Birds, Nats clinch...Union appeals Rice ban...Football Hall Nominees

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles have captured their first American League East title in 17 years by crushing the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 at Camden Yards. Steve Pearce put the Birds ahead to stay with a three-run homer in the first inning and Jimmy Paredes (pah-REH'-dees) added a solo blast before Alejandro de Aza (day AH'-zah) put the game out of reach with a bases-loaded triple in the seventh. The O's have won 27 of their last 38 games.

ATLANTA (AP) — The Washington Nationals are National League East champions for the second time in three years following a 3-0 shutout of Atlanta. Ian Desmond put the Nats ahead with a two-run homer in the sixth and scored an insurance run on a wild pitch in the ninth. Tanner Roark (ROH'-ahrk) scattered five hits in seven innings for his 14th win.

UNDATED (AP) — Detroit still leads the American League Central by 1 ½ games over Kansas City after both teams lost. J.D. Martinez launched a go-ahead, three-run homer in the ninth for the Tigers, but Minnesota pulled out a 4-3 win on Aaron Hicks' RBI single. The Royals were enjoying a 5-4 lead until Conor Gillaspie laced a bases-loaded triple in the seventh inning to lift the Chicago White Sox over Kansas City 7-5.

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL Players Association has appealed Ray Rice's season-long suspension. Rice originally was suspended two games under the NFL's personal conduct policy for striking his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator, but the ban was increased when videotape of that incident was made public last Monday.

UNDATED (AP) — Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner and linebacker Junior Seau (SAY'-ow) are among 15 first-year eligible modern-era candidates nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also nominated for the class of 2015 in their first year of eligibility are receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, tackle Orlando Pace, and placekicker Jason Elam. A total of 99 players and 14 coaches comprise the 113 nominees. A modern-era player or coach must be retired at least five consecutive seasons to be eligible.

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