Day at the Races: Sept. 19

Day at the Races: Sept. 19

The Road to October, starring hope and Crosby, was quite a hit Monday night.

The Cleveland Indians rolled to their sixth consecutive win as they bid to ruin Chicago's hopes in the AL Central race. Bubba Crosby's walk-off home run helped the Yankees keep pace with the Indians in the Wild Card race and also moved the Bronx Bombers to within a half-game of Boston in the AL East race.

Over in the National League, Houston's hopes took a hit when seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens was beaten 7-0 by Pittsburgh, while out in Colorado Khalil Greene's ninth-inning home run propelled the Padres to an 8-7 victory.

Minnesota's three-year reign as defending American League Central champs officially came to an end when the Twins were mathematically eliminated from the division race with a loss at Oakland. The Twins' elimination number from the Wild Card race was trimmed to two.

If the season ended today:
American League Division Series 1:
Angels at White Sox, starting Oct. 4
American League Division Series 2:
Indians at Red Sox, starting Oct. 4
National League Division Series 1:
Padres at Cardinals, starting Oct. 4-5
National League Division Series 2:
Astros at Braves, starting Oct. 4-5

AL WILD CARD
Cleveland Indians (88-62), 1 1/2 game ahead
Monday: The Indians blew a 4-0 lead before rallying for a 7-5 victory on Aaron Boone's two-run single. Bob Wickman got Paul Konerko to pop up to center field with two on and two out in the ninth to give the Indians their 24th win in their last 30 games.

Tuesday: Jake Westbrook goes for his 16th win against Chicago's 15-game winner Mark Buehrle.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-21 at Chicago White Sox; Sept. 22-25 at Kansas City; Sept. 27-29 vs. Tampa Bay; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 vs. Chicago White Sox

New York Yankees (86-63)
Monday: Crosby's walk-off homer off Baltimore's Eric Dubose lifted the Yankees to a come-from-behind victory over the Orioles. The win enabled New York to pick up a game on Boston in the AL East race and stay within a game and a half of Cleveland in the Wild Card Race.

Tuesday: Aaron Small's remarkable run will be put to the test again as the 9-0 right-hander takes on John Maine and Baltimore in game two of the three-game series.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-22 vs. Baltimore; Sept. 23-25 vs. Toronto; Sept. 26-29 at Baltimore; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Boston

Oakland Athletics (83-67)
Monday: Nick Swisher homered and Barry Zito pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings as the A's held off the Twins, 7-6. The win moved Oakland to within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Angels in the AL West. The A's remain five behind Cleveland in the Wild Card standings.

Tuesday: Joe Blanton, who has allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 starts and outpitched Boston's Curt Schilling his last time out, will start against Minnesota's Francisco Liriano in game two of the series.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-21 vs. Minnesota; Sept. 23-25 vs. Texas; Sept. 26-29 vs. LA Angels of Anaheim; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Seattle.

AL EAST
Boston Red Sox (87-63), first place, half-game ahead
Monday: An 8-7 loss to the Devil Rays, combined with the Yankees' win, reduced Boston's lead in the American League East to a half-game, a scant margin the race hadn't seen since July 20. The Red Sox and Yankees are now even in the loss column with 63 apiece.

Tuesday: Whether Boston can hold on to first place will depend in part on whether Curt Schilling can figure out the Devil Rays. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 6.16 ERA in seven appearances against Tampa Bay this season. Seth McClung gets the start for Tampa Bay.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-21: at Tampa Bay; Sept. 23-25: at Baltimore; Sept. 26-29: vs. Toronto; Sept. 30-Oct. 2: vs. New York Yankees

AL CENTRAL
Chicago White Sox (90-59), first place, 2 1/2 games ahead
Monday: The Sox erased a 4-0 Cleveland lead and led 5-4 in the seventh on a Carl Everett homer, but couldn't hold the Indians off and wound up losing 7-5. Chicago's lead in the division race, 15 games as recently as Aug. 1, is down to 2 1/2 games.

Tuesday: A pair of 15-game winners, Cleveland's Jake Westbrook and Chicago's Mark Buehrle, hook up in game two of the series. Buehrle has lost four of his last six decisions.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-21 vs. Cleveland; Sept. 22-25 vs. Minnesota; Sept. 26-29 at Detroit; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Cleveland

AL WEST
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (84-65), first place, 1 1/2 games ahead
Monday: The Angels had the day off and will resume play on Tuesday when they begin a three-game series at home against the Texas Rangers.

Tuesday: This game has playoff and Cy Young Award implications as the Angels send 19-game winner Bartolo Colon to the mound against Texas and right-hander Juan Dominguez.

Remaining games (13): Sept. 20-22 vs. Texas; Sept. 23-25 vs. Tampa Bay; Sept. 26-29 at Oakland; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Texas

NL WILD CARD
Houston Astros (81-69), 1 game ahead
Monday: Ian Snell and Jose Mesa combined on a four-hit shutout as Pittsburgh beat Roger Clemens and the Astros 7-0 at PNC Park. Clemens gave up four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings -- the Rocket's shortest outing since May 24 -- as his Major League-leading ERA climbed to 1.89. The Astros squandered an opportunity to pick up a half-game on the three teams closest to them in the Wild Card race as Philadelphia, Florida and Washington were all idle.

Tuesday: Andy Pettitte, winner of six consecutive starts, goes after win No. 17 against rookie lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who will be making his Major League debut.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-22 at Pittsburgh; Sept. 23-25 at Chicago Cubs; Sept. 27-28 at St. Louis; Sept. 29-Oct. 2 vs. Chicago Cubs

Philadelphia Phillies (80-70)
Monday: The Phillies were off and will continue their nine-game road trip on Tuesday at Atlanta.

Tuesday: Corey Lidle, 4-0 lifetime vs. Atlanta including 2-0 this season, goes for the hat trick when the Phillies meet Jorge Sosa and the Braves at Turner Field.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-22 at Atlanta; Sept. 23-25 at Cincinnati; Sept. 26-28 vs. New York Mets; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Washington

Florida Marlins (79-71)
Monday: The Marlins had the day off and will begin their final road trip of the season on Tuesday at Shea Stadium.

Tuesday: A.J. Burnett will attempt to stop a personal five-game losing streak as the Marlins face Kris Benson and the New York Mets.

Remaining games (13): Sept. 20-22 at New York Mets; Sept. 23-25 at Atlanta; Sept. 26-29 vs. Washington; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 vs. Atlanta

Washington Nationals (77-73)
Monday: The Nationals were idle Monday and will begin a three-game series against San Francisco at home Tuesday.

Tuesday: Livan Hernandez is gunning for his 16th win as the Nationals try to make up ground in the Wild Card race against San Francisco and 20-year-old right-hander Matt Cain.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-22 vs. Giants; Sept. 23-25 vs. New York Mets; Sept. 26-28 at Florida; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 vs. Philadelphia

NL EAST
Atlanta Braves (85-65) first place, 5 games ahead
Monday: The Braves were off Monday and will try to whittle their Magic Number of eight even further this week when play resumes Tuesday.

Tuesday: Jorge Sosa gets the start for the Braves, who have 13 of the 17 games he's started. Sosa is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in September. He'll be opposed by Philadelphia's Corey Lidle, who has never lost to the Braves.

Remaining games (12): Sept. 20-22 vs. Philadelphia; Sept. 23-25 vs. Florida; Sept. 26-28 vs. Colorado; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Florida

NL WEST
San Diego Padres (75-74), first place, 6 games ahead
Monday: Khalil Greene's home run in the ninth inning lifted the Padres to an 8-7 win at Colorado. The Padres reduced their Magic Number to clinch the division to eight.

Tuesday: Woody Williams will be on the mound and the last three times that's happened San Diego won the game. Jamey Wright will start for Colorado.

Remaining games (13):Sept. 20-22 at Colorado; Sept. 23-25 at Arizona; Sept. 26-29 vs. San Francisco; Sept. 30-Oct. 2 vs. Dodgers

Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.