Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers won their third straight AL Central title and the St. Louis Cardinals clinched a tie for their first NL Central crown since 2009. The top three AL wild-card teams won, both NL wild-card contenders lost. With four days left in the regular season, a quick look at baseball’s playoff picture:
STILL SCRAMBLING: Evan Longoria and Tampa Bay won their sixth in a row and hold a one-game edge over Cleveland atop the AL wild-card standings, with Texas trailing by a game. Rookie Shelby Miller and the Cardinals cut their magic number to one; Pittsburgh leads Cincinnati by one game for the NL wild card.
TIGER TANGO: Manager Jim Leyland showed off a few dance moves in a soaked clubhouse after Detroit won 1-0 at Minnesota to seal another division flag. The 68-year-old Leyland also showed a softer side, fighting back tears. “I just don’t think people realize how hard it is to win,” he said.
MONEY-FALL: The Yankees, who opened this season with a $230 million payroll that dwarfed most teams in the majors, missed the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years. It hasn’t gone well for many clubs among the top 10 payrolls — the Phillies, Angels, Giants, White Sox and Blue Jays all fell short of October, and Texas could be absent, too.
HEATING UP: Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman and Gerald Laird and Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez were ejected as the NL East champion Braves lost 4-0. An around-the-bases verbal spat escalated into a scuffle when catcher Brian McCann stood in the third base line as Gomez finished his home run trot — Gomez never touched the plate, but umpires ruled McCann obstructed him.
ON DECK: Zach McAllister (9-9) starts as Cleveland, clinging to a one-game lead over Texas for the second AL wild-card spot, begins a season-ending four-game series at Minnesota.