Updated Scores and Standings from MLB Playoff Race
Less than 10 games remain in the fight to make one of the five spots on either side of the MLB playoff bracket, and as the 2012 season winds down, the races only seem to be getting tighter.
The AL West is anything but wrapped up, and the AL Central and East have had that "down-to-the-wire" feel since about mid-August.
In the National League, the Washington Nationals, San Fransisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves have all punched their playoff tickets in style, but the final wild-card spot and NL West matchups are some of the hottest we've seen over the past few years.
Here's a look at all the action from Thursday's slate. Keep checking back for updated scores, game recaps and what it all means for the playoff picture, up until the final pitch is thrown later tonight.
Detroit Tigers 5, Kansas City Royals 4 - F
Doug Fister put on a record-breaking performance for the suddenly hot Tigers, who control their own destiny at this point. The Tigers are getting hot at the right time, and with a lethal pitching staff and possible AL MVP in Miguel Cabrera, does anyone want to face this team in October?
Texas Rangers 9, Oakland A's 7 - F
The Rangers faced an eighth-inning scare from the A's, who were able to ding Mike Adams for three home runs before their rally fell short in Texas. The two AL West rivals split the series, pushing the Rangers' lead in the division to an even four games ahead with only six games remaining for both squads.
Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli both homered for Texas, while Oakland has to be happy with a road split with the Rangers. It was a huge win for Texas, as it keeps the pressure on Oakland to win out to take the division. Matt Harrison won his 18th game for the Rangers.
Seattle Mariners 9, Los Angeles Angels 4 - F
The Angels desperately needed a win against the Mariners, which would have pulled them to within one game of the Athletics for the final wild-card spot.
Unfortunately for the Halos, their bullpen gave up the majority of the runs in the game, and the Angels now find themselves six games behind the division pace and another two games out of the wild-card race. After Oakland lost to the Rangers, it was a huge chance for the Angels to close the gap and keep the pressure on the A's. They'll have to fight to survive and virtually have no shot at the division.
New York Yankees 0, Toronto Blue Jays 6 - F
New York was blanked by Brendan Morrow on Thursday night, losing to the Blue Jays while the Orioles were off. It cuts the lead in the AL East to one game heading into the final six games of the 2012 regular season.
The Bombers certainly have some holes in their pitching staff and lineup, but have a week to get guys like A-Rod and Curtis Granderson going before turning it over to CC Sabathia and the pitching staff for what seems to be an uphill battle toward the World Series.
Tampa Bay Rays 3, Chicago White Sox 2 - F
Both teams are still in the playoff hunt, and after Detroit was able to knock off the Royals earlier in the day, it's crucial that Chicago gets a victory. It has no shot at a wild-card spot and would need to win the division to get to October.
The Sox weren't able to capitalize on the situation at hand, and fell to the Rays. It helps vault the Rays into a two game deficit for the wild card spot, within striking distance of the both the Orioles and the A's.
Baltimore Orioles - Off
Baltimore opens up a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
American League Standings
|Los Angeles Angels||86||70||.551||6.0|
|Chicago White Sox||82||74||.526||2.0|
|New York Yankees||90||66||.577||--|
|Tampa Bay Rays||86||70||.551||4.0|
AL Wild Card
|Los Angeles Angels||86||70||.551||2.0|
|Tampa Bay Rays||86||70||.551||2.0|
|Chicago White Sox||82||76||.526||6.0|
Cincinnati Reds 2, Milwaukee Brewers 1
The already-clinched Reds dealt the Brewers a loss they couldn't afford, dropping them to four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild-card spot.
The Brewers were once again unable to win a game late, and John Axford suffered his eighth loss of the season in what will surely be a point of emphasis in the upcoming offseason.
Arizona Diamondbacks 3, San Fransisco Giants 7 - F
The Giants jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and that was all they would need in what was likely Arizona's last stand towards reaching the playoffs. The comeback fell short today, as did the season for the D'Backs. The division is wrapped up and they are now mathematically eliminated with another loss or Cardinals win.
Atlanta Braves 6, Miami Marlins 2 - F
Atlanta sent Tommy Hanson to the mound and he delivered, cashing in on his 13th victory and helping the Braves win, although the Nationals' win all but ensured that the Braves will hold the top wild-card spot, not the NL East title they crave.
Washington Nationals 7, Philadelphia Phillies 3 - F
Washington has a firm grip on its division, while the Phillies are in the same position as the Brewers, gasping for air in a very murky wild-card mess.
A win for the Nats almost assures their place as NL East champs and also eliminates the Phillies from any late-season comeback attempts, although they haven't been eliminated just yet. Gio Gonzalez won his MLB-best 21st game, further pushing towards an NL Cy Young for the team with the best record in the game.
L.A. Dodgers at San Diego Padres - 10:05 p.m. ET
The Dodgers are clinging to life in the wild-card competition, having already been eliminated from the division picture. The Padres have been playing good baseball down the stretch, but L.A. will send Chris Capuano to the mound to try to make its big midseason trade count in year one.
St. Louis Cardinals - Off
National League Standings
NL Wild Card
|St. Louis Cardinals||84||72||.538||--|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||80||75||.516||3.5|
|Philadelphia Phillies ||78||78||.500||6.0|
|Arizona Diamondbacks ||78||78||.500||6.0|
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