MLB Wrap: Pirates clinch; Machado hurt

MLB Wrap: Pirates clinch; Machado hurt
September 23, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Starling Marte (left) hit the go-ahead homer in the Pirates' playoff-clinching win while Manny Machado (right) hurt his knee running to first base against the Rays. (USA Today Images)

CHICAGO -- The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, clinching at least a National League wild card Monday night when they beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 and the Washington Nationals lost to St. Louis.

It will be Pittsburgh's first trip to the postseason since Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and Co. won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Bonds then left for San Francisco as a free agent, and the small-budget Pirates piled up 20 consecutive losing records -- the longest streak in the four major professional sports.

Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field, and the Pirates threw out a runner at the plate for the final out.

The Pirates doused each other in champagne in the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field once St. Louis' 4-3 win over the Nationals became final (see full recap).

Machado hurt in Orioles’ loss to Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays are confident they'll play at Tropicana Field again this year.

Wil Myers tied it with a two-run single on a jarring play in the seventh inning then pinch-hitter James Loney stunned the Orioles with a leadoff homer in the ninth, and the Rays completed a four-game sweep that put a serious damper in Baltimore's wild-card hopes with a 5-4 victory Monday.

"You can feel it, you can't necessarily describe it, but it's there," Rays manager Joe Maddon said "You know that your guys have that vibe going on. It's a good feeling."

The win pushed the Rays a game ahead of idle Cleveland for the top AL wild card. Baltimore fell five games back of the Indians with six games to go for both teams. Tampa Bay would host the wild-card game Oct. 2 if it could hold its position.

The Orioles also lost All-Star third baseman Manny Machado to a leg injury in the top of the seventh. Machado's left leg buckled when he stepped on first base running out an infield single. He was taken off on a stretcher.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter had no immediate update on Machado's injury as the team awaited test results. Machado will undergo an MRI on Tuesday (see full recap).

Reds clinch playoff spot with win over Mets
CINCINNATI -- Shin-Soo Choo drove in the winning run with a single off the wall in the 10th inning, and the Cincinnati Reds closed in on a wild-card berth by beating the New York Mets 3-2 on Monday night.

Second-place Cincinnati can clinch a playoff spot with one more win or a loss by Washington, which played at first-place St. Louis on Monday night. Manager Dusty Baker said there would be no celebration of a wild-card clinching, not with a second straight NL Central title still in play.

David Aardsma pitched out of a bases-loaded threat in the ninth, retiring Todd Frazier on a flyout. Greg Burke (0-3) gave up a one-out single by Devin Mesoraco in the 10th, and Derrick Robinson singled him to third (see full recap).

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