The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a playoff spot after a terrible 30-42 start and the Boston Red Sox have made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. All this and more in a quick look at baseball's playoff picture.
THEY'RE IN: The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 7-6 to clinch the NL West title, and then celebrated with a quick dip in the swimming pool at Chase Field. The display irked Arizona general manager Kevin Towers and other members of the organization, but there was little that could be done.
Despite an NL-high payroll of $214 million-plus on opening day, the Dodgers got off to a 30-42 start and were last in the division before play on June 22. Los Angeles has gone 58-23 since, including an unreal 42-8 run.
"I want to keep going. I think that we've got a couple of more steps to do. We've got to keep working and stay together all the way through to the end," Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who had four hits and four RBIs in Los Angeles' division-clinching victory at Arizona.
Ramirez, hit a three-run homer in the third inning and a tying solo shot in the seventh. It was his 14th career multihomer game and first since Aug. 18 of last year.
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It was fitting he was the star of the clinching win.
"We're a veteran ballclub," Adrian Gonzalez said. "We understand it's not how you start, it's how you finish."
WORK TO DO: The Red Sox clinched their first postseason berth since 2009, but they were mostly quiet following a 3-1 victory against Baltimore. The win secured at least a wild card for Boston and lowered its magic number to one for clinching the AL East.
The win against Baltimore ensured Boston at least a wild-card berth and lowered its magic number to one for clinching the AL East. A year ago, under Bobby valentine, the Red Sox finished 69-93 record — their worst since 1965.
"We've still got some other goals ahead of us," Lackey said. "Hopefully, here in the next night or two we can get a party going."
CENTRAL MATTERS: Pittsburgh stopped a three-game slide with a 10-1 victory over San Diego. St. Louis then lost 7-6 in 15 innings in Colorado, leaving the Pirates just one game back of the division-leading Cardinals in the crowded NL Central.
Pittsburgh hosts third-place Cincinnati on Friday night in the opener of a pivotal weekend set. The Reds are two games back of St. Louis, which is at Milwaukee on Friday night.
WILD, INDEED: The Rangers salvaged a split of their four-game series against the Rays, leaving the teams tied atop the AL wild-card race. Elvis Andrus drove in three runs in Texas' 8-2 victory at Tampa Bay.
Cleveland beat Houston 2-1 in 11 innings and trails the wild-card leaders by a half-game. The Rangers and Rays have 10 games left, while the Indians have nine games remaining.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.