Moncada homers as White Sox win 9-5; Cubs clinch NL Central

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The White Sox picked up a victory they sorely needed and the Cubs clinched a division championship. Consider it a win-win for Chicago.

Yoan Moncada homered, Jose Abreu hit a three-run double and the playoff-bound White Sox beat the NL Central champion Cubs 9-5 at Guaranteed Rate Field to snap a season-high six-game losing streak Saturday.

The Cubs clinched their third division title in five years when St. Louis lost 3-0 to Milwaukee. They traded high-fives and fist bumps in the dugout after that game ended.

Chicago will be home for a best-of-three series at Wrigley Field beginning Wednesday against an opponent still to be determined.

The White Sox were on their way by the time the Cardinals lost to the Brewers, and remained a game behind AL Central leader Minnesota, with the Twins beating Cincinnati. Chicago also took sole possession of second place, with Cleveland losing to Pittsburgh.2

The White Sox need another victory Sunday over the Cubs and a Minnesota loss at home to Cincinnati to win the division title by virtue of the tiebreaker Chicago holds over the Twins. That would be another big mark for a team headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“It would mean a lot for all of us that have been here for the last couple of years,” Moncada said through a translator. “It would be a really good starting point for us for the next season because we would have that foundation there.”

The Cubs won division championships in 2016 and 2017. But they missed the playoffs last season after four straight appearances, and this year hasn’t exactly been smooth. They won 13 of their first 16 games, only to go 20-23 since then.

“A lot of hard work from those guys, a lot of overcoming a lot this year,” said manager David Ross, who replaced Joe Maddon after last season. “Really a unique season and I couldn’t be prouder of what these guys mean to me and this organization, and how they carried themselves.”

Anthony Rizzo called winning the division a “big exhale” for the Cubs.

“Not making the playoffs last year, losing the wild-card game the year before that, this one feels good,” he said. “With the 60-game season and just everything that has gone on, it just feels good to win the division and be able to play at home and take our playoff experience to whoever we’re going to play.”