Playoff wrap: It's rally night for Rays and Yanks

Playoff wrap: It's rally night for Rays and Yanks
September 19, 2013, 6:45 am
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MAGIC NUMBERS

A.L. EAST: Red Sox 3
A.L. CENTRAL: Tigers 5
A.L. WEST: A's 5
N.L. EAST: Braves 2
N.L. CENTRAL: Cardinals 9
N.L. WEST: Dodgers 2

The baseball pennant races are in the home stretch and we'll be here each weekday with a wrapup of the previous day's action. Here's what happened on Wednesday, September 18:

A.L. EAST: Red Sox (92-61) lead Rays (83-68) by 8 games

  • Orioles 5, Red Sox 3 (12 innings): Now the earliest clinch possibility -- for the division, anyway -- is Friday. But what's a few more days, right?  (CSNNE.com)

  • Rays 4, Rangers 3 (12 innings): Tampa Bay erased a 3-2, 11th-inning deficit against Texas closer Joe Nathan, which leads Joe Maddon to believe that this victory "has to give us some kind of impetus moving forward."  Even baseball lifers never want to admit that, in this sport, momentum is the next day's starting pitcher. (AP)

A.L. CENTRAL: Tigers (88-64) lead Indians (82-70) by 6 games

A.L. WEST: A's (89-63) lead Rangers (82-69) by 6 1/2 games

  • Angels 5, A's 4 (11 innings): That's two losses in three games for the formerly red-hot A's. But since Texas has also lost two of its last three, all it really means is three more days off the calendar . . . at a time of year when tearing days off the calendar is nearly as important as winning. (AP)

A.L. WILD CARD: Rays and Rangers hold top two spots; Indians (82-70, 1/2 game back), Orioles (81-70, 1 game back), Yankees (80-72, 2 1/2 games back) and Royals (80-72, 2 1/2 games back) in the hunt

  • Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: The Yanks entered the eighth inning trailing 3-0 and were staring into the abyss of five straight losses. But maybe their comeback win will give them some kind of impetus moving forward. Wait, where did I just hear that . . . ? (AP)

N.L. CENTRAL: Cardinals (89-63) lead Pirates (87-65) by 2 games and Reds (87-66) by 2 1/2

  • Cardinals 4, Rockies 3: Great ending: St. Louis closer Edward Mujica struck out Colorado icon Todd Helton -- who announced earlier this week that he'll retire at the end of the season -- with the bases loaded for the final out. Helton said afterward that you "just learn from it and go on." Learn from it? For what? The final 10 days of your career? (AP)

  • Padres 3, Pirates 2: This is the Mark Melancon we all knew and loved last year. Too bad for Pittsburgh he decided to show his face now. (AP)

  • Reds 6, Astros 5 (13 innings): The Reds had to work a lot harder than they figured to finish off the sweep, but, at this stage of the race, style points really don't matter. (AP)

N.L. WILD CARD: Pirates and Reds hold top two spots; Nationals (81-71, 5 1/2 games behind Cincinnati) in the hunt

  • Braves 5, Nationals 2: This may have been the death knell for the Nats' playoff hopes, for this reason: Cincinnati and Pittsburgh play each other six times the rest of the way. Barring a six-game sweep by one of them, Washington won't be able to make up ground on at least one of the teams it has to catch for those six nights. Just makes a difficult task all that much more difficult. (AP)