BALTIMORE — The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh consecutive National League West title in fitting fashion, using two home runs by Corey Seager and a masterful pitching performance by Walker Buehler to beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 on Tuesday night.
After the final out, the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season gathered at the mound for a subdued celebration that included a wardrobe change for a pending champagne celebration in the clubhouse.
Los Angeles, coming off consecutive World Series losses to Houston and Boston and seeking its first title since 1988, will likely begin the postseason at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 3 against the NL wild-card team.
This is the earliest that Los Angeles (94-52) has ever clinched the division, both in terms of date and games. The 1977 team did it in Game 151, and the 2013 club clinched on Sept. 19.
Though an Arizona loss to the New York Mets would have clinched it for the Dodgers, Los Angeles emphatically took care of business on its own. Seager homered with two on to cap a four-run first inning against Ty Blach (1-3) and added a two-run drive in the third for a 6-0 lead.
Gavin Lux hit his first career homer in the fifth to increase the Dodgers’ NL record for long balls in a season to 258.
Buehler (13-3) limited last-place Baltimore to four hits over seven shutout innings. He struck out 11.
Brewers 4, Marlins 3: MIAMI — Christian Yelich broke his right kneecap on a foul ball and will miss the rest of the regular season, an injury that overshadowed Milwaukee’s win over Miami. The Brewers did not say whether the reigning NL MVP might be able to return for the playoffs that begin Oct. 1 if they make it that far. Yelich will return to Milwaukee on Wednesday for further evaluation. Milwaukee, which won its fifth in a row, began the day two games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild-card spot. Yelich fouled a ball off his leg in the first inning.
Mets 3, Diamondbacks 2: NEW YORK — Zack Wheeler pitched one-run ball over seven innings, Justin Wilson navigated four difficult outs for his first save since April, and New York beat Arizona. New York has taken the first two games in this key four-game set between NL playoff contenders.
Athletics 21, Astros 7 : HOUSTON — Matt Olson and Sean Murphy each homered twice, and Oakland tagged Wade Miley for seven runs in the first inning and scored a season-high 21 runs in a rout of Houston. After being blanked in a lopsided 15-0 loss on Monday, Oakland recovered to win its seventh of nine.
Giants 5, Pirates 4: SAN FRANCISCO — Cap on backward and with confident head shakes and fist pumps, Johnny Cueto dazzled over five shutout innings in his long-awaited season debut to pitch San Francisco past Pittsburgh. The right-hander returned to the mound for the first time in more than 13 months following Tommy John surgery. He allowed one hit, struck out four and walked one. Stephen Vogt hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs.
Mariners 4, Reds 3: SEATTLE — Kyle Seager hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning and Kyle Lewis homered in his first major league game as Seattle opened a six-game homestand with a win.
Phillies 6, Braves 5: PHILADELPHIA — Corey Dickerson homered twice to help Philadelphia’s wild-card push and the Phillies hit five home runs overall in a win over Atlanta.
Tigers 12, Yankees 11: DETROIT — Jordy Mercer capped a comeback from a six-run deficit with a game-ending single off Chance Adams in the ninth inning, and Detroit overcame six home runs by New York.
Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: TORONTO — Rowdy Tellez hit a two-run home run, Cavan Biggio and Reese McGuire added solo shots, and Toronto snapped a seven-game losing streak with a win over Boston.
Twins 5, Nationals 0: MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Berrios surrendered two singles over seven innings in his best start in six weeks, Mitch Garver hit the tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh, and Minnesota beat Washington.
White Sox 7, Royals 3: CHICAGO — Rookie Eloy Jimenez hit his first career grand slam, Yoan Moncada launched a two-run homer, and Chicago beat Kansas City.
Rockies 2, Cardinals 1: DENVER — Nolan Arenado hit a 482-foot homer that bounced out of Coors Field in the first inning, Chi Chi Gonzalez got his first big league win in four years, and Colorado slowed St. Louis’ playoff push.
Rays 5, Rangers 3: ARLINGTON, Texas — Austin Meadows tied the game with a two-run homer in the eighth, and Tampa Bay scored twice in the 11th after two Texas errors on the same play to stretch their winning streak to six games.
Indians 8, Angels 0: ANAHEIM, Calif. — Rookie Zach Plesac pitched a four-hitter for his first complete game in the majors as Cleveland blanked Los Angeles. Francisco Lindor and Jordan Luplow homered as the Indians stayed a half-game behind Oakland for the second AL wild-card spot.
Padres 9, Cubs 8: SAN DIEGO — Manuel Margot drew a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk with one out in the 10th inning as San Diego overcame an impressive power display by the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward. Bryant hit a pair of two-run home runs and Heyward also homered twice and drove in three runs.