The Seattle Mariners used a power display to help out their young starter – and improve their playoff chances. Dustin Ackley hit two solo homers, and Mike Zunino and Kyle Seager each hit three-run shots in a seven-run fourth inning as Mariners cruised to a 10-5 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night. Ackley homered in the third and eighth innings for his second career multihomer game for the Mariners, who moved a 1/2 game back for the second AL wild card with the victory and Royals’ loss to Detroit. ”I felt good today,” said Ackley, who has a career-high 13 homers this season.

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The biggest series in nearly 30 years at Kauffman Stadium got off to a very disappointing start for the home-standing Royals. Before the 37.945 fans had a chance to settle in, Detroit struck for three first-inning runs, including an RBI double from Miguel Cabrera that was horribly misjudged by left fielder Alex Gordon. With a locked-in Justin Verlander on the hill, they never looked back, cruising to a big 10-1 victory . ”We just went out there and did what we’re capable of doing,” Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. ”But there are no statements. Our intent is just to play the game.” The Tigers have been in this position before, so their mindset isn’t surprising. Yet they definitely looked like the hungrier team, at least for one night. Every batter in Detroit’s order had a hit before the fourth inning. Ian Kinsler paced the 19-hit attack with three hits and three RBIs. He doubled home Detroit’s fifth inning run and later capped the scoring with a two-run homer. Victor and J.D. Martinez both remained hot, combining to go 5 for 10 with three runs scored. It was an all around shellacking, but Royals skipper Ned Yost doesn’t seem concerned by the result.  ”There’s no carry-over,” Yost said. ”They whipped us, they beat us, they spanked us, whatever you want to say. We’ll show up again tomorrow and be ready to play.” And we’ll be ready to watch. Saturday’s matchup should be a dandy with Max Scherzer set to face James “Big Game” Shields.  OAKLAND WINS BEHIND JON LESTER: It wasn’t much of a breakout, but it was enough. The A’s offense scored three runs in the second inning on consecutive RBIs from Derek Norris, Eric Sogard and Coco Crisp, and then rode their pitching to the finish line in a 3-1 win .  Starter Jon Lester went seven innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out seven. Ryan Howard got him for a solo homer in the fourth, but Philadelphia never truly threatened to turn the game around. Luke Gregorson handled the eighth, and then closer Sean Doolittle, who imploded against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, bounced back with a perfect ninth to seal it.  With the win, Oakland regained the lead in the wild-card by one-half game over Kansas City. As for the Mariners… SEATTLE’S FOUR HOMERS SINK HOUSTON :

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Logan Morrison felt no weight on his shoulders from the Seattle Mariners’ two-game offensive drought and teetering playoff hopes when he stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning of a scoreless game. This is what you dream about as a kid.” Morrison only imagined the possibilities – and with one big swing, he blasted the Mariners forward in the AL postseason race. Morrison hit a three-run homer, and Seattle boosted its wild-card hopes with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night. Felix Hernandez struck out 11 during seven innings of three-hit ball as the Mariners pulled within one game of the slumping Oakland Athletics for the second AL wild-card spot.

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The Cleveland Indians relied on their pitching again, and their offense came alive just in time to beat the Houston Astros. Mike Aviles’ sacrifice fly in the 13th inning scored Jose Ramirez and gave the Indians a 2-1 win on Thursday night. Ramirez doubled with one out before Samuel Deduno (2-6) walked Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana to set up Aviles’ fly to right. Jake Marisnick’s throw to the plate was offline, and Ramirez scored easily.

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In this week’s Waiver Wired, D.J. Short rides the wave of the hot-hitting Nori Aoki and recommends some streaming options.

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Drew Silva discusses the emergence of Carlos Carrasco and the Twins’ changing closer situation as part of Thursday’s Daily Dose.

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The owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement to buy a stake in the Oklahoma City RedHawks, and the team will change its Triple-A affiliation to Oklahoma City next year. The deal marks the end of the Dodgers’ minor league presence in Albuquerque after 44 years. The Dodgers will continue to play in the Pacific Coast League while moving to its American Northern Division and playing at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The agreement announced Wednesday is part of a partnership in which Peter Guber will be executive chairman and managing director of the RedHawks, and partners Paul Schaeffer and Larry Freedman will manage the company’s operations.

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Corey Kluber keeps giving the Indians strong starts when they need them. The right-hander struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings and Cleveland halted its four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night. His previous high for strikeouts was 13 against the Chicago White Sox on May 4. ”I didn’t consistently execute throughout the entire game, but when I needed to make big pitches, I was able to execute,” Kluber said.

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(Adds late games) Sept 15 (The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Monday’s Major League baseball games – - – - Nationals 4, Braves 2 Right-hander Stephen Strasburg threw seven scoreless innings to help Washington to a win over the Atlanta Braves and reduce the Nationals’ magic number for winning the National League East to two. The Nationals (86-63) could clinch their second division title in three years by beating Atlanta on Tuesday. Atlanta (75-75) have lost four successive games. Atlanta starter Ervin Santana (14-9) threw six solid innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.

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Jacob deGrom overpowered the first eight Miami hitters, and all that stood between him and sole possession of a major league record was the opposing pitcher. ”I had no idea,” Marlins starter Jarred Cosart said. ”Any time you can keep the other pitcher out of the history books, it’s a good thing.” By striking out eight in a row to begin the game, deGrom matched a big league mark Monday night before the Marlins finally started making contact and rallied late for a 6-5 victory over the New York Mets. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a two-run single and Jeff Mathis put the Marlins ahead with an RBI single that capped a three-run eighth inning.

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