Kansas City, Mo. — Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis both gave up runs for the first time in nearly three months as the Kansas City Royals’ dominant bullpen was touched up Tuesday night in a 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Davis replaced Herrera with two on in the seventh inning and walked Jose Abreu to load the bases for Conor Gillaspie, who cleared them with a triple to right-center on a 2-2 pitch to give Chicago a 7-5 lead.
That ended Herrera’s scoreless streak at 302/3 innings, dating to June 24. Also snapped was Davis’ shutout streak of 312/3 innings, a club record for a reliever, with the first run charged to him since June 25.
The rare bullpen failure prevented Kansas City from gaining ground on AL Central leader Detroit, which lost at Minnesota. The Royals remained 1½ games behind the Tigers, but still lead Seattle for the second wild-card spot.
Kansas City used nine pitchers, a club record for a nine-inning game, in a contest that lasted 4 hours, 16 minutes — the longest nine-inning game in Royals history.
Nori Aoki had his second straight four-hit game, including a sixth-inning single that put the Royals up 5-4, but this time the bullpen couldn’t hold it.
Adam Eaton had four hits, matching his career high, and scored two runs for Chicago.
Royals manager Ned Yost went to his bullpen early when starter Liam Hendriks was pulled after three-plus innings. He gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk.
In his past three outings, Hendriks has allowed 11 runs and 18 hits in 91/3 innings.
White Sox rookie right-hander Chris Bassitt also failed to make it out of the fourth. He threw 94 pitches in 32/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks.
Eric Surkamp (2-0) got the win, and Zach Putnam (Michigan) worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
Nationals clinch NL East
The Nationals are again champions of the NL East, wrapping up their second division title in three years against the team that knocked them out of the top spot last season.
Tanner Roark pitched five-hit ball over seven innings, Ian Desmond’s two-run homer broke a scoreless tie and the Nationals celebrated another trip to the playoffs with a 3-0 victory over the Braves on Tuesday night.
The clinching victory was especially sweet coming against the Braves, who finished 10 games ahead of the Nationals in 2013. The roles were reserved this season as Washington steadily pulled away down the stretch.
Atlanta lost for the 11th time in 14 games, further damaging its hopes of making a third straight playoff appearance as a wild card. The Braves dropped to 75-76 with their fifth straight loss, the first time they have been under .500 since losing on opening day to the Brewers. They are 5½ games behind the Pirates for the second NL wild card and have only 11 games left in the regular season.
Roark (14-10) pitched around four leadoff singles by Atlanta, which never got a runner past second base. He struck out four and walked none, lifted after throwing 89 pitches.
Tyler Clippard worked a scoreless eighth inning, and Drew Storen finished for his seventh save.
The Nationals finally broke through in the sixth off Aaron Harang (11-11). After Jayson Werth led off with a walk, Adam LaRoche took a called third strike before Harang worked the count to 2-2 on Desmond.
The next pitch was a breaking pitch that stayed up in the zone. Desmond got all of it, sending a drive deep into the left-field seats for his 23rd homer. Left fielder Justin Upton barely moved, while Harang pumped his fist angrily on the mound.
Desmond scored another run in the ninth, trotting home on David Carpenter’s wild pitch.
Orioles clinch AL East
The Orioles won their first AL East crown since 1997, getting home runs from Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes to beat the Blue Jays 8-2 before a boisterous crowd of 35,297 at Camden Yards.
With their ninth win in 10 games, the Orioles clinched their second playoff appearance in three years following a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons.
Afterward, the Orioles converged behind second base, fireworks soared in the outfield and streamers sprayed throughout the crowd.
It was Baltimore’s ninth AL East title and only its second since 1983, when the Orioles last won the World Series.
The franchise has enjoyed a rebirth under the guidance of manager Buck Showalter, whose 1,254th victory thrust him past mentor Billy Martin into sole possession of 36th place on the career list.