Postseason Picture for Sunday, Sept. 7

Postseason Picture for Sunday, Sept. 7

As if the National League Wild Card race wasn't tight enough already, Atlanta and Pittsburgh each notched pivotal wins on Saturday -- two wins in the case of the Pirates. Atlanta's victory, coupled with Milwaukee's 10th loss in 11 games, moved the Braves into a tie with the Brewers for the final playoff spot, with the Pirates a half-game behind.

In the AL, the story was the same -- tight races getting even tighter, as the Yankees, Indians and Mariners each won, taking advantage of losses by the two Central clubs still alive. Kansas City's lead on Detroit remains two games, while the Yankees and Indians still sit 4 1/2 back of Seattle in the second Wild Card race.

IF THE POSTSEASON STARTED TODAY ...

American League

Wild Card: Mariners at A's

Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Royals at Orioles

National League

Wild Card: Brewers/Braves at Giants

Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers

Postseason picture

Saturday's postseason pulse began with the Giants notching an important Interleague victory over the Tigers in a rematch of the 2012 World Series.

The two teams combined to score six runs in the first inning, and ultimately Buster Posey's solo shot off David Price in the fifth was the difference in the game. The red-hot Posey is now hitting .508 with seven homers since Aug. 19.

Meanwhile, the Pirates and Cubs were busy completing their game, which had been suspended a day earlier. Josh Harrison, the NL's batting average leader, gave Pittsburgh the lead for good with an RBI single in the top of the 11th.

Then, the Pirates made sure their efforts in the completed game weren't negated, as Francisco Liriano turned in a vintage performance. He fanned nine over six innings, and the Pirates' 'pen helped preserve the shutout.

In New York, the day's events got started with a sight no one wants to see. Royals starter Danny Duffy, who has been a revelation this season in Kansas City, left after one pitch with shoulder soreness. While the Royals were scrambling, the Yankees capitalized -- thanks in part to a three-hit day from Martin Prado.

Corey Kluber was the story as the night games got underway. The Indians starter allowed just one unearned run on five hits in a complete-game victory over the White Sox.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Evan Gattis got some help from instant replay on his go-ahead home run for the Braves in the 10th inning. By the time the dust had settled in Milwaukee -- with Matt Adams and Oscar Taveras going deep for the Cards, the Brewers and Braves found themselves locked in a dead heat for the second Wild Card spot.

Out West, the Dodgers knocked off Arizona to remain two games ahead of the Giants, and the Mariners held off the Rangers to put some distance between them and the Tigers in the Wild Card race.

So what will Sunday bring? More of the same, matchups wise, and given the way these races have played out all season long, you can certainly expect more drama.

TODAY'S KEY GAMES TO WATCH (all times ET)

White Sox (Carroll, 5-9) at Indians (Carrasco, 6-4), 1:05 p.m. Preview

The Indians look to creep closer in both the Central and Wild Card races with Carlos Carrasco taking the hill.

Royals (Ventura, 11-9) at Yankees (Greene, 4-2), 1:05 p.m. Preview

It's the Yankees' last chance to gain ground on the Royals, directly, as the two teams meet for the final time this season. But first, Derek Jeter will be honored at Yankee Stadium.

Braves (Teheran, 13-10) at Marlins (Hand, 2-6), 1:10 p.m. Preview

In his past four starts, Julio Teheran has gone 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA. He looks to help the Braves continue their playoff push.

Phillies (Hamels, 8-6) at Nationals (Gonzalez, 7-9), 1:35 p.m. Preview

The Nationals' NL East lead sits at a comfortable six games. They look to tack on another important divisional win on Sunday.

Orioles (Norris, 12-8) at Rays (Hellickson, 1-3), 1:40 p.m. Preview

Heading into play on Sunday, Baltimore owns the biggest division lead in baseball, at 8 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees.

Angels (Wilson, 10-9) at Twins (Darnell, 0-1), 2:10 p.m. Preview

The Halos have won three straight and eight of 10, as C.J. Wilson heads to the hill.

Cardinals (Wainwright, 16-9) at Brewers (Nelson, 2-6), 2:10 p.m. Preview

Adam Wainwright and the Cards look to take three of four and pad their Central lead even further in this pivotal series against the Brewers.

Pirates (Cole, 7-5) at Cubs (Wood, 8-11), 2:20 p.m. Preview

The Pirates sit a half-game out of the second Wild Card spot, and can jump into playoff position with a win and losses by the Braves and Brewers.

Mariners (Paxton 5-1) at Texas (Holland, 0-0), 3:05 p.m. Preview

In a battle of southpaws, James Paxton looks to maintain the Mariners' Wild Card lead of 1 1/2 games.

Astros (Keuchel, 10-9) at A's (Hammel, 10-10), 4:05 p.m. Preview

Trailing by six games in the West, the A's sit only four games ahead of Detroit and 2 1/2 up on Seattle in the Wild Card chase.

D-backs (Cahill, 3-10) at Dodgers (Greinke, 13-8), 4:10 p.m. Preview

At this point, it's clear the Dodgers are going to be in a September dogfight if they want to claim another NL West crown.

Giants (Hudson, 9-9) at Tigers (Lobstein, 0-0), 8 p.m. Preview

Tim Hudson can reach 10 wins for the 14th time, but the Tigers are desperate for a victory.

Watch the races on MLB.TV

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.

AL East: Orioles 14 over Yankees

AL Central: Royals 20 over Tigers

AL West: Angels 16 over A's

AL Wild Card 1: A's 18 over Mariners

AL Wild Card 2: Mariners 20 over Tigers

NL East: Nationals 16 over Braves

NL Central: Cardinals 17 over Brewers and Pirates

NL West: Dodgers 19 over Giants

NL Wild Card 1: Giants 17 over Braves, Brewers and Pirates

NL Wild Card 2: Braves, Brewers and Pirates all 21

Standings

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

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