Race for wild cards gets a little tighter
Here's how the pennant races look with under two weeks to go:
— VERY WILD CARDS: First, St. Louis lost 5-4 to Chicago in 11 innings at Wrigley Field. Then Oakland fell 2-1 to the New York Yankees when Russell Martin homered in the 10th. The twin losses by wild-card leaders made the races for those two at-large slots in each league even more compelling.
Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Arizona all won Friday night, leaving the Brewers just 1½ games back of the Cardinals for the second NL wild card. The Dodgers are two off the pace after a 3-1 victory in 10 innings at Cincinnati.
The Athletics' loss and Baltimore's win at Boston means the Orioles lead the AL wild-card standings by one game. The Angels moved within 3½ games of Oakland for the second slot and Tampa Bay closed to 4½ back of the A's.
— DIVISION RACES: The Reds' magic number in the NL Central is down to one game, and San Francisco cut its magic number to clinch the NL West to two. The rest of the leaders have more work to do.
— NEXT UP: Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95 ERA) tries to become the majors' first 20-game winner when Washington faces Wily Peralta (2-0, 2.14 ERA) and Milwaukee. The Brewers have won six straight and 11 of 13 overall to move into the thick of the wild-card race.
— CHASE CHATTER: "I can sit here and take the blame, and I certainly will. But we've all got to dig deep right now and try to find a way to beat a good team that's playing for a lot as well," said Jake Peavy, who allowed five runs in five innings as the AL Central-leading White Sox fell 6-2 at the Angels for their third consecutive loss.
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