MLB

11 days in August: How the Jays, Cubs and Mets seized playoff leads

<p>NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his home run as he walks into the dugout in the first inning against the New York Yankees on August 9, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)<br> <br> CHICAGO, IL - JULY 25: Jorge Soler #68 of the Chicago Cubs looks on during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Phillies defeated the Cubs 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)<br> MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets runs to second base during a MLB game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)<br> <br> </p>

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his home run as he walks into the dugout in the first inning against the New York Yankees on August 9, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 25: Jorge Soler #68 of the Chicago Cubs looks on during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Phillies defeated the Cubs 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets runs to second base during a MLB game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

How much can happen in less than two weeks? Plenty.

When the final pitch was thrown on the Aug. 1 schedule, the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets were all on the outside looking in when it came to the playoff chase.

As play begins Thursday, all three teams are leading either their division or the wild-card race. Credit a collective 26-3 record by this red-hot trio of contenders.

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The biggest catalyst for each team:

Blue Jays: Sure, newcomers Troy Tulowitzki and David Price have done their parts, but Josh Donaldson has been even more productive. In this 10-game span, Donaldson is hitting .324/.444/.784 with 5 homers and 10 RBI, cementing his status as an AL MVP candidate.

Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon's decision to insert rookie Kyle Schwarber's bat into the lineup stole the headlines (Schwarber has 2 homers, 2 doubles and 8 RBI in his past 8 games). But right fielder Jorge Soler is hitting .323 with a .417 on-base percentage and 8 RBI in his past 9 games and just had a 10-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday.

Mets: As first baseman Lucas Duda cooled, center fielder Curtis Granderson caught fire. In his past 10 games, Granderson has 3 homers, 10 RBI, 7 runs scored and a .513 slugging percentage. Remember, incoming slugger Yoenis Cespedes didn't hit his first homer for New York until Wednesday.