The Baltimore Orioles won their 10th American League East pennant and first in nine seasons Thursday, with Japanese reliever Shintaro Fujinami securing the title in his MLB debut year.
The Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 2-0 at Oriole Park for their 100th win this year and while Fujinami did not take the mound on the day, the flamethrower savored the occasion following a tumultuous season.
"I'm really happy to experience something like this from my first year in the majors," said the former Hanshin Tigers right-hander, who endured a difficult start to life in North America serving as a starting pitcher at the Oakland Athletics.
An upturn in form followed after Fujinami switched to reliever before he was traded in July to the Orioles, with whom he has gone 2-0 with a 4.88 ERA. With the Athletics, he had a 5-8 record with an 8.57 ERA.
"I want to reach the World Series and win it, and will look to contribute even if only slightly," he said.
Elsewhere, Kenta Maeda took the loss after giving up a go-ahead solo home run during his 3-1/3 innings of relief in the Minnesota Twins' 2-1 defeat to the Athletics.
Maeda (6-8) took the mound in the fifth inning and threw three shutout frames while the Twins tied the game 1-1 in the sixth, but the Athletics' leadoff man Ryan Noda went deep off the right-hander's 2-2 slider to open the eighth at Target Field.
The solo shot was the only hit Maeda allowed in the game. He struck out five while walking two in a 62-pitch effort.
Seiya Suzuki went 3-for-4 with two RBIs but the Chicago Cubs lost their third straight game after going down 5-3 against the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves led 5-1 after three innings at Truist Park, where Suzuki singled in the fourth, doubled in a run in the sixth and singled in the game's last run in the eighth.