Tribe, Cards, Dodgers make statements as races heat up

Tribe, Cards, Dodgers make statements as races heat up

The penultimate month of the regular season is in the books, and the race to the postseason has arrived.

As we head into head into September, the Cardinals remain the team to beat with the best record in the Majors at 85-46. St. Louis needs to go just 15-16 in the final 31 games to become the first 100-win team since the 2011 Phillies.

Here's a look at some notable moments that impacted the playoff picture from Monday's slate of games:

Dodgers outlast Giants in LA
The National League West pennant race provided some drama to the end of Monday's slate of games as the Dodgers walked off against the Giants in a 14-inning marathon at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers extended their lead in the division to 4 1/2 games and have now won six of their last seven contests. A sweep would increase the lead to 6 1/2 games.

San Francisco's 69-62 record (.527 winning percentage) on Sept. 1 puts it slightly behind the club's past three World Series campaigns. Last season, the Giants were 74-62 (.554) on Sept. 1. In 2012, they were 74-58 (.560), and in 2010, their record on this date was 73-60 (.549).

After this three-game set, these clubs meet once more for a four-game series at AT&T Park from Sept. 28-Oct. 1. The Dodgers remain the lone team on the Giants' schedule with a winning record, while Los Angeles also has to face the Pirates.

A-Gon's walk-off single

Blue Jays fall short of historic month
The Blue Jays had a stellar August, coming just one victory shy of being the first team to win 22 games in a single month since the Dodgers did it in August 2013.

Even with Monday's 4-2 loss to the Indians, the Blue Jays posted a 21-6 record in August. The 21 wins tied the franchise record for the most in a calendar month, matching the totals from May 2003 and May '14.

This stretch of success has catapulted the club into first place in the American League East. At the start of the month, the Blue Jays trailed the Yankees by six games in the division, and they now sit atop the division with a 74-57 record, 1 1/2 games ahead of New York.

Donaldson's two-run triple

Postseason hopeful Washington drops opener vs. St. Louis
The Nationals couldn't contain the red-hot Cardinals on Monday, as St. Louis recorded its third straight win and eighth in nine games.

The loss drops the Nationals' record to 66-64 as they fight to remain in the NL playoff picture, 6 1/2 games back of the first-place Mets in the division and eight games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot. The Giants' loss to the Dodgers on Monday helped the cause, as San Francisco (69-62) also remains an obstacle to postseason play.

However, the road ahead is relatively smooth if the Nats can survive this three-game set with the Cardinals and a two three-game series against the Mets. Twenty-four of Washington's final 32 games will come against teams with losing records in the Braves, Marlins, Phillies, Reds and Orioles.

Cardinals score five runs in 7th

Worth noting
• The Indians have won six consecutive games, scoring 41 total runs in that span and climbing to within four games of the Rangers for the second AL Wild Card spot.

Allen gets the save

• The Mets have won three straight and 10 of their last 12 games to extend their lead over the Nationals in the NL East to 6 1/2 games, the second biggest division lead in the Majors.

They also boast one of the easiest remaining schedules. Twenty-two of New York's final 31 games are against opponents with sub-.500 records with the Marlins, Yankees, Braves, Reds, Phillies and Nationals comprising the Mets' September slate.

Familia earns save No. 36

• The Angels continued to fade in the AL West as they lost 11-5 to the last-place A's in Oakland, dropping below .500 for the first time since June 10th (29-30). The Angels posted the worst record in the AL in August at 10-19.

A's five-run 3rd

If the postseason began today ...

Wild Card: Rangers at Yankees
Division Series: Wild Card at Royals, Astros at Blue Jays

Wild Card: Cubs at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Cardinals, Dodgers at Mets

AL Wild Card Game: Oct. 6
NL Wild Card Game: Oct. 7
AL Division Series begin: Oct. 8
NL Division Series begin: Oct. 9
NL Championship Series begin: Oct. 16
AL Championship Series begin: Oct. 17
World Series begins: Oct. 27

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.