Now that the baseball pennant races are heading into the home stretch, we'll be here each weekday with a wrapup of the previous night's action. Here's what happened on Monday night, September 9:
A.L. EAST: Red Sox (87-58) lead Rays (78-64) by 7 1/2 games
- It's do or die for Tampa Bay, starting tonight. (AP)
A.L. WEST: A's (83-60) lead Rangers (81-62) by 2 games
- Pirates 1, Rangers 0: The main focus was on Pittsburgh -- more on that below -- but lifting Yu Darvish after only 81 pitches rings some warning bells, even though Ron Washington insists he has "[no] level of concern." We'll take your word for it, Ron . . . for now.
A.L. WILD CARD: Rangers and Rays hold top two spots; Indians (77-66, 1 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay), Orioles (77-66, 1 1/2 games back), Yankees (76-68, 3 games back) and Royals (75-69, 4 games back) in the hunt
- Orioles 4, Yankees 2: It's getting late early for the team we all love to hate. (AP)
- Indians 4, Royals 3: How do they do it? No Justin Masterson, a closer who often -- like last night -- summons memories of Heathcliff Slocumb, and yet they keep winning. And with the creampuff schedule they've got the rest of the way, we could very well be seeing Tito and his boys at Fenway in October. What were the odds of that in April? (AP)
N.L. CENTRAL/WILD CARD: Cardinals (83-60) lead Pirates (82-61) by 1 game and Reds (82-63) by 2
- Pirates 1, Rangers 0: Back to the Bucs, who clinched their first winning season since 1992. For their part, the players -- none of whom (obviously) can relate to a generation of fan suffering -- don't really know why everyone's so pumped and jacked about Victory No. 82.
- Cubs 2, Reds 0: You sweep the Dodgers, then lose to the Cubs at home? That's not exactly maintaining focus at a crucial point of the season. (AP)