MLB: Rangers sink Athletics to clinch West crown

The Texas Rangers clinched their second consecutive American League West crown on Friday night after defeating the Oakland Athletics 3-0.

Adrian Beltre smashed a two-run homer in a three-run seventh inning as the Rangers secured their seventh divisional title and became the first AL team to guarantee a play-off spot.

The AL East-leading Boston Red Sox moved to the brink of a play-off berth with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays – their ninth straight win.

David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Drew Pomeranz allowed one run and four hits in five innings for the Red Sox, who headed into the contest at Tropicana Field on the back of four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore.

Their magic number to secure a post-season spot was lowered to two with the Orioles' 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mark Trumbo's major league-leading 44th home run of the season in the 12th inning secured the win for Baltimore, keeping them a half-game behind Detroit for the AL's second wild card.

The Tigers stayed firmly in the post-season picture with an 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals, Michael Fulmer striking out nine in seven efficient innings.

Cleveland cut their magic number for the AL Central title to three with a 10-4 success against the Chicago White Sox, Jose Ramirez crushing a two-run homer and driving in four runs for the Indians, while Troy Tulowitzki drove in four runs as the Toronto Blue Jays toppled the Yankees 9-0 to retain the top AL wild-card spot.

The Pittsburgh Pirates saw off Washington 6-5, rookie Jacob Stallings' pinch-hit single in the 11th frame proving decisive and leaving the National League East-leading Nationals one win away from clinching a play-off berth.

Michael Conforto belted a three-run homer to round off a six-run fifth inning as the New York Mets stormed past the Philadelphia Phillies 10-5.

The Chicago Cubs moved within one win of securing home-field advantage throughout the NL play-offs with a 5-0 triumph over the St Louis Cardinals. Jake Arrieta struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings.

The NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers enjoyed a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies, while the second-placed San Francisco Giants went down 7-2 to the San Diego Padres.

In other games, the Los Angeles Angels were 10-6 winners against the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners hammered the Minnesota Twins 10-1, the Atlanta Braves squeezed past the Miami Marlins 3-2 and the Milwaukee Brewers overcame the Cincinnati Reds 5-4.

Press Association Sport