American League postseason picture becomes clear

All five American League (AL) postseason teams were decided on Monday, with the Oakland Athletics returning to play extra baseball for the fourth time in the last seven years.

Oakland still have a chance to pass the Houston Astros for the AL West title, but it is a slim chance. The Athletics are still in the hunt to surpass the Yankees for home-field advantage in the wildcard game, but it looks like they will be headed to New York for the single-elimination postseason game.

With the Astros, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians all already clinched in the postseason, Boston still managed to make headlines with a 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox secured the top overall seed in the AL and also set a franchise record with their 106th win of the season.

The Tampa Bay Rays (87-69) had made a spirited run to get back into postseason contention after the All-Star break, despite selling a couple of high-profile assets, but they were eliminated on Monday.

While the postseason picture may be rounding into shape, the American League could have two tough individual races with the MVP and Cy Young awards both wide open.

CLASSY KLUBER

Indians ace Corey Kluber improved to 20-7 this season by tossing seven shut-out innings with 11 strikeouts in a 4-0 win over the White Sox. Kluber allowed just four hits and one walk while becoming the first Indians pitcher to win 20 games since Cliff Lee in 2008.

Nationals star Bryce Harper had just one hit and one RBI in a 7-3 win over the Marlins, but the run driven in gave him 100 this season. It is the first time in his career he reached 100 RBIs in a season.

 

CARDINALS FALL

Fighting for their postseason lives after the Rockies smashed the Phillies, St Louis allowed Milwaukee to score runs in the seventh and eighth innings to lose 6-4 to the Brewers. Eric Thames tripled with one out off Bud Norris in the eighth inning and Mike Moustakas was intentionally walked. Norris then threw wild on a pick-off attempt to first base and Thames scored the go-ahead run.

 

HAMELS HOMERS

Cole Hamels helped out his cause.

MONDAY'S RESULTS

Washington Nationals 7-3 Miami Marlins
Houston Astros 5-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox 6-2 Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees 4-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians 4-0 Chicago White Sox
Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 St Louis Cardinals
Colorado Rockies 10-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels 5-4 Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics 7-3 Seattle Mariners
San Diego Padres 5-0 San Francisco Giants

 

BREWERS AT CARDINALS

Two teams fighting for different goals. Milwaukee still have their sights set on usurping the Cubs atop the National League (NL) Central. The Cardinals are in a tight race with the Rockies for the final wildcard spot. Gio Gonzalez (9-11, 4.28 ERA) will face off against St Louis starter Austin Gomber (6-1, 3.63 ERA).

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