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Weekly MLB Report: Orioles, Yankees and Rangers Clinch Playoff Spots

MLB Report 9-30
Greg Fiume, Abelimages, Rick Yeatts

The Major League Baseball playoffs start Friday, and three American League teams clinched post-season spots on Sunday night. Here’s what’s happening in Major League Baseball:

American League Report: Orioles, Yankees and Rangers All Clinch; Tigers Lead White Sox by 3 Games

The Baltimore Orioles (92-67) completed a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday with a 6-3 win at Camden Yards. The victory allowed Baltimore to remain tied atop the American League East with the New York Yankees (92-67), who rallied to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-6. After the AL West-leading Texas Rangers (93-66) beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 8-7, in the second game of their day-night doubleheader Sunday night, Baltimore, New York and Texas were all guaranteed 2012 playoff spots. The Orioles will make their first post-season appearance since 1997. Baltimore ends the regular season in Tampa, while the Yankees host the Red Sox.

Los Angeles (88-71) remains alive in the race for the last AL Wild Card spot, but both they and Tampa Bay (88-71) trail Oakland by three games with three to play. The Angels visit Seattle, while Oakland hosts Texas. The Detroit Tigers (86-73) are three games ahead of the Chicago White Sox (83-76) in the American League Central with just three games to play. The White Sox finish the regular season in Cleveland, while Detroit travels to Kansas City.

If the Orioles and Yankees, Tigers and White Sox, Rangers and Athletics or any Wild Card contenders finish tied, the teams will participate in separate one-game playoffs on Thursday with the host venues decided by head-to-head, divisional and league records.

Plays of the Week (tie): Travis Snider, Pittsburgh Pirates and Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals

Travis Snider of the Pittsburgh Pirates climbs the fence at Citi Field to rob Mike Baxter of the New York Mets of a home run last Thursday.

 

Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals makes a basket catch in the outfield at Comerica Park to keep Delmon Young of the Detroit Tigers off the bases last Wednesday.

National League Report: Cardinals and Dodgers Battle to the Finish

The defending World Series champion-St. Louis Cardinals (86-73) have a two-game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers (84-75) for the second National League Wild Card spot with just three games to play. Any combination of Cardinals’ wins or Dodgers’ losses adding up to two will eliminate L.A.. St. Louis plays its final regular season games at home against the Reds, while the Dodgers host the Giants. Both Cincinnati (96-63) and San Francisco (93-66) have secured their division titles. The Washington Nationals (96-63) are still three games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East with three games to play. The Braves, who have already clinched a playoff spot, will visit the Pirates this week, while the Nationals host the Phillies.

If the Cardinals and Dodgers and/or Nationals and Braves finish tied, the teams will participate in a separate one-game playoff on Thursday with the host venues decided by head-to-head, divisional and league records.

Upcoming Series To Watch: Texas Rangers at Oakland A’s

After 159 games, the American League West has yet to be decided. Texas (93-66) travels to Oakland (91-68) with a two-game lead and just three games to play starting Monday. The Rangers have scheduled Martin Perez, Matt Harrison and Ryan Dempster to pitch against Jarrod Parker, Travis Blackley and A.J. Griffin of the Athletics. Both teams would love to avoid the one-game Wild Card round and advance directly to the A.L. Divisional Series.

Other MLB News: Miguel Cabrera Nears Triple Crown; Homer Bailey Throws No-Hitter

Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera finished Sunday leading the American League with a .327 batting average and 136 runs batted in, while his 43 home runs were tied with Josh Hamilton for the league-lead. If Cabrera can hold on to those leads over the next three games, he’ll be the first player in baseball to win the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox did it in 1967…Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Homer Bailey threw the record-tying seventh no-hitter of the 2012 season on Friday, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1-0, at PNC Park.

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