M.L.B. Playoff Races: Cardinals Pull a Game Closer to the Brewers

M.L.B. Playoff Races: Cardinals Pull a Game Closer to the Brewers

The N.L. West remains baseball’s closest race, but there is plenty of action in the N.L. Central, where the Cardinals are making a late run on the top wild-card spot.

Paul DeJong homered and drove in three runs as the Cardinals beat the Braves.CreditCreditTodd Kirkland/Associated Press

With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, 12 teams found themselves on Tuesday morning within five games of the 10 playoff spots. The Boston Red Sox had a shot at clinching a division title with a win on Tuesday — they failed — while other teams, like the Arizona Diamondbacks, are fighting just to avoid elimination.

The main action continues to be in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers and Rockies are playing a series while separated by just half a game. With a loss on Monday the Rockies not only gave up their division lead but also temporarily lost the star shortstop Trevor Story to an elbow injury. How they respond to the injury, which could keep Story out for at least a few days, could decide how this race plays out.

Here is where the various competitive playoff races stood on Tuesday night:

Tuesday’s Scores

Travis Shaw of the Brewers was hit by a 95 mile-per-hour fastball in the second inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Reds. He was removed from the game two innings later.CreditDylan Buell/Getty Images

National League Central

The Chicago Cubs came into the day leading the Milwaukee Brewers by two and a half games.

Chase Anderson couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning, and while he only allowed three runs, that was enough to doom the Brewers in their 3-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. It was a fast start for the Reds, with Scott Schebler leading off the game with a single and Jose Peraza immediately bringing him home with a two-run homer to left-center. Milwaukee’s lone run came on a single by Jonathan Schoop in the second inning. The loss dropped the Brewers to three games back of the Cubs pending Chicago’s result against Arizona.

National League Wild-Card

The Brewers came into the day with a three-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the top wild-card position. The Cardinals had a half-game lead over the Rockies and a five-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second spot.

The Cardinals were clinging to a 2-1 lead over the N.L. East-leading Atlanta Braves heading into the eighth inning, but St. Louis’s offense woke up from there, cruising to a 8-1 win. Paul DeJong homered and drove in three runs in the game to lead the St. Louis offense, while Atlanta’s lone run came on a solo homer by Ronald Acuna Jr. in the third inning.

The St. Louis win combined with the Brewers’ losing to the Reds narrowed Milwaukee’s lead for the top wild-card spot to two games and increased the Cardinals’ lead over the Rockies for the second spot to one game pending the outcome of Colorado’s game against Los Angeles.

  • Diamondbacks vs. Cubs, 9:40 p.m.

  • Rockies at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.

National League West

The Dodgers came into the day leading the Rockies by a half-game.

Josh James, in his second career start, combined with four reliever to shut out the Mariners.CreditDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

American League West

The Houston Astros came into the day leading the Oakland Athletics by four games.

Josh James and four relievers combined to shut out the Seattle Mariners in the Astros’ 7-0 victory. James, in just his second career start, pitched five and one-third innings, striking out seven and walking two. Houston’s offense got rolling with four runs in the third innings — Marwin Gonzalez accounted for two of them with a homer to left-center — and then added an insurance run in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth. The victory temporarily increased the Astros’ lead over the Athletics to four and a half games ahead of Oakland’s game against the Angels.

American League Wild-Card

The Yankees came into the day with a one-and-a-half-game lead over the Athletics for the top wild-card, with no other teams within six games of contention for either spot.

There was some tension in the ninth inning thanks to a pair of defensive miscues, but the Yankees held on to beat the Red Sox, 3-2, temporarily putting them two games ahead of the Athletics for the top wild-card spot pending the outcome of Oakland’s game against the Angels. The game marked the return to the field by Aaron Judge, but all of the Yankees’ scoring came on Neil Walker’s three-run homer in the seventh inning. The blast, Walker’s 10th, gave the Yankees 11 players to reach double-figures in home runs in one season, tying the major league record.

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