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Brewers win NL Central

Diamondbacks, Rangers also crowned champions

Associated Press / September 24, 2011

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Ryan Braun hit a three-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth and the Brewers beat the Florida Marlins, 4-1, last night in Milwaukee to win their first division title since 1982.

Prince Fielder also homered for Milwaukee, which clinched the NL Central and reached the postseason at the earliest date in team history after waiting for 20 minutes while the Cubs beat the Cardinals, 5-1.

With most of a sell-out crowd still in its seats, fireworks went off again after the Cardinals lost and fans were showered with confetti and streamers.

With chants of “M-V-P’’ ringing among the sellout crowd and two on, Braun homered off Clay Hensley (6-7) to end a 1-for-16 skid, then pointed his bat in the air toward owner Mark Attanasio and the fans.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 1 - Arizona completed an improbable run to its first NL West crown in four years, beating San Francisco when rookie Paul Goldschmidt lined a two-run triple off Sergio Romo in the eighth inning in Phoenix.

The Diamondbacks completed their worst-to-first turnaround in raucous fashion, rallying to beat the Giants with Chase Field buzzing as it rarely did over the past couple of seasons.

Manager Kirk Gibson guided Arizona to the title in his first full season as its manager.

The loss dropped the defending World Series champion Giants five games behind Atlanta for the NL wild-card spot. San Francisco only has five games left.

Rangers 5, Mariners 3 - Texas is AL West champion again.

Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre hit long home runs and Craig Gentry had an inside-the-park homer in a victory over Seattle in Arlington, Texas. About two hours later, the Rangers had their second consecutive division title after Los Angeles lost to Oakland.

It is the fifth division title for Texas, which went to its first World Series last season.

Athletics 3, Angels 1 - Gio Gonzalez outdueled Jered Weaver and Oakland scored the go-ahead run on an eighth-inning error, beating host Los Angeles and eliminating it from the AL West race.

The loss also dropped Los Angeles 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race.

Braves 7, Nationals 4 - Dan Uggla and the Braves knocked around Stephen Strasburg a bit in a three-run first inning, and Atlanta helped its bid for a playoff berth by beating host Washington.

Tim Hudson (16-10) pitched into the sixth for the Braves, who had lost eight of 12 games.

Cubs 5, Cardinals 1 - Alfonso Soriano dealt St. Louis’s wild-card hopes another serious blow with his first home run of the month, a tiebreaking three-run shot in the eighth inning that lifted visiting Chicago.

The loss dropped the Cardinals three games behind Atlanta, which beat Washington, for the wild card. Tigers 4, Orioles 3 - Victor Martinez’s run-scoring double in the 11th inning gave host Detroit the win over Baltimore.

Elswhere - Carlos Santana had a pinch hit homer in the ninth as the host Indians edge the Twins, 6-5 . . . Bruce Chen (12-8) allowed two hits in eight innings as the visiting Royals pummeled the White Sox, 11-1 . . . Carlos Lee drove in four runs for the second straight game as the Astros defeated the visiting Rockies, 11-2 . . . Ryan Ludwick’s single in the ninth drove in the winning run as the host Pirates tipped the Reds, 4-3 . . . Matt Kemp hit a solo homer and Ted Lilly combined with three relievers on a four-hitter, leading the Dodgers to a 2-0 victory over the Padres in Los Angeles.

The Phillies-Mets game at New York was postponed. The teams will play a day-night doubleheader today.

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