Dodgers end slump, clinch; Indians win No. 20; Red Sox gain separation in East
By Chad Thornburg
The Dodgers joined the Nationals as the second team to clinch a playoff berth by bringing an end to their 11-game losing skid Tuesday.
The 5-3 win over the Giants punched the Dodgers' ticket to the postseason, guaranteeing them at least a Wild Card spot as they chase a sixth consecutive National League West title. It was a long time coming for the Dodgers, who still own the best record in baseball but have seen their hold on that position slip in recent weeks by losing 16 of their last 18 games.
Here's where the rest of the playoff picture stands heading into today:
American League Wild Card:
The Twins preserved their hold on the AL's second Wild Card spot with a 16-0 rout of the Padres. Minnesota became the first team in MLB history to hit a home run in each of the first seven innings of a game.
Behind the Twins, the playoff picture remains as murky as ever with six teams competing to reach the one-game playoff. The Royals, Rays and Mariners each maintained their standing with wins Tuesday over the White Sox, Yankees and Rangers, respectively.
The Angels are still looming just outside the playoff picture, but fell to two games back with a loss to the Astros and the Twins' win. The Royals and Rangers are tied at three games back after Kansas City beat the White Sox and Texas lost to Seattle. The Mariners (-3.5), Rays (-4.0) and Orioles (-4.5) round out the seven-team field competing behind Minnesota.
The Indians lowered their magic number to clinch the AL Central to five over the Twins with their 20th consecutive victory, a 2-0 win over the Tigers. The Tribe's historic streak is now tied for the best in AL history with the 2002 A's and one shy of the modern baseball record.
"It's something special," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "It's going to be there forever."
AL East: Mookie Betts helped propel Boston to a 11-1 victory vs. the A's at Fenway Park on Tuesday, homering twice and driving in six runs. The win put another game of separation between Boston and the Yankees, who lost to the Rays, in the AL East. Boston leads the division by four games with a magic number of 15.
There was no movement in the NL Central on Tuesday as all three contending clubs won. The Cubs, who have a two-game hold on first-place over the Cardinals, beat the Mets 8-3. The Cardinals scored a big 13-4 victory over the Reds, and the Brewers, who are 2 1/2 games back, defeated the fourth-place Pirates, 5-2.
NL Wild Card:
Neither the Brewers nor the Cardinals gained any ground in the Wild Card race, either, as the Rockies won against the D-backs. Colorado's win closed the gap behind Arizona to three games for home-field advantage in the one-game playoff.
If the postseason began today...
Wild Card: Twins at Yankees
Division Series: Wild Card at Indians, Red Sox at Astros
Wild Card: Rockies at D-backs
Division Series: Wild Card at Dodgers, Cubs at Nationals
2017 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE AL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Oct. 3 NL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Oct. 4 AL Division Series begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 5 NL Division Series begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 6 AL Championship Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 13 NL Championship Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 14 World Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 24
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.