The battle for playoff berths in the National League has come to a close, with the Pittsburgh Pirates set to play October baseball once again after a long drought and the Cincinnati Reds also advancing to the postseason.
The Pirates got back to the playoffs for the first time since 1992 with a 2-1 away victory Monday night over the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals' 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, who edged closer to the NL Central division title.
With the victory, the Cardinals maintained their two-game lead over the Pirates and Reds.
Dominican outfielder Starling Marte hit a home run for the Pirates in the top of the ninth inning that broke a tie at Wrigley Field. Jason Grilli then got the save in the bottom of that inning when a Cubs runner was thrown out at home plate on the game's final play.
The Reds, meanwhile, returned to the postseason for the third time in four years Monday night when outfielder Shin-Soo Choo drove in the winning run in the 10th inning for a 3-2 win over the New York Mets.
The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are the other two playoff teams in the National League, having earlier clinched the NL East and NL West titles, respectively.
In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays moved closer to another trip to the postseason with a 5-4 win Monday over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rays lead the chase for one of two AL wildcard spots, while the Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers, who routed the Houston Astros 12-0 Monday, also are in the hunt.
The Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A's won the AL East and AL West titles, respectively, while the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers hold a 4.5-game lead over the Indians for the divisional crown with less than a week remaining in the regular season. EFE