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Professional

MLB: Cards clinch Central

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina checks on the Cubs' Dioner Navarro after Navarro was hit by a pitch during Friday's game in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 7-0.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina checks on the Cubs' Dioner Navarro after Navarro was hit by a pitch during Friday's game in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 7-0.

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their first NL Central title in four years, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-0 Friday night behind the strong pitching of Lance Lynn and home runs by David Freese and Matt Holliday.

St. Louis (95-65) has won six of seven and is tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NL. They are assured of home-field advantage when the NL division series starts Thursday.

Adam Wainwright (18-9) was moved up to start Saturday, putting the St. Louis ace on track to start his team's postseason opener against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Royals 6, White Sox 1: James Shields struck out 10 and scattered four hits over seven innings for his 100th career win, and the Royals beat Chicago to ensure the White Sox of their worst record since 1970.

At 62-98 with two games remaining, the White Sox will finish with the second-most losses in franchise history, ahead of only the team that went 56-106 more than four decades ago.

"Nobody wants that," manager Robin Ventura said before the game of reaching 100 losses. "Is it going to be the big difference going into next year? Probably not, but nobody wants that."

Shields (13-9) gave up just one run and walked one.

The Royals took a 3-0 lead in the first off White Sox starter Chris Sale (11-14).

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