Berth-day party: Mets, Jays, Cubs soak it in

Berth-day party: Mets, Jays, Cubs soak it in

Another division title was claimed Saturday, as the Mets were crowned National League East champs for the first time in nearly a decade.

New York becomes the second team to win a division this year, and the Dodgers could soon follow. A Los Angeles win and a Giants loss Sunday will hand the NL West over to the Dodgers.

The Cubs and Blue Jays also celebrated after clinching playoff spots Friday night. The Cubs are still fighting for NL Wild Card positioning, while the Jays are closing in on an American League East title and battling the Royals for home-field advantage in the AL.

Here's a further look at how Saturday's games impacted the playoff picture:

Mets back atop the NL East
The Mets made a triumphant return to the postseason Saturday, clinching the NL East for the first time since 2006. Needing a win or a Nationals loss, the Mets defeated the Reds, 10-2, at Great American Ball Park, officially eliminating Washington from postseason play.

"We knew we wanted to win this game," Saturday's starter Matt Harvey said. "We didn't want to wait until tomorrow. We didn't want to wait until Philadelphia. This game was probably the most important game of the year."

How They Got There: Mets

The next order of attention for the Mets will be home-field advantage in the likely NL Division Series against the Dodgers. The Mets moved a half-game ahead of the Dodgers on Saturday, and New York owns the tiebreaker should both clubs finish with the same record, having won the season series 4-3.

Though if the Mets' recent performance away from Citi Field is any indication, they'll be just fine as visitors. New York has won 18 of its last 20 road games, including a club-record 10 straight. More >

Chicago, Toronto celebrate return to postseason
Both the Cubs and Blue Jays secured trips to the postseason this weekend after extended absences. But neither club had an opportunity to celebrate as they learned they clinched long after leaving the park Friday. They made up for it Saturday, though, with both teams popping champagne after their afternoon contests.

How They Got There: Blue Jays

For the Jays, the last time they celebrated a postseason berth was more than two decades ago when the club won the AL East in 1993. They're in line to do so again with a four-game lead over the Yankees and a magic number of five.

"Everybody has been waiting for this, for a long, long time," Jays outfielder Jose Bautista said. "We can't wait for it to start. It's exciting. Our goal is attainable, and most of the time it hasn't been, in the last [few] seasons that I've been here, and the last 22 years. We're all excited."

• Blue Jays celebrate, look forward to more

Chicago's October absence hasn't been nearly as long as Toronto's, but it's still been six seasons since the Cubs played beyond the regular season. While the Cubs were eliminated from the NL Central with a loss to the Pirates and the Cardinals' win over the Brewers, they're still guaranteed a spot in the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, likely against Pittsburgh.

Cubs celebrate making playoffs

"Even though we did not win the game today, that really does not matter," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "This is a celebration of the season and where we're at right now and what we've accomplished to this point only. We've got a lot of work left. Our guys will be ready for the next week and what happens after that." More >

Dodgers on the verge of third straight NL West title
The Dodgers came up short of clinching their division Saturday, losing, 8-6, to the Rockies while the Giants beat the A's, 14-10. Los Angeles' magic number to win the NL West for a third consecutive season remains at two.

With the division there for the taking, the Dodgers have faltered, losing seven of their last eight games. They'll try again in Sunday's finale vs. Colorado, needing both a win and a San Francisco loss.

If the Dodgers clinch, it'd be the first time in franchise history that they've made the postseason in three straight years. It'd also mean an end to the Giants' playoff hopes as the Cubs knocked San Francisco out of the Wild Card hunt Friday, falling in line with the Giants' trend this decade of missing the playoffs in odd-numbered years and winning the World Series in even-numbered ones.

Houston snaps skid vs. Texas
The Astros homered six times Saturday en route to a 9-7 win over the Rangers, snapping their eight-game losing streak vs. Texas.

The Astros still trail the Rangers by 3 1/2 games in the American League West. Texas has dominated the season series all year, winning 13 of 18 meetings. Saturday's win helped Houston fend off the surging Angels for at least one more day in the race for the AL's second Wild Card spot.

The Halos kept up their winning ways as David Freese hit a walk-off homer to secure a 3-2 win against the Mariners in Anaheim. The Angels have now won 11 of their last 16. In that span, they've cut their deficit in the Wild Card race down from 4 1/2 games to just a half-game.

Freese's walk-off homer

Aiding the Angels' cause is Houston's freefall in the standings over the last few weeks. The Astros entered September leading the AL West by four games, but they have gone 8-15 since, ceding the division lead to the Rangers and potentially the AL Wild Card to the Angels.

Other things to know
• The Pirates shut out the Cubs, 4-0, for their eighth straight victory. Pittsburgh extended its lead for home-field advantage in the NL Wild Card to 5 1/2 games.

Hurdle on Liriano, NL Central

• The Indians remain in the hunt for an AL Wild Card spot after beating the Royals, 9-5, on Saturday. They're three games in back of the Astros for a spot opposite the Yankees in AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser.

• Kansas City's loss dropped the club into a tie with Toronto for the best record in the AL. The Blue Jays hold the tiebreaker for home-field advantage with a 4-3 win in the season series.

If the postseason began today ...
AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Astros at Yankees
Division Series: Wild Card at Blue Jays, Rangers at Royals

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

2015 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
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 begins: Oct. 16
AL Championship Series begins: Oct. 17
World Series begins: Oct. 27

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