MLB scores, highlights, live team updates, news: Cubs pad lead; Yankees clinch berth; Braves win NL East

It’s the second to last Saturday of the regular season, and we’ve got a full slate of baseball with all 15 teams playing today. Here’s everything you need to know from Saturday’s MLB action.

Saturday’s scores

Cubs get some breathing room

Even though the SportsLine Projection Model coming into Saturday’s slate gave the Cubs a 92.6 percent chance of winning the NL Central, their lead over the Brewers was a mere 1 1/2 games. Now, though, it’s been stretched to 2 1/2. 

The Cubs held off the crosstown White Sox thanks in part to Javier Baez’s 34th home run of the season and some excellent bullpen work — four relievers combined for four hitless innings. As a result, the Cubs won their 90th game of 2018. That means for the first time in more than a century, the Cubs have won 90 or more games in four consecutive seasons. 

Over in Pittsburgh, Trevor Williams twirled six shutout innings and struck a serious blow against the Brewers’ hopes in the NL Central. Milwaukee now trails the Cubs by three games in the loss column, and they have no more head-to-head regular-season games against the division leaders. At this point, it’ll be major upset if the Cubs don’t win the NL Central for the third straight year. 

Braves win NL East for first time since 2013

The Braves beat second-place Philly for the third day in a row, clinching their first National League East crown since 2013. The 2018 Braves were fueled by young stars like Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo and Ronald Acuna Jr. and the team moved into first place on May 2 and never trailed in the division race after a 9-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Aug. 13.

A’s close to clinching playoff spot

The Athletics reduced their magic number to one for clinching a spot in the AL Wild Card Game with their Saturday win. Mike Fiers pitched well once again, Marcus Semien homered, and Blake Treinen lowered his ERA to 0.81. Oh, and the A’s won on a walk-off wild pitch … 

Astros put up nine-run inning against Angels

The Astros led the Angels 1-0 going into the eighth inning, but then L.A. busted out for five runs, including Mike Trout’s 38th home run of the season. Houston, though, bounced back to score nine runs in the home half of the eighth, punctuated by Jose Altuve’s third hit of the night and 13th home run of 2018 … 

You wouldn’t know it from the final score, but Astros starter Justin Verlander twirled a gem in this one … 

And those 11 strikeouts put him in elite company … 

Verlander remains a contender in the AL Cy Young race. 

Rockies keep pace

With their Saturday win, Colorado remained 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the race for the second NL wild-card berth. Antonio Senzatela wound up pitching seven strong innings after retiring the first 14 batters he faced. Across the way, Patrick Corbin lasted just three innings for his shortest outing of the season. The Diamondbacks have now lost 11 of 14 are close to being eliminated from contention. 

Indians win in walk-off fashion in possible ALCS preview

The Red Sox and Indians are pretty much focused on getting and staying healthy for the postseason, but, hey, walk-offs are cool in any context … 

Also in this one, Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger wasn’t at his best, but he did strike out six, which gives him 202 strikeouts for the season. That brings us to this bit of notable history … 

We’re in an era in which starting pitching has been de-emphasized to an extent, but that hasn’t been the case with Terry Francona’s squad this season. Now that Trevor Bauer’s back from injury, that rotation can help the Indians make some noise in the postseason.

Cardinals walk off against Giants

With the score tied at four apiece in the bottom of the 10th, St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Tyler O’Neill blasted a home run, on his final strike and the final out of the inning.

The 23-year-old was pretty pumped for his first career walk-off, and so were his teammates. So pumped that they literally tore his shirt off.

St. Louis (86-69) has won the first two games of the series against San Francisco as it tries to hold on to its second-place spot in the National League wild-card standings. 

Yankees clinch spot in AL wild-card game

New York is officially postseason bound, thanks to Aaron Hicks‘ walk-off double to bring Didi Gregorius home in the 11th inning. Hicks also hit a home run in the second inning, making the Yankees the sixth team in MLB history with 250-plus home runs in a season. 

The Yankees are still fighting for home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game, and are currently hanging onto a two-game lead over the Oakland Athletics. New York has eight games remaining in the 2018 regular season whereas the A’s have 10 more games.

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