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White Sox move on after AL Central run falls short

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White Sox move on after AL Central run falls short

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago White Sox made a surprising run at a division title. Now, big changes could be in store.

They might be saying goodbye to Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski, and the front office could be in for some shuffling, too after the White Sox lost their grip on the AL Central lead and finished three games behind Detroit at 85-77.

Chicago led by as many as 3 1/2 games and spent 117 days in first place, scenarios that few would have envisioned when the season began.

``I can't say enough about these guys for their effort and commitment,'' general manager Ken Williams said. ``It's one thing to talk about it, (and say), `Let's pay greater attention to fundamentals and all these things,' but once you leave spring training, a lot of times, some of those things fall to the wayside. Not with this group. So I can sit here and only be so disappointed in us for not closing this thing out because if there is such a thing as losing the right way, this group did.''

So now what?

The White Sox reportedly will promote their top two baseball executives, with Williams becoming the new vice president of baseball operations and assistant general manager Rick Hahn replacing him as the GM.

Williams is the fourth-longest tenured GM in baseball at the moment, and he just completed his 12th season, a run that included a championship in 2005 to end an 87-year drought along with another division title in 2008. Hahn has been credited with negotiating contracts with Paul Konerko, John Danks, Alexei Ramirez and Gavin Floyd along with evaluating and signing first-round picks Gordon Beckham (2008) and Chris Sale (2010) during his 12 seasons in the organization.

The White Sox have been consistent contenders during that span, finishing at or above .500 nine times. Now, they reportedly will give Williams and Hahn fancier titles in a move that would seem to mirror the one chairman Jerry Reinsdorf made with the NBA's Chicago Bulls in May 2009, when he promoted John Paxson to executive vice president of basketball operations and Gar Forman to general manager.

Job descriptions aside, the task remains the same. And the White Sox have some big decisions to make.

They can exercise a $22 million option on Peavy or buy him out for $4 million. If they do that, they could try to bring him back at a lower rate, but he might be attractive on the open market. After all, the former NL Cy Young winner put aside three injury-riddled seasons to make 32 starts, posting a 3.37 ERA and going 11-12.

Kevin Youkilis also could be gone after being acquired from Boston in late June, with the White Sox not expected to pick up his option.

Then, there's Pierzynski.

His contract is up, and if his eight-year run in Chicago is over, he's ending it on a strong note. He set a career high with 27 homers and matched one with 77 RBIs while hitting .278.

``I would love to come back and finish my career here, but at the same time I know how baseball works,'' Pierzynski said. ``I know the way things work and we'll see. Maybe we can work something out. If not, I'll always look back fondly on my time here and appreciate it. I love the city of Chicago. I love the fans here. I love the people here. I love the organization and you'll never hear me say anything bad about them.''

As disappointing as the finish was for the White Sox, there were still plenty of positives they can take away from this season.

Robin Ventura was a success in his first season as a manager, bringing a sense of calm after the Ozzie Guillen era. Players praised him and Ventura gave it right back to them, saying, ``I enjoy the people I work with, the guys on the team, what they've done, so that part's been fun.''

It helped that Adam Dunn (41 homers, 96 RBIs) and Alex Rios (.304, 25 homers, 91 RBIs) rebounded from miserable seasons. Sale emerged as an All-Star in his first year as a starter, with a 17-8 record and a 3.05 ERA, and Konerko got off to a blazing start before finishing a .298 average and 26 homers. He had surgery Thursday on his left wrist and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.

Considering the disarray they were in a year ago, with the Williams-Guillen saga having come to its explosive end, this wasn't a bad season for the White Sox.

``There are things that went on this year that just can't be denied as far as positives,'' Konerko said.

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

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LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.

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Harper drives in 100th run, Nationals beat Marlins 7-3

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Harper drives in 100th run, Nationals beat Marlins 7-3

Anthony Rendon homered and drove four runs, Bryce Harper reached 100 RBIs in a season for the first time and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 7-3 on Monday night.

Juan Soto and Matt Wieters also homered for Washington, which broke it open with four runs on three pitches in the fourth inning.

Harper started the big inning, driving in his 100th run with a sacrifice fly that scored Adam Eaton and put Washington ahead 3-1. Harper, a pending free agent who may be playing his final home series at Nationals Park, got a standing ovation from the sparse, rain-soaked crowd. His previous high was 99 RBIs in 2015, when he won the NL MVP Award.

Rendon and Soto then homered back-to-back on the next two pitches from Sandy Alcantara (2-2). Rendon lofted a two-run shot, his 23rd, down the left-field line, and then Soto lined one into the visitors' bullpen in left-center to make it 6-1.

Rendon extended his on-base streak to 32 games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Peter O'Brien had two hits for Miami, which had won three straight. The Marlins left 10 men on base.

Justin Miller (7-1) allowed one unearned run in the fifth in relief of Stephen Strasburg, who was pulled after throwing 100 pitches over four innings. Strasburg gave up a run on three hits and four walks while striking out five and hitting a batter.

Strasburg hasn't lost since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 22.

Alcantara allowed six runs on seven hits and five walks in four innings.

The Nationals trailed 1-0 in the first when Rendon's double scored Eaton and Harper.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Marlins: Manager Don Mattingly expects RHP Jose Urena, who experienced leg cramps last time out, to make his next scheduled start Friday in New York. "He ran yesterday," Mattingly said. "It looks like he's going to be fine. He's getting an extra day (Thursday) anyway. I think he'll start."

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark went home Sunday to be with his wife after the recent birth of their third child. He is still slated to start Wednesday.

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Marlins: RHP Jeff Brigham (0-3, 5.84) makes his fourth major league start and first against Washington.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (17-7, 2.57) needs 10 strikeouts to reach 300 for the season. He's 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA against the Marlins in 2018.

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