Cardinals claim NL Central crown in 7-0 win over Cubs
APST. LOUIS--The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their first NL Central division title in four years, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-0 Friday behind the strong pitching of Lance Lynn and home runs by David Freese and Matt Holliday.
September 29, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
St. Louis (95-65) has won six of seven and is tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NL. They are assured of home-field advantage when the NL division series starts Thursday.
Lynn (15-10) struck out six in a row, starting with Dioner Navarro to end the first.
Travis Wood (9-12) gave up three runs and four hits, leaving after just one inning — when he reached 200 in a season for the first time.
Pirates 4, Reds 1 Marlon Byrd had three hits and Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer high off the batter's eye, leading the Pirates over the Reds 4-1 in a series that will decide the NL wild-card game host.
With the Cardinals clinching the Central title, it comes down to who gets to host the wild-card playoff next Tuesday night, and the Pirates are one win away from taking it to Pittsburgh.
Byrd and Alvarez provided all of the Pirates' runs off Homer Bailey (11-12), who is struggling with his control heading into the postseason. A.J. Burnett (10-11) handled the Reds' slumping lineup, allowing Todd Frazier's homer and five hits overall in eight innings. Jason Grilli gave up a hit in the ninth while getting his 33rd save in 35 chances.
Cincinnati has lost three straight and scored one run in the last 22 innings.
Dodgers 11, Rockies 0 Clayton Kershaw scattered four hits over six innings and Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis each homered and drove in three runs as the Dodgers beat the Rockies.
Kershaw (16-9) lowered his ERA to 1.83, becoming the first pitcher to lead the Major Leagues in ERA in three consecutive seasons since Atlanta's Greg Maddux from 1993-95.
The left-hander joined Houston's Roger Clemens (1.87) and Boston's Pedro Martinez (1.74) as the only qualifying pitchers since 2000 to post an ERA under 2.00. Kershaw is the first Dodgers pitcher to do so since Sandy Koufax had a 1.73 ERA in 1966.
Kershaw struck out eight and walked none in totaling a career-high 236 innings this season. Favored to win the NL Cy Young Award, Kershaw leads the league with 232 strikeouts.
Rookie Collin McHugh (0-3) gave up eight runs and nine hits in four innings, struck out three and walked one.
Other games on Friday:
Braves 1, Phillies 0
Giants 7, Padres 3
Brewers 4, Mets 2
Nationals 8, Diamondbacks 4
Marlins 3, Tigers 2