Path to the Postseason: Sept. 9, 2012

Path to the Postseason: Sept. 9, 2012

Path to the Postseason: Sept. 9, 2012
In the tug of war that has become the American League East, the Orioles drew even Saturday night.

J.J. Hardy and Lew Ford both homered and drove in two runs, and Mark Reynolds hit his seventh homer of the season against New York, as the Orioles tied the Yankees for first in the AL East after a controversial 5-4 victory at Camden Yards.

"Everything's intense. Everything matters. It's fun," Reynolds said.

However, it wasn't without some drama at the end of the game. With one out and runners on first and third in the top of the ninth inning, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira hit a slow grounder to second base, and was called out at first to end the game on a disputed double play call. Replays showed Teixeira dove in safely ahead of the throw.

"It's not a bang-bang play. He's safe," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's clearly safe. Umpire Jerry Meals missed it. You hate to lose a game that way, but he missed it. It's extremely frustrating."

In the AL Central, the White Sox got some extra breathing room, picking up a game on the Tigers to increase their lead atop the division to two games. Chicago beat the Royals, 5-4, while the Tigers took a 6-1 loss to the Angels.

The Rangers and Rays squared off in another extra innings affair Saturday night, with Texas winning, 4-2, in 10 innings after the Rays got a 3-1 win in 11 innings on Friday. The Rays are two games out in the AL East standings and for the second Wild Card spot.

On the West Coast, the Dodgers and Giants played another close one in San Francisco, with Los Angeles squeaking out a 3-2 win. Snapping a three-game losing streak, the Dodgers pulled within 4 1/2 games of the Giants in the National League West and 1/2 game back of the Cardinals for the second the NL Wild Card slot.

"I don't know about winning the division. I just know we're getting in the playoffs one way or another," Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said after the game.

Meanwhile, the Braves increased their lead atop the NL Wild Card, beating the Mets, 11-3, while the Cardinals took a 6-3 loss to the Brewers.

Today's key games to watch (all times ET)

Braves (Hanson, 12-8) at Mets (Young, 4-7), 1:10 p.m. Preview>
The Braves will go for their fifth straight win and a sweep of the Mets as they look to pad their lead in the NL Wild Card.

Astros (Gonzalez, 1-0) at Reds (Cueto, 17-7), 1:10 p.m. Preview>
In control atop the NL Central, the Reds will hope to get Johnny Cueto back on track after he took a loss in his last start.

Cubs (Rusin, 0-2) at Pirates (Locke, 0-1), 1:35 p.m. Preview>
Trying to a avoid a three-game sweep against the Cubs, the Pirates will look to nab a win and stay within striking distance of the NL Wild Card race.

Marlins (Nolasco, 11-12) at Nationals (Jackson, 9-9), 1:35 p.m. Preview>
Looking for another series win on Sunday, the Nationals head into their game against the Marlins with a 6 1/2 game lead in the NL East.

Yankees (Garcia, 7-6) at Orioles (Britton, 1-5), 1:35 p.m. Preview>
The top spot in the AL East is up for grabs as the two teams finish off their four game set in Baltimore.

Rangers (Oswalt, 4-2) at Rays (Shields, 13-8), 1:40 p.m. Preview>
Roy Oswalt and James Shields will go at it in the rubber match of the three-game set at Tropicana Field.

Royals (Guthrie, 7-12) at White Sox (Santiago, 3-1), 2:10 p.m. Preview>
The White Sox hold a slim two-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central as they head into the series finale in Chicago.

Brewers (Marcum, 5-4) at Cardinals (Kelly, 5-6), 2:15 p.m. Preview>
After losing two straight games to the Brewers, the Cardinals sit just half a game ahead of the Dodgers for the second spot in the NL Wild Card.

Tigers (Sanchez, 7-11) at Angels (Greinke, 13-5), 3:35 p.m. Preview>
The Halos have won 10 of their last 11 games and will go for the sweep on Sunday, only two games back of the second AL Wild Card spot.

Athletics (Milone, 11-10) at Mariners (Vargas, 14-9), 4:10 p.m. Preview>
The A's go for their ninth consecutive road win, sitting half a game up in the AL Wild Card race and 4 1/2 games behind Texas in the AL West.

Dodgers (Kershaw, 12-8) at Giants (Zito, 10-8), 8:05 p.m. Preview>
Just half a game out of the second spot in the NL Wild Card race and 4 1/2 back of the Giants in the NL West, the Dodgers hand the ball to Clayton Kershaw.

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Orioles or Yankees at A's
Division Series: Orioles or Yankees vs. White Sox | Rangers vs. Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Cardinals at Braves
Division Series: Reds vs. Giants | Nationals vs. Wild Card winner

Postseason Bracket »

Postseason 101

Magic Numbers

To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining on the schedule and add one. Then subtract the difference in the loss column between the team and its closest pursuer.

Tie-breaker scenarios

Tie-breaker games will be played to determine the division winner, even if the two tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tie-breaker game is necessary, the head-to-head record between the tied clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then division record will be the next tie-breaker.

If two clubs are tied for both Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the tied Clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then division record will be the next tie-breaker.

Tiebreaker rules »

2012 Postseason Schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
American League Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
National League Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1

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