September 21, 2012

Major League Roundup: Nationals, Reds reach playoffs

The Associated Press

CHICAGO - Dusty Baker was missing when the Cincinnati Reds became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot. The main man in the dugout was sidelined Thursday for a second straight game after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.

Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence
click image to enlarge

Giants outfielders Gregor Blanco, left, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence celebrate after a 9-2 home win Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.

The Associated Press

"Obviously we won the last two games for him. We have him in our thoughts but we got good news on his update," reliever Sean Marshall said after a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

"Hopefully he'll be back with us tomorrow and when it really matters, when we clinch (the division). Hopefully we get to celebrate this weekend with him."

Ace Johnny Cueto and the NL Central leaders ensured themselves of at least a wild-card spot. Cincinnati cut its magic number to two for winning the division for the second time in three years.

The Reds said Baker would remain in a Chicago hospital for an additional day so doctors could monitor his progress. The manager left Wrigley Field before Wednesday night's game and underwent another test Thursday.

Baker is expected to return to Cincinnati on Friday. Bench coach Chris Speier ran the team for a second straight game.

The Reds broke a scoreless tie by getting five straight singles off reliever Manuel Corpas (0-2) in the seventh during a five-run rally capped by Henry Rodriguez's two-run double.

NATIONALS 4, DODGERS 1: Washington brought postseason baseball back to the nation's capital for the first time since 1933, clinching a playoff spot by beating visiting Los Angeles.

CARDINALS 5, ASTROS 4: Pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran snapped a sixth-inning tie with a two-run double and Allen Craig hit a three-run home run, powering St. Louis at home.

PHILLIES 16, METS 1: Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley sparked an eight-run first inning, Ryan Howard added a late grand slam and Philadelphia won at New York.

PADRES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 5: Jesus Guzman homered and Clayton Richard was effective enough as San Diego held on to win at Phoenix.

BREWERS 9, PIRATES 7: Rickie Weeks hit a tying two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on Aramis Ramirez's single, helping Milwaukee win at Pittsburgh.

GIANTS 9, ROCKIES 2: Pablo Sandoval hit a three-run homer and a solo shot, and NL West-leading San Francisco reduced its magic number to clinch the division to four by beating visiting Colorado.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

YANKEES 10, BLUE JAYS 7: Streaking Ichiro Suzuki hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a seven-run fourth inning capped by Nick Swisher's grand slam, and host New York opened a one-game AL East lead over idle Baltimore.

ATHLETICS 12, TIGERS 4: Seth Smith homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and visiting Oakland avoided a three-game sweep.

INDIANS 4, TWINS 3: Casey Kotchman singled with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, giving Cleveland a win at home.

ROYALS 4, WHITE SOX 3: Alex Rios was thrown out at the plate, Alexei Ramirez was picked off third base and AL Central-leading Chicago again failed to come up with a clutch hit in losing at Kansas City, Mo.

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