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Reds, Nationals clinch playoff spots

Associated Press Published: September 21, 2012

Here's how the pennant races look with under two weeks to go:

— TWO IN: The Nationals brought postseason baseball back to the nation's capital for the first time since 1933, earning a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over the Dodgers. Washington joined Cincinnati in the NL field after the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 earlier in the day to become the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth.

Washington was last in the postseason 79 years ago, when player-manager Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the New York Giants in five games in the World Series.

— POTENT BREW: Milwaukee rallied for a 9-7 victory over Pittsburgh, continuing its push for a playoff spot. The Brewers have won five straight, eight of nine and 15 of 19 to climb into the postseason race. They remained 2½ games back of St. Louis for the second NL wild-card slot.

— DIVISION RACES: Cincinnati's magic number in the NL Central is two games, and San Francisco trimmed its magic number to clinch the NL West to three. The rest of the leaders are facing a longer road to division titles.

— NEXT UP: Left-hander CC Sabathia (13-6, 3.63 ERA) gets the ball when the New York Yankees host the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a weekend series. Chris Carpenter also makes his 2012 debut when the St. Louis Cardinals face the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.

— CHASE CHATTER: "That last inning we dug deep and ... it says a lot. We can definitely cash it in, but we're not, and we're going to finish this thing out strong. You never know what's going to happen," said B.J. Upton, who hit a game-ending homer in Tampa Bay's dramatic 7-4 victory over Boston.


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