Astros gain on Rangers, bump Angels back

Astros gain on Rangers, bump Angels back

The race for the American League West is coming right down to the wire with just under two weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Astros have moved back within one game of the Rangers, making the AL West the tightest division in the Majors. Here's a look some key developments from Monday's action that helped shape the playoff picture:

Astros win again
It's a big week for the Astros, who beat the Angels on Monday, 6-3, to extend their win streak to three games. In addition to inching closer to the Rangers in the division, the victory gave the Astros some cushion for the second AL Wild Card, where they lead the Twins by three games and hold a 3 1/2-game advantage over the Angels.

Keuchel fans six

The Astros have two more games against the Angels before a critical three-game series against the Rangers over the weekend. Fortunately for the Astros, all five games are at Minute Maid Park, where the club is 51-25 this season.

Pirates take step towards clinching
The Pirates beat the Rockies, 9-3, on Monday to put themselves in position to clinch a postseason berth on Tuesday.

Statcast: Marte crushes home run

A few things will have to go in favor of the Pirates in order for them to celebrate at least a spot in the National League Wild Card game.

First, the Pirates must beat the Rockies at Coors Field. Couple that with a Giants loss to the Padres and a Nationals loss to the Orioles, and Pittsburgh would clinch its third straight postseason appearance.

A division title isn't out of reach for the Pirates yet, either. They trail the first-place Cardinals by four games in the NL Central.

Blue Jays eye top seed
The Blue Jays are inching closer to the best record in the AL, which would give them home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

Behind seven shutout innings from David Price, the Blue Jays beat the Yankees, 4-2, to move within 1 1/2 games of the idle Royals for the top spot in the AL. Monday's victory also gave the Jays a 3 1/2-game lead in the AL East over the second-place Yankees.

Price notches 17th win

The Blue Jays are 12-5 against the Bronx Bombers this season, and they will play two more games at the Rogers Centre this week for their final meetings of the regular season.

Other things to know

• The Mets blanked the Braves, 4-0, to lower their magic number to win the NL East to seven games over the Nationals, who were rained out in Washington. The Mets have a 6 1/2-game lead in the division and can clinch as early as Friday.

• The Cubs outslugged the Brewers, 9-5, to remain two games behind the Pirates for the top NL Wild Card. The Cubs have a comfortable 9 1/2-game lead over both the Giants and Nationals for the second NL Wild Card.

• The Dodgers lost to the D-backs, 8-4, as their magic number to win the NL West remained at seven games over the Giants. The Dodgers could clinch the division as early as Friday.

If the postseason began today:

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

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

2015 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
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 MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.