Tonight in MLB: Cards closing in on Central title

Tonight in MLB: Cards closing in on Central title
September 24, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Carlos Beltran has hit .298 with 24 home runs this season. (USA Today Images)

Roy Halladay threw just 16 pitches in the shortest outing of his career as the Phils went on to lose 4-0 to the Marlins (see story).

Here's a look at notable games around the majors on Tuesday:

Nationals at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m.
The St. Louis Cardinals eliminated the Washington Nationals again.

Another victory pulls them closer to an NL Central title.

Carlos Beltran looks to continue pounding the Nationals on Tuesday night and help the Cardinals beat them for a fifth straight time since last fall.

St. Louis (92-65) beat Washington in five games during last year's division series and has won all four regular-season meetings this year.

The Cardinals opening this three-game set with a 4-3 victory Monday knocked the Nationals out of contention for the two wild-card spots, allowing division rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to clinch (see full preview).

Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m.
The Tampa Bay Rays are in good position to ensure they will play one more game at home.

In order for the New York Yankees to finish ahead of Tampa Bay, they must sweep this week's three-game series in the Bronx.

The Rays can guarantee themselves a second-place AL East finish and take another step toward the playoffs when they send Matt Moore to the mound in Tuesday night's opener.

Tampa Bay (87-69) owns the AL's top wild-card, with a one-game lead over Cleveland. The Rays have a magic number of five to reach the playoffs (see full preview).

Astros at Rangers, 8:05 p.m.
Yu Darvish nearly pitched a perfect game against the Houston Astros this year, then nearly no-hit baseball's worst team.

What's less memorable is that the Texas Rangers ace lost in his lone home start of the year against Houston.

The Rangers are winless in Darvish's last four home starts, but he will be heavily favored in this one with his club on a nine-game win streak versus the Astros heading into Tuesday night's matchup.

Texas (85-71) is one game behind Cleveland for the AL's second wild card and two behind Tampa Bay. The Rangers improved to 15-2 against Houston with a 12-0 rout Monday to open this three-game set (see full preview).

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