The baseball pennant races are approaching the wire and we'll be here each day with a wrapup of the previous day's action. Here's what happened on Friday, September 27:
RACE FOR BEST RECORD IN A.L.: Red Sox (97-63) lead A's (95-65) by 2 games
- Red Sox 12, Orioles 3: Clay Buchholz moves to 12-1, David Ortiz reaches the 30-HR/100-RBI plateau, and the Sox now need just one more win to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. (CSNNE.com) And we won't have to listen to Bobby V. during the postseason. (NBC's Hardball Talk) Does life get any better than this?
- A's 8, Mariners 2: This is what a manager says when his team clinches home-field advantage, as Oakland did for the ALDS no matter who it plays: "That's key. That's something we were really looking and hoping to do . . . We know we're going to be home for a week, and that's a good thing." -- Bob Melvin, A's. (AP)
- Marlins 3, Tigers 2: And this is what a manager says when his team loses and knows it will be forced to go on the road for Games 1, 2 and, potentially, 5 in the ALDS no matter who it plays: "You can't win a division title if you can't win on the road. I've always been proud to take my team on the road. I think sometimes -- to be honest -- the pressure is on the home team more." -- Jim Leyland, Tigers (AP)
A.L. WILD CARD: Rays (90-70) and Indians (90-70) hold top two spots; Rangers (89-71) 1 game behind
- Blue Jays 6, Rays 3: A season-high three errors, including two by two-time Gold Glove winner Evan Longoria? In a race this close? Collars getting a little tight there, boys? (AP)
- Indians 12, Twins 6: With eight straight wins, and 13 victories in their last 15 games, no one can say Tito's boys haven't taken advantage of the creampuff September schedule handed them by the Baseball Gods. Or maybe it was just the MLB scheduler. (AP)
- Rangers 5, Angels 3: And this is what a manager says when his team is on the outside looking in with two games left: "There is where we want to be . . . still in the hunt." -- Ron Washington, Rangers (AP)
If two teams end up tied 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 two teams finish tied for the second wild-card spot . . .
- The playoff game would be on Monday, and the matchups would be: Cleveland at Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay at Texas, or Texas at Cleveland.
- The winner would play the No. 1 wild card team 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.
And that three-way tie is what I'm hoping for.
RACE FOR BEST RECORD IN N.L.: Braves (95-65) and Cardinals (95-65) tied
- Braves 1, Phillies 0: As we noted yesterday, all Atlanta has to do is tie St. Louis because it has the tiebreaker edge over the Cardinals. And the Braves held serve again. (AP)
- Cardinals 7, Cubs 0: The Cardinals can take solace in their first N.L. Central title since 2009. (AP)
N.L. WILD CARD: Pirates (92-68) lead Reds (90-70) by 2 games
- Pirates 4, Reds 1: They're playing this weekend to see who hosts Tuesday's play-in game, and Pittsburgh is one win away from bringing it home. (AP)