Latest Scores and Standings as the MLB Playoff Race Heats Up

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 30, 2012

Time is ticking on the MLB regular season, and there are still plenty of teams jostling to enter the postseason.

While several teams are still battling for playoff berths, three teams officially punched their tickets Sunday night, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly:

Rangers, Orioles and Yankees are now all in postseason.

— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) October 1, 2012

That's nothing for a stalwart franchise like the Yankees, or for a Rangers team coming off two consecutive World Series appearances, but it means a lot for Baltimore. The Orioles have not played in October since 1997.

Take a look at the standings and playoff pictures in each league following Sunday's action.

Los Angeles Angels 5, Texas Rangers 4 - Final

The A.L. West is tightening up. Torii Hunter is making sure of that.

In the first of a doubleheader, the Angels held off the Rangers 5-4 after Hunter delivered two RBI in the top of the ninth to give his team the lead. Ernesto Frieri worked a perfect ninth to earn the save. 

The win helped the Angels close the gap on the division-leading Rangers to four games. 

Rangers 92-66 (first in A.L. West)

Angels 88-78 (third in A.L. West , third in A.L. wild card)

Texas 8, Los Angeles Angels 7 - Final

Derrick Holland won his 12th game of the season, despite allowing seven runs in 6.2 innings. It was a rough outing, but punching his team's ticket to the postseason makes it much sweeter.

Texas' offense was led by Mike Napoli's six RBI, including two home runs. The Angles tried to get back in the seventh inning with a three-run homer by Kendrys Morales, but it wasn't quite enough.

Rangers: 93-66 (first in AL West)

Angels: 88-71 (third in AL West, third in AL wild card)

New York Yankees 9, Toronto Blue Jays 6 - Final

Phil Hughes allowed two runs in the first and three more in the fifth, and he was done for the day after 4.2 innings. 

The bullpen went on lockdown by allowing just one run the rest of the way, and the Yankees offense did the rest to help New York keep its tie atop the division. 

Yankees 92-67 (tied for first in A.L. East and wild card)

Baltimore Orioles 6, Boston Red Sox 3 - Final

The Orioles exploded for three runs in the first inning off of Red Sox starter Zach Stewart. They chased him out of the game after 2.2 innings and five earned runs. 

That would prove to be more runs than the Orioles needed. Starter Joe Saunders earned the win after going 7.1 and allowing three earned runs. 

Orioles 92-67 (tied for first in A.L. East and wild card)

Atlanta Braves 6, New York Mets 2 - Final

The Atlanta Braves and starter Kris Medlen set a major-league record in this game when they won for the 23rd straight time in a game started by Medlen. 

This set up a celebratory atmosphere in Atlanta as Braves fans watched their team for the last time in the regular season. 

The Braves, of course, will be back for the playoffs. 

Braves 93-66 (have clinched an N.L. wild-card spot, second in N.L. East)

Tampa Bay Rays 6 at Chicago White Sox 2 - Final

Tampa Bay kept its hot streak going, and the White Sox continued their slide.

Tampa has won 10 out of its last 11. Chicago has lost 10 of its last 12, and both of these teams are going to need minor miracles to get into the playoffs.

The Rays scored two in the first inning, and this game didn't spend a lot of time being close. 

David Price picked up the win for Tampa, going seven innings and allowing just two runs. 

Rays 88-71 (third in A.L. East, fourth in A.L. wild card)

White Sox 83-76 (second in A.L. East, fifth in A.L. wild card)

Houston Astros 7, Milwaukee Brewers 0 - Final

The Miwaukee Brewers' postseason dreams were crushed by the Houston Astros on Sunday. The Brewers, who entered this game having won 27 out of their last 38, were easily handled in this one, as they mustered only four hits. 

They are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. 

Brewers 81-78 (out of playoff contention)

Detroit Tigers 2, Minnesota Twins 1 - Final

Liam Hendriks shut out the Tigers for seven innings. He gave way to Jared Burton in the eighth, who promptly gave two runs, the second of which was the go-ahead run. 

Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez went 6.1 innings, allowing one run, and the bullpen closed the door on the Twins.

The Tigers have now won six of their last seven games. 

Tigers 86-73 (first in A.L. Central)

St. Louis Cardinals 10, Washington Nationals 4 - Final

Carlos Beltran jacked two home runs as the Cardinals easily took down the Nationals. 

This game has big playoff implications. The Nationals' loss keeps the Braves alive in the N.L. East race, and Washington is now tied with the Reds for the best record in the National League. 

Meanwhile, the win brings St. Louis a step closer to securing the final wild-card spot in the National League. With the Dodgers still to play, the Cardinals hold a 2.5-game lead. 

Cardinals 86-73 (second in N.L. wild card)

Nationals 96-63 (first in N.L. East)

Oakland Athletics 5, Seattle Mariners 2 - Final

The Oakland Athletics plated three runs in the bottom of the eighth to break a a two-run tie. Grant Balfour came onto pitch a perfect ninth and seal the pivotal win for the A's. 

The Rangers lost the first of their two games on Sunday. So this win pulls the A's to within 1.5 games of the A.L. West lead. If Texas loses its second game, it will wake up tomorrow just a game behind. 

The wild ride keeps on rolling!

Athletics 91-68 (second in A.L. West, second in A.L. wild card)

Los Angeles Dodgers 7, Colorado Rockies 1 - Final

Josh Backett came through for the Dodgers picking up the win with six innings of one-run ball. Matt Kemp led the Dodgers' offense by going 2-for-3 with two RBI. 

The Dodgers desperately needed this win, especially considering the Cardinals also won. L.A. remains two-games back in the hunt for the second wild-card spot. 

Dodgers 84-75 (third in N.L. wild card)

American League Standings

AL West

Texas Rangers 93 66 .585 --
Oakland Athletics 91 68 .572 2.0
Los Angeles Angels 88 71 .553 5.0

AL Central

Detroit Tigers 86 73 .541 --
Chicago White Sox 83 76 .522 3

AL East

New York Yankees 92 67 .579 --
Baltimore Orioles 92 67 .579 --
Tampa Bay Rays 88 71 .553 4.0

AL Wild Card

Baltimore Orioles 92 67 .579 --
New York Yankees 92 67 .579 --
Oakland Athletics 91 68 .572 --
Los Angeles Angels 88 71 .553 3.0
Tampa Bay Rays 88 71 .553 3.0
Chicago White Sox 83 76 .522


National League Standings

NL East

Washington Nationals 96 63 .604 --
Atlanta Braves 93 66 .585 3

NL Wild Card

Atlanta Braves 93 66 .585 --
St. Louis Cardinals 86 73 .541 --
Los Angeles Dodgers 84 75 .528 2.0
Milwaukee Brewers 81 77 .513 4.0


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