A change in the AL East as Baltimore captured the division crown with 96 wins, 12 more than the second place Yankees. While the Orioles advanced to the playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons, this was their first division title since 1997. Led by Nelson Cruzs league leading 40 home runs, Baltimore led the the major leagues with 211 home runs as team, 25 more than the next closest team. In the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels won 98 games, the most in the major leagues. The Angels were led by Mike Trout (.287 AVG, 36 HR) and Albert Pujols (.272, 28 HR) and pitcher Jered Weaver (18-9, 3.59 ERA). The Detroit Tigers (90-72) edged the Kansas City Royals (89-73) by a game in the AL Central. Both the Royals and the Oakland Athletics (88-74) entered the playoffs as the AL wild card teams.
In the National League, the Washington Nationals used a 3.03 team ERA and timely hitting to top the NL East and National League with 96 wins. The high priced Dodgers ($238 million payroll) captured the NL West with 94 wins behind the arms of Clayton Kershaw (21-3, 1.77 ERA) and Zack Greinke (17-8, 2.71). In the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers got off to a surprising 20-8 start and held first place for 159 days before a 9 game losing streak in late August and early September doomed the team. Milwaukee would finish the season with 82 wins and out of the playoffs. The Brewers misfortunes allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to capture their second consecutive NL Central title and advance to the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
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