Red Sox win 10th straight, clinch playoff berth

Red Sox win 10th straight, clinch playoff berth

Boston has clinched its first playoff berth since 2013 thanks to its 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday evening.

The victory gives the Red Sox 91 wins for the season and secures them at least a spot in the American League Wild Card Game, to be played on Tuesday, Oct. 4. If the Blue Jays surpass the Red Sox to win the AL East, Boston's worst-case final win total of 91 would still place the Sox in a Wild Card Game with either Cleveland or Detroit. If the Orioles win the AL East, they will have won three games against the Blue Jays to do so, meaning the Blue Jays would finish with fewer than 91 wins.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bautista's blast extends Blue Jays' WC edge

Bautista's blast extends Blue Jays' WC edge

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista has rediscovered his power stroke, and the Blue Jays will hope to ride it all the way into the postseason.

Bautista came through in a big moment yet again on Saturday with a three-run homer in the eighth inning to give Toronto a 3-0 victory over the Yankees. It was Bautista's second home run in his last three games, after he also hit a tying ninth-inning home run vs. Seattle on Wednesday.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Yankees on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hot-hitting Cards rout Cubs, knot NL WC race

Hot-hitting Cards rout Cubs, knot NL WC race

CHICAGO -- Just when the Cardinals needed a win to keep pace in the National League Wild Card race, it was Alex Reyes' turn to pitch. Stephen Piscotty smacked a solo home run and Yadier Molina drove in four runs to back Reyes and power the Cardinals to a 10-4 victory on Saturday at Wrigley Field over the Cubs and slow their drive for 100 wins.

"They're a really good hitting ballclub," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the Cardinals, who evened the season series at nine wins apiece with one game remaining. "They're very good offensively. They have a lot of veterans on the team. They're very formidable."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

HRs back Miley's gem to put O's into 2nd WC

HRs back Miley's gem to put O's into 2nd WC

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' offense is officially back on track.

The Orioles came out swinging to back Wade Miley's gem in a 6-1 win over the D-backs on Saturday, vaulting Baltimore into the American League's second Wild Card. Trey Mancini hit his third career homer and Mark Trumbo hit his MLB-leading 45th home run for the Orioles, who lead the Tigers by one-half game for the second Wild Card.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vote: Young talent up for Best Rookie Award

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Vote: Young talent up for Best Rookie Award

Voting is underway through Nov. 11 at MLB.com/awards to help decide who wins Best Rookie regardless of league affiliation, and all five of your candidates are currently playing key roles in pennant races: Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer, Indians center fielder Tyler Naquin, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Nationals center fielder Trea Turner.

The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters and fans like you at MLB.com.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

KC's 5-run 9th drops Tigers from WC position

KC's 5-run 9th drops Tigers from WC position

DETROIT -- What looked like another step in the Tigers' charge toward the American League playoffs became a potentially costly stumble in the ninth, courtesy of a Royals rally reminiscent of last year. Eric Hosmer's go-ahead three-run homer punctuated a five-run ninth off Francisco Rodriguez, propelling Kansas City to a 7-4 win Saturday in front of a stunned Comerica Park crowd.

The loss ended Detroit's five-game winning streak and dropped the Tigers out of playoff position, with the Orioles beating the D-backs at night to take sole possession of the second AL Wild Card spot. With the Blue Jays' 3-0 win over the Yankees, the Tigers are two games out of the first AL Wild Card.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Justice: Scully happy to ride into sunset

Justice: Scully happy to ride into sunset

LOS ANGELES -- Regrets? He has none. In the end, it couldn't be simpler than that. Vin Scully said he's prepared to go happily into the next chapter of his life.

"The Lord has blessed me," he said Saturday afternoon. "He gave me this job at such a youthful age and allowed me to live and do it 67 years. What am I going to say? `Darn it, why didn't I get No. 68?' I'm totally at ease. I'm so thankful."

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Syndergaard feels better, may start vs. Miami

Right-hander throws bullpen session after bout with strep throat

Syndergaard feels better, may start vs. Miami

NEW YORK -- Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard reported to Citi Field on Saturday feeling well enough to throw a bullpen session for the first time since falling ill earlier in the week. The club will wait to see how Syndergaard responds to his session, but it has penciled him in to start Monday or Tuesday in Miami.

"He feels a lot better today," manager Terry Collins said of Syndergaard, who is recovering from strep throat. "He's got some energy back. But I think after the 'pen, we'll see how he feels, if it wears him down real fast or not. If you were as sick as he was for a couple days, he might need the extra day. He may not."

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beltre gives fake signs from Texas dugout

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Beltre gives fake signs from Texas dugout

With Friday night's 3-0 win over the A's, the Rangers officially clinched the American League West crown for the second year in a row. Goggles were worn. Gatorade was spilled. There was much rejoicing.

After such a late night and with the postseason looming, Texas understandably gave some regulars the day off on Saturday afternoon -- regulars like Adrian Beltre. But if we know anything about Beltre, it's that he's the ultimate competitor. He's not built to simply sit back and relax while his teammates play. He wants to help in any way he can. And while he may not be out on the field, he can still put himself to good use -- like, say, by helping out with defensive alignments.

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Hill scratched; McCarthy to start on Sunday

Hill scratched; McCarthy to start on Sunday

LOS ANGELES -- Previously scheduled to pitch on Sunday in the Dodgers' final home game of the regular season, Rich Hill will instead have to wait until the final series of the season at San Francisco. Brandon McCarthy will start in his place, returning from a month-long stint on the disabled list with right hip stiffness.

The Dodgers chose to scratch Hill due to continued concerns about a blister that forced him to miss a month earlier in the season and more recently ended a perfect game in the making after seven innings on Sept. 11. With the National League West nearly in hand, the Dodgers' priority is to now make sure HIll is ready to give them as many innings as they need in the playoffs.

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Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

2016 tiebreaker scenarios

As the 2016 season winds down the six divisions are pretty much decided. However, the two Wild Card races are completely up in the air, and there is a good chance we end up seeing at least one tiebreaker game played on Monday, Oct. 3.

With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the likeliest tiebreaker scenarios for the American and National League Wild Cards.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Farrell 'not ruling out' 2016 return for Panda

Third baseman ahead of schedule in rehab from shoulder surgery

Farrell 'not ruling out' 2016 return for Panda

ST. PETERSBURG -- It's been an accepted reality that Pablo Sandoval, injured after six at-bats this season, would not be returning at all this year. His return was always spoken about in the context of 2017 -- the rehab for surgery on his left shoulder required it.

That was until manager John Farrell harmlessly and almost deceptively hinted that an October return could be in the cards, if the right situation presented itself. Sandoval was with the Red Sox in Tampa Bay for a temporary check-in, but it could become more permanent down the line.

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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mancini makes history with 3rd career HR

Rookie becomes 3rd player with homers in each of first 3 starts

Mancini makes history with 3rd career HR

BALTIMORE -- Orioles rookie Trey Mancini is making quite the name for himself in a short period of time.

Mancini, promoted to Baltimore on Sunday, became just the third player in Major League Baseball history to homer in each of his first three starts with Saturday night's solo blast in a 6-1 win over the D-backs.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins snap skid, slow Seattle's Wild Card chase

Twins snap skid, slow Seattle's Wild Card chase

MINNEAPOLIS -- Other than a prodigious blast by Nelson Cruz, right-hander Tyler Duffey shut down the Mariners for seven innings Saturday as the Twins snapped a seven-game losing streak and dented Seattle's Wild Card pursuits with a 3-2 victory at Target Field.

Duffey held the Mariners to four hits and two runs, both coming on a Cruz blast projected at 493 feet by Statcast™, the second-longest in the Majors this year. Duffey (9-11, 6.18 ERA) had been 0-3 with an 11.15 ERA his previous four starts, but he shut down the Mariners and helped stave off the Twins' 100th loss of the season as they improved to 56-99.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox win 10th straight, clinch playoff berth

Red Sox win 10th straight, clinch playoff berth

ST. PETERSBURG -- Danny Farquhar was one strike away from getting out of a bases-loaded jam. Dustin Pedroia was one walk, bloop, or blast away from bringing in a run to tie it, and maybe getting the Red Sox the lead.

On a 2-2 count, he crushed one over the wall -- a blast that turned a one-run deficit into a three-run lead, and clinched a postseason berth for the Red Sox. It was all the scoring Boston would need in a 6-4 win over Tampa Bay.

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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Red Sox on Saturday.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vin Scully revealed the drink order he made sure to learn in Japanese

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Vin Scully revealed the drink order he made sure to learn in Japanese

Of course Vin Scully speaks a little Japanese. In fact, if you were to ask me, I'd assume that Scully was fluent in every major language, could read some of the smaller ones and even knew a bit about some dead languages. 

At a news conference before the Dodgers' game against the Rockies on Saturday, Scully revealed that not only did he start learning some Japanese all the way back in 1956, but he made sure to know one very specific phrase for "Scotch and water and a lot of ice." 

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Jose's start pushed back to Monday vs. Mets

Conley to come off DL and pitch Sunday vs. Braves

Jose's start pushed back to Monday vs. Mets

MIAMI -- It wasn't known for sure if Jose Fernandez would start another game this season for the Marlins. But he took batting practice prior to Saturday's game as if his season wasn't over just yet.

Fernandez's 30th start of 2016 was pushed back a day, from Sunday's series finale with the Braves, to Monday's series opener against the Mets at Marlins Park, the club announced during BP.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers blank A's, move closer to home field

Rangers blank A's, move closer to home field

OAKLAND -- The Rangers went with a makeshift lineup on Saturday, the day after clinching the American League West title, but not every regular could get the afternoon off.

The Rangers only have so many players on the bench, so Elvis Andrus had to play. He ended up having a day to remember as he hit two home runs in a game for the first time in his career in a 5-0 victory over the Athletics at the Coliseum. The victory left the Rangers 92-63, the best record in the American League.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area and covered the A's on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Swollen thumb causes setback for Holliday

Swollen thumb causes setback for Holliday

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday has hit another snag in his push to return for the final week of the regular season, as his surgically repaired right thumb is once again swollen and sore one day after testing it against live pitching.

That means the Cardinals will scrap plans to have Holliday go through the live batting practice simulation again on Sunday and instead wait to see what comes of the left fielder's scheduled visit with a hand specialist on Monday. If the specialist confirms that the thumb is structurally sound, then Holliday's return will be predicated primarily on pain tolerance.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon thrilled with possibility of 100-win season

Strop returns to bullpen; Cubs set rotation to begin seven-game road trip

Maddon thrilled with possibility of 100-win season

CHICAGO -- The Cubs secured home-field advantage through the National League Championship Series after the Pirates' walk-off win over the Nationals on Friday night. Manager Joe Maddon watched the end of that game.

"It's one of our goals," Maddon said Saturday. "The other one is to get 100 wins."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman extends hit streak to 28 on RBI single

Freeman extends hit streak to 28 on RBI single

MIAMI -- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended the longest active hitting streak in the Majors to 28 games when he produced an RBI single off Wei-Yen Chen during the first inning of Saturday's game against the Marlins.

Freeman's 28-game streak is the second-longest recorded in the Majors this year. Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley recorded a 29-game stretch from April 24-May 25.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giles struck on wrist by line drive in BP

Astros' closer out with contusion after X-ray results

HOUSTON -- Astros closer Ken Giles was unavailable to pitch Saturday after being struck on the right wrist by a line drive during batting practice prior to a game against the Angels. He was diagnosed with a right wrist contusion after X-rays came up negative, the team said.

Giles was on the ground for several minutes along the right-field line before being carted off the field. Hinch said moments after Giles was struck he was already starting to bruise and was in pain. The injury comes one day after Giles blew a save against the Angels in a 10-6 loss to that damaged Houston's postseason hopes.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Greinke unlikely to pitch again this season

MRI on stiff right shoulder showed no structural damage

Greinke unlikely to pitch again this season

BALTIMORE -- Zack Greinke's first season with the D-backs is likely over.

After undergoing an MRI on his right shoulder in Phoenix on Friday, it was decided Greinke would not make his next scheduled start on Tuesday in Washington. Before Saturday's game against the Orioles, Arizona manager Chip Hale said it is highly probable Greinke won't start again before the season ends on Oct. 2.

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Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ventura day to day with tight lower back

Yost expects Royals righty to make final '16 start

Ventura day to day with tight lower back

DETROIT -- Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura left Saturday's 7-4 win over the Tigers after facing one hitter in the fifth inning because of what the Royals indicated was lower back tightness and spasms.

Royals manager Ned Yost said after the game that he didn't believe the injury was serious, and that he expected Ventura to make his final start of the season next weekend at Kauffman Stadium.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Simmons dealing with right forearm discomfort

Braves uncertain whether reliever will pitch again this season

Simmons dealing with right forearm discomfort

MIAMI -- A little more than three weeks after returning to the big leagues for the first time in more than two years, Braves right-handed reliever Shae Simmons is dealing with yet another arm ailment.

As things currently stand, the Braves say they are not overly concerned about the right forearm discomfort that has prevented Simmons from pitching since last Sunday. But this kind of injury can often prove to be troubling for a pitcher, especially one who is 19 months removed from Tommy John surgery.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

During a dugout interview, Adam Wainwright revealed he is Godzilla

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During a dugout interview, Adam Wainwright revealed he is Godzilla

Adam Wainwright gave an in-game interview from the Cardinals' dugout during their 10-4 win over the Cubs in which he talked about his teammate Alex Reyes on the mound and then, nearing the end, revealed that he is not only the Cardinals' ace but also the giant lizard monster Godzilla.

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This young fan played hero as he protected his seatmate with some smooth glovework

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This young fan played hero as he protected his seatmate with some smooth glovework

What makes a hero? Is it a cape? A utility belt? An incredibly complex and depressing origin story? 

No, it is the willingness to leap into the fray -- to see danger and act without thinking. That's what this young fan did during the Blue Jays' 3-0 victory over the Yankees on Saturday afternoon. When Edwin Encarnacion hit a foul grounder down the third-base line, one gloveless woman covered her head and prepared for impact. 

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Rangers hoping Choo, Barnette, Jeffress return soon

Rangers hoping Choo, Barnette, Jeffress return soon

OAKLAND -- The Rangers have clinched the division title, but they still have plenty to do in the final eight games. At the top of the list is finishing with the best record in the American League and having home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

"Home-field advantage is priority one," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "That is significant."

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Improving Gausman hoping to start Tuesday

Orioles' right-hander dealing with intercostal injury

Improving Gausman hoping to start Tuesday

BALTIMORE-- Kevin Gausman's intercostal injury is improving and Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that if the right-hander feels good on Sunday, he will get the start in Toronto on Tuesday.

Gausman, who's come on strong late in the season to be one of the team's most consistent starters, has a 2.16 ERA over his last five starts and is 8-11 with a 3.57 ERA this season.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.