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Pulse of the Postseason: Sept. 10, 2013

Pulse of the Postseason: Sept. 10, 2013

The Pirates are officially winners once again, and they're not the only ones ecstatic about a 1-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in Arlington on Monday night that gave them 82 wins and a guarantee of the first season over the .500 mark for the franchise since 1992.

Nope. The Oakland A's are pretty stoked, too.

And that pretty much sums up another intriguing day and night as the Pulse of the Postseason continues to pound its way toward October.

Gerrit Cole outpitched Rangers ace Yu Darvish to the tune of a 1-0 Pirates victory that got Pittsburgh back on the beam after a four-game losing streak.

"That's as good of a Major League game as you're going to see, so it's a little added that it's the one that gets us to 82 [wins]," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Now we can, I think for everyone's best purpose, just focus on playing through, but I'm happy for everyone that this is really meaningful for. It has some meaning here."

Shortly after that historic No. 82 was in the books, some Pirates players shared their pride via Twitter.

While this was going on, the A's were idle, which meant they had plenty of time to watch the Bucs on MLB.TV or just check the scoreboard, which showed that they had gained another half-game on the Rangers atop the American League West without even having to suit up.

Elswhere, the Pulse quickened for quite a few teams, even on an off day for some of the league's top clubs.

The Cubs beat the Reds, 2-0, which means that the Pirates are a game ahead of Cincinnati in the standings. Pittsburgh trails idle division-leading St. Louis by one, with the Reds now two back.

And the Wild Card hopefuls in the AL jockeyed around a bit more in the standings, too.

It was a huge win for Baltimore, which saw Chris Tillman win his 16th game of the season, beating CC Sabathia in the process.

 

And it was equally huge for the Indians to get the performance they got from Ubaldo Jimenez to stay even with Baltimore while also gaining a game on the Yankees. Jimenez, who has struggled at times to find his old form since arriving in Cleveland, pitched like the ace of old with 10 strikeouts on Monday.

The Nationals are clinging to slim hopes that they can qualify for the Wild Card dance, and on Monday night their starter, Gio Gonzalez, stepped up in a big way, throwing a no-hitter for six innings and going the distance for a one-hitter in a 9-0- victory over the Mets. It was Washington's third win in a row and one they needed desperately.

On the other side of that coin, though, is the D-backs, who watched Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe hit three home runs on Monday night. Arizona lost, 8-1, and now finds itself nine games out in the Wild Card chase as the Dodgers continue to pull away in the National League West.

Otherwise, Detroit starter Max Scherzer once again couldn't nail down his 20th victory of the season, with the White Sox roughing him up in a 5-1 Tigers loss.

"I made too many mistakes," Scherzer said. "I left the ball up, elevated the ball. I wasn't able to get the ball down and it cost me."

We'll see if it costs them Tuesday.

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

Royals (Guthrie, 13-10) at Indians (McAllister, 7-8), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
The Indians will try to capitalize on the momentum they built with Monday's win and their formidable home record against their division and Wild Card rival Royals.

Yankees (Nova, 8-4) at Orioles (Gonzalez, 9-7), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Another huge one for both AL East teams in Camden Yards. Nova was August's AL Pitcher of the Month but got roughed up in his first September start.

Braves (Teheran, 11-7) at Marlins (Koehler, 3-9), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
The Braves have given Teheran a little extra rest as the young starter prepares for his first postseason. We'll see if it pays off.

Red Sox (Buchholz, 9-0) at Rays (Price, 8-7), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
The long-awaited return of Buchholz from the disabled list comes at a good time for Boston, which has a comfortable division lead. Price needs to come up big for the Rays, who remain in place for a Wild Card berth.

Cubs (Jackson, 7-15) at Reds (Cingrani, 7-3), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
Cincinnati can't afford to lose to the Cubs at home for a second straight night. They'll lean on the talented rookie lefty Cingrani.

Nationals (Zimmermann, 16-8) at Mets (Gee, 11-9), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
Zimmermann guns for his 17th win of the season as the suddenly hot Nats try to keep it going.

Pirates (Liriano, 15-7) at Rangers (Perez, 9-3), 8:05 p.m. Preview >
Young pitcher Perez will be counted on to even up this Interleague matchup of potential World Series opponents.

Tigers (Porcello, 11-8) at White Sox (Johnson, 0-1), 8:10 p.m. Preview >
Johnson makes his second big-league start for the White Sox, who surprised Max Scherzer with a win on Monday. The Tigers would love to see Porcello get them back on a winning note.

A's (Parker, 11-6) at Twins (Hendriks, 1-2), 8:10 p.m. Preview >
Parker hasn't taken a loss since late May, and the Twins are struggling. Oakland has been hot of late and aims to take that brand of baseball on the road.

Brewers (Peralta, 9-14) at Cardinals (Miller, 12-9), 8:15 p.m. Preview >
St. Louis lost a bit of its division lead on the off day. Young ace Miller will try to get it back at home.

D-backs (Cahill, 6-10) at Dodgers (Volquez, 9-11), 10:10 p.m. Preview >
The D-backs are barely holding on to Wild Card hopes while the Dodgers, who routed them on Monday, continue to coast toward October.

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Rays at Rangers
Division Series: Wild Card at Red Sox | Tigers at A's

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Reds at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Braves | Cardinals at Dodgers

Postseason 101

Magic numbers
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

Tiebreaker scenarios
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then division record will be the next tiebreaker.

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

Tiebreaker rules »

2013 postseason schedule
NL Wild Card Game: Oct. 1
AL Wild Card Game: Oct. 2
NL Division Series begin: Oct. 3
AL Division Series begin: Oct. 4
NL Championship Series begins: Oct. 11
AL Championship Series begins: Oct. 12
World Series begins: Oct. 23

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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