Bucs, Reds Clinch Postseason Berths...Cards Stay 2-up, Eliminate Nats...Rays Rally to Beat Birds 9/24/13
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds were able to clinch National League playoff berths on Monday night, thanks to some help from a division rival. Both the Bucs and Reds pulled out victories in their final at-bats, but they needed St. Louis to beat Washington and eliminate the Nationals from playoff contention.
Starling Marte hit a solo shot with two outs in the ninth to lead Pittsburgh past the Cubs 2-1 in Chicago. Neil Walker also went deep and Charlie Morton worked seven shutout innings to help the Pirates earn their first postseason berth since 1992. But the victory was in doubt until Nate Schierholtz (SHEER'-hohlts) was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Cincinnati blew a 2-0 lead before beating the Mets 3-2 on Shin-Soo Choo's walkoff single in the bottom of the 10th. Choo also singled home a run in the second inning before the Mets rallied on Lucas Duda's solo homer and two RBIs.
Neither the Pirates or Reds were able to celebrate until the Cardinals completed a 4-3 win over the Nats. Carlos Beltran snapped a 2-2 deadlock with a two-run homer in the fifth to send Adam Wainwright to his 18th win.
The Redbirds' victory keeps them two games ahead of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh for the NL Central lead with five games remaining.
The Tampa Bay Rays have moved another step closer to an American League wild-card berth while pushing the Baltimore Orioles closer to elimination.
Pinch-hitter James Loney smacked a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Rays past the Birds 5-4. Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 52nd homer and Brian Roberts added a solo shot while the O's were building a 4-2 lead. But the Rays tied it on Wil Myers' two-run single in the seventh before Loney's blast put Tampa Bay one game ahead of Cleveland in the battle for the first wild-card berth.
Baltimore is five games out of a playoff berth with six remaining after absorbing a four-game sweep in St. Petersburg. The Orioles also finished the game without third baseman Manny Machado, who suffered a leg injury while running out a single in the seventh inning.
Texas Rangers right fielder Alex Rios needed just four at-bats to hit for the cycle in a 12-0 pounding of Houston. Rios laced a sixth-inning triple to become the seventh Ranger ever to hit for the cycle. He hit a two-run double in the first inning, legged out an infield single in the third and homered in the fourth to help Texas pull within one game of the Indians for the final American League wild-card berth.
Detroit still has a magic number of two for clinching the AL Central following a 4-3 loss at Minnesota. Josmil Pinto won it with an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th after Brian Dozier tied it with a solo blast in the ninth.
The Tigers wasted a fine outing by Justin Verlander, who left the game with a 3-0 lead after striking out 12 over six innings.
Kansas City blew a 5-3 lead in the eighth before Salvador Perez hit an RBI single in the 12th inning to lift the Royals over Seattle 6-5. Perez had three hits and two RBIs as the Royals climbed within three games of the Indians for the final AL wild-card slot with six games left.
Also in the majors, Jed Lowrie belted a three-run homer and Brandon Moss added a two-run shot as Oakland dumped the Angels 10-5. The Athletics' fifth straight win puts them one game behind Boston for the AL's best record.
Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis (ah-RAH'-mihs) Ramirez homered in Milwaukee's 5-0 shutout of Atlanta. Brewers hurler Marco Estrada worked the first seven innings of a combined three-hitter. The Braves are just a half-game ahead of St. Louis in the battle for home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
Nick Hundley's three-run blast snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning of San Diego's 4-1 verdict over Arizona. Eric Stults allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings for his 10th win.
Nathan Eovaldi (eh-VAHL'-dee) limited the Phillies to three hits over 7 2/3 innings to pitch Miami past Philadelphia 4-0. Chris Yelich and Ed Lucas each had two hits and an RBI as the Marlins avoided their 100th loss.
Jose Quintana pitched into the eighth inning and rookie Marcus Semien hit his first homer to lead the Chicago White Sox over Toronto 3-2. Avisail Garcia also homered for the Pale Hose.