a playoff slot.
— Domingo Santana crushed a three-run homer and Scott Gennett (jeh-NEHT') hit a two-run shot as Milwaukee ended Cincinnati's five-game winning streak, 5-0. Junior Guerra and three relievers combined on a six-hitter.
— Marcell Ozuna (oh-ZOO'-nuh) smacked a go-ahead, three-run homer and drove in four as Miami rallied to beat Atlanta 7-5. The Marlins took the rubber match of the three-game set to climb within four games of an NL wild-card berth.
An MRI for Donaldson
TORONTO (AP) — Blue Jays slugger and reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson has undergone an MRI on his sore right hip after missing Toronto's three-game series with Tampa Bay.
Donaldson jammed his hip stepping on first base in Sunday's loss to Boston. He is hitting .284 with 34 homers and 92 RBIs but was mired in an 0-for-23 slump when the Blue Jays shelved him.
Nats' Baker leaves team
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nationals manager Dusty Baker has left the team because of a death in the family. Bench coach Chris Speier (SPY'-ur) is managing the team in Baker's absence.
The Nationals say Baker is expected to rejoin the team Friday against the Atlanta Braves.
Two Broncos fined for hits
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall and safety Darian Stewart have been fined a total of $42,540 for helmet-to-helmet hits on Carolina's Cam Newton.
The person said linebacker Brandon Marshall was fined $24,309 and safety Darian Stewart $18,231. The hits occurred in the Broncos' season-opening win over the Panthers.
Also in the NFL:
— The Bills could be without wide receiver Sammy Watkins for Thursday night's game with the Jets. The Bills listed Watkins as questionable after complaining of soreness in his surgically repaired left foot following a 13-7 season-opening loss at Baltimore on Sunday.
— Buffalo has ruled left tackle Cordy Glenn out for Thursday's game with an ankle injury that leaves the team thin at the position. Backup Seantrel Henderson is serving a four-game NFL suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
— Defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins has re-signed with Washington, less than two weeks after he was released by the team. Jenkins spent the past three seasons with the New York Giants and has also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.
— Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower did not practice because of a knee injury and All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is still nursing a hamstring as the team prepares to host the Miami Dolphins in their home opener. Gronkowski missed last week's season-opening win at Arizona.
— The Kansas City Chiefs have released third-round pick KeiVarae Russell and brought back linebacker Dezman Moses, who was cut last week. Russell had been pased over by sixth-round selection D.J. White and recent pickup Kenneth Acker on the cornerback depth chart.
— Forbes Magazine says the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable franchise in sports. Forbes' NFL valuations show the Cowboys worth $4.2 billion, easily topping the league for the 10th straight year. Next closest are the New England Patriots at $3.4 billion. The New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins round out Forbes' top five. The average NFL team is worth $2.34 billion, a 19 percent increase over last year.
Bosh says he's good to go...Kings sign Farmar
UNDATED (AP) — Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh says he's "ready to play" and that he expects to be with the team when training camp opens in a few weeks.
Bosh has seen his last two seasons cut short at the All-Star break by blood clots. In a podcast, Bosh says he is in shape and that there is no reason to believe he won't be able to participate in camp.
In other NBA news:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings have signed free agent point guard Jordan Farmar, who has averaged 7.7 points and 2.9 assists per game in nine NBA seasons.
Farmar spent last season with Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Memphis Grizzlies, where he averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 assists per game under current Kings coach Dave Joerger (YAY'-gur).
ACC pulls events from North Carolina
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference has voted to relocate all league championship tournaments from North Carolina until the state repeals a law limiting protections for LGBT people.
The decision by the ACC Council of Presidents includes 10 neutral-site championships this academic year, which means relocating the ACC football title game that was scheduled to be played in Charlotte in December.
The vote comes two days after the NCAA said it was relocating seven of its championships scheduled to be played in North Carolina, including the men's basketball tournament.
The North Carolina state House leader says decisions this week by the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference to move events out of the state are "very unfortunate," but adds he isn't backing down from supporting a state law that led to their actions. Speaker Tim Moore says the organizations can host events wherever they choose but the "law was never about and does not promote discrimination."