Braves clinch playoff berth; Tigers tie White Sox

Here’s how the pennant races look with eight days to go:

_ REDEMPTION: Chipper Jones and the Braves are back in the playoffs after missing out last season following a massive September collapse. Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning that lifted Atlanta over Miami 4-3 on Tuesday night, clinching at least an NL wild-card berth for the Braves. The 40-year-old Jones, who plans to retire after the season, started the winning rally with a double.

_ ALL SQUARE: After chasing the White Sox for more than three weeks, Detroit finally forged a tie atop the AL Central when Anibal Sanchez threw a three-hitter in a 2-0 win over Kansas City. Hours earlier, Chicago lost 4-3 to Cleveland for its sixth defeat in seven games. The Tigers have made up three games in a week on the White Sox, who had been alone in first place since Sept. 3.

_ NEXT UP: Texas and Oakland resume their pivotal series Wednesday night after splitting a pair of one-run decisions. The A’s trail the first-place Rangers by four games in the AL West but hold a two-game lead over the Angels for the league’s second wild card. Los Angeles faces Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in a late game.

_ ON THE MEND: Cincinnati will be without manager Dusty Baker for the rest of the week. Baker met with Reds players and revealed he suffered a mini-stroke in addition to being treated for an irregular heartbeat last week. The 63-year-old skipper hopes to return to the dugout next week as the NL Central champions try to earn home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

_ CLOSING IN: With seven games to play, St. Louis has a 4 1/2-game cushion over the Brewers and Dodgers in the race for the second NL wild card. Jaime Garcia pitched the defending champion Cardinals to a 4-0 victory at Houston. Milwaukee and Los Angeles both lost.

_ CHASE CHATTER: “There was never any doubt. We knew that last year was somewhat of a fluke.” _ Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones after the Braves, who blew a huge wild-card lead last September, punched their postseason ticket.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player