The baseball pennant races are at the wire. Here's what happened on Saturday, September 28:
A.L. WILD CARD: Indians (91-70) lead Rays (90-71) and Rangers (90-71) by 1 game
- Indians 5, Twins 1: Tito's boys are assured of playing beyond Sunday; thanks to their ninth straight win, they've clinched at least a tie for a wild-card spot. Francona in Boston for the ALDS next weekend. That'd be fun, don't you think? (AP)
- Blue Jays 7, Rays 2: After sweeping the Yankees earlier this week, Tampa Bay seemed to be a wild-card lock. Now, two straight losses in Toronto later, the Rays could find themselves out in 12 hours or so. "We like to make it interesting, that's for sure," said Evan Longoria. Yeah, "interesting" is one way to describe it, I guess. (AP)
- Rangers 7, Angels 4: At last, Texas has its destiny back in its own hands. Let's see what the Rangers do with it. (AP)
The updated wild-card tie scenario:
If the Indians end up tied with the Rays or Rangers for the two wild-card spots . . .
- Baseball's tiebreaker system will determine seeding. (NBC's Hardball Talk) There'll be no playoff game to see who hosts Wednesday's play-in game.
If the Rays and Rangers finish tied for the second wild-card spot . . .
- The playoff game would be on Monday in Texas.
- The winner would play in Cleveland in the regularly scheduled A.L. play-in game on Wednesday.
If the race ends up in a three-way tie . . .
- Tampa Bay plays at Cleveland on Monday, with the winner clinching one of the wild-card spots.
- The loser of the Monday game plays at Texas on Tuesday, with the winner clinching one of the wild-card spots.
- The two winners then play the regularly scheduled A.L. play-in game on Wednesday.
RACE FOR BEST RECORD IN N.L.: Cardinals (96-65) lead Braves (95-66) by 1 game
- Cardinals 6, Cubs 2: This is how much they love baseball in St. Louis: Because of the threat of impending storms, game time was moved up three hours at the last minute. (The very last thing MLB wants is rainouts on the last weekend, forcing makeup games to bleed into the first week of the playoffs. They did the same thing in Texas.) And 42,000 people still showed up. They were rewarded with a) a voucher for a 2014 game as thanks from the organization, and b) a victory that gives the Cards the inside track to home-field advantage throughout the N.L. playoffs. (AP)
- Phillies 5, Braves 4: Forget the loss; what caused first-base coach Terry Pendleton to grab Chris Johnson by the jersey and scream at him face-to-face after Johnson was robbed of a hit by Jimmy Rollins on the game's final play? (You can see the confrontation here, thanks to our friends at NBC's Hardball Talk.) Speculation -- since no one would talk about it -- is that Johnson, a Kevin Youkilis/Paul O'Neill-type screamer and helmet-thrower, flung his helmet in the dugout and it bounced up and hit Pendleton, and, after a season of it, Pendleton reached his breaking point. Johnson didn't fight back, so that explanation makes as much sense as anything. (AP)
N.L. WILD CARD: Pirates (93-68) lead Reds (90-71) by 3 games
- Pirates 8, Reds 3: It's official: They're playing in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. (AP)