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Braves, Athletics clinch division crowns, Cardinals reach playoffs for 3rd straight year

The Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals can start planning for the playoffs.

All three teams clinched postseason spots Sunday. They joined Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers with guaranteed dates for October.

The Braves won their first NL East crown since 2005 and the Athletics took their second straight AL West title. The Cardinals are still trying to win the NL Central, but are assured of at least a wild-card berth.

With a week left in the regular season, the race for the two AL wild-card spots is still tangled. Tampa Bay is a half-game ahead of Cleveland, with Texas 1½ games behind the Indians.

Kansas City, the New York and Baltimore are lagging farther behind. In the NL, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are tied for the wild-card slots.

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