Mets win 8th straight, inch closer to East title

Mets win 8th straight, inch closer to East title

With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Mets keep rolling toward their first National League East title in nine years.

Things are less clear in the American League East and West, though, as the Yankees and Rangers continue to fight for first place in their respective divisions. Here's a look at some key developments from Monday's action that helped shape the playoff picture:

Mets extend win streak to eight games
Another day, another rally by the Mets. David Wright drove in the go-ahead run and Yoenis Cespedes homered to lead the Mets past the Marlins, 4-3, and bring their winning streak to eight games.

With the victory, the Mets lowered their magic number to clinch the NL East (and a playoff spot) to 10 games. It's the lowest magic number to clinch a division in the Majors.

Statcast: Cespedes' long homer

"It's just fun to win," Wright said. "It's nice to be home, a great crowd Monday night, a crowd that was into it. That energy rubs off on the players, and you want to go out there and put on a good show and get a win for them. It's nice to come through."

The Mets hold a 9 1/2-game division lead over the second-place Nationals, who outlasted the Phillies in 11 innings, 8-7. New York could clinch a spot in the postseason as early as Sunday.

Rangers closing in on Astros
It's shaping up to be a wild finish in the AL West.

Prince Fielder smacked a two-run homer in the eighth inning to propel the Rangers to a 5-3 win over the Astros in the opener of a pivotal four-game series, cutting Houston's division lead to a half-game.

Fielder's go-ahead homer

"That was a big win," Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "The team in front of us, first game of a series, to get the momentum going in our favor, that was a good first one."

While the division crown is up for grabs, the Rangers continue to hold a one-game lead for the second AL Wild Card over the Twins, who took care of the Tigers, 7-1. 

Yankees gain ground on Blue Jays
The Yankees went from being no-hit through seven innings to stringing together a four-run rally with two-outs in the ninth to shock the Rays, 4-1, at Tropicana Field and move within three games of the idle Blue Jays in the AL East.

With the come-from-behind win, the Yankees maintained their three-game lead over the Rangers for the top AL Wild Card spot.

Heathcott's three-run homer

"That's probably the most excited we've been all year," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. "Every game from here on out is important." 

Other things to know
Clayton Kershaw earned the win as the Dodgers beat the Rockies, 4-1, to hold on to a 7 1/2-game lead in the NL West over the second-place Giants, who beat the Reds, 5-3.

• The Angels fell to the Mariners, 10-1, and now trail the Rangers by four games for the second AL Wild Card.

• The Indians beat the Royals, 8-3, to improve to .500 (71-71) and remain 4 1/2 games behind the Rangers for the second AL Wild Card.

Meanwhile, the Royals' lead over the Twins in the AL Central dipped to nine games. 

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, Mets at Dodgers 

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

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