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M.L.B. Playoff Races: Houston Astros on Brink of Division Title

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All five American League playoff spots are taken, with the only drama being which of them wins the West and which team gets home field advantage in the wild-card game. The National League is slightly more unsettled, with just one team locked into their spot, though there are really only five teams competing for the four remaining spots.

Already clinched: A.L. East (Boston); A.L. Central (Cleveland); N.L. East (Atlanta)


The Houston Astros came into Tuesday’s games with a four-and-a-half-game lead over the Oakland Athletics. Oakland had an elimination number of two.

Houston took a lead in the first inning on Alex Bregman’s two-run homer and never relinquished it in a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. The win gave the Astros 100 wins for a second consecutive season and put the Oakland Athletics on the brink of elimination in the American Leauge West.

Josh James and five relievers — including Antonio Osuna, who had assault charges against him dropped earlier in the day — took care of the rest, allowing just six hits and one run.

The Astros are expected to get a huge boost on Wednesday with the return of Carlos Correa, who has been out with a back injury, and could clinch the division Tuesday night should Oakland lose to Seattle.


While the Yankees and Athletics have both already clinched wild-card spots, they are still fighting for home-field advantage in the game. The Yankees came into Tuesday’s games leading the Athletics by one and a half games.

A very good day by Gary Sanchez helped power the Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-2. It put them two games ahead of the Athletics pending Oakland’s late game against Seattle, but the so-so performance by Luis Severino cast some doubt as to whether he would be the right choice to start the wild-card game next week.

In an otherwise poor performance by the Rays, the fans in Tampa Bay got one highlight in a slick catch by Jake Faria on a screaming line drive by Aaron Judge.


The Chicago Cubs lead the Milwaukee Brewers by half a game and the St. Louis Cardinals by four and a half. The Cardinals’ elimination number is down to one.

The Brewers seem determined to make a go of it in the N.L. Central race, and they kept the pressure on with a 12-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, which combined with the Cubs’ 6-0 loss to Pittsburgh resulted in Milwaukee trailing in the division by just half a game.

Milwaukee is virtually guaranteed a playoff spot, either as a division winner or a wild card, but avoiding the single-elimination game would be a huge bonus. They got help from their candidate for the N.L.’s Most Valuable Player Award, Christian Yelich, who homered and drove in six runs. Ryan Braun, the former M.V.P., hit two homers and drove in three runs, with the pair offsetting a short start by Gio Gonzalez, who lasted just four innings.

The St. Louis loss, in which Matt Carpenter and Manager Mike Shildt were both ejected for arguing, virtually ended the Cardinals’ pursuit of a division title. The Brewers will try to finish a three-game sweep on Wednesday and any combination of a Cubs win or Cardinals loss will leave St. Louis only competing for a wild-card.

Chicago will have to hope they right the ship soon if they want to hold off Milwaukee. The Cubs managed just four singles and a double in Tuesday’s shutout, and got a terrible effort from their starter, Mike Montgomery, who allowed five runs in four innings.


The Los Angeles Dodgers lead the Colorado Rockies by a half game.

The Rockies made it five consecutive wins by beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 10-3, on Tuesday. It was a group effort on offense, where Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 17 games and David Dahl homered for a second straight game, and it was even more of a group effort from the pitching staff, with Colorado needing eight pitchers to get through the blowout.

The win, combined with the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to Arizona closed the gap between Colorado and Los Angeles to half a game.

The loss for the Dodgers, which came after three consecutive wins, was a heartbreaker as they had come back to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning only to lose it on a walkoff homer by Eduardo Escobar in the bottom half of the inning.


The Brewers came into the day leading the Cardinals by three games for the top wild-card position. The Cardinals led the Rockies by half a game for the second position. Colorado’s elimination numbers was six.

Milwaukee’s win over St. Louis, combined with Colorado’s 10-3 win over Philadelphia, caused a change in the wild-card leaderboard, with the Brewers now having a three-and-a-half-game lead over the Rockies for the top wild-card, while Colorado has a half-game lead over St. Louis for the second spot.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B9 of the New York edition with the headline: Astros Win No. 100 to Close In on Division Title. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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