Playoff chase: Rays, Royals win; NL Central tied

It was a good night for Tampa Bay and Kansas City in the AL wild-card race. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers are falling fast and the NL Central remains tied with 12 games to play. A quick look at baseball’s playoff picture:

HEAD TO HEAD: Four of the six teams vying for the two AL wild-card berths squared off against a fellow contender Monday night. Tampa Bay took the lead for the first spot by beating Texas 6-2, handing the Rangers their seventh straight defeat. Kansas City moved within 2 1/2 games of Texas for the second slot with a 7-1 victory over the Indians, who remained a half-game behind the Rangers. Baltimore is two back, and the New York Yankees are 2 1/2 out.

TRAGEDY: The Washington Nationals postponed their game against Atlanta following shootings at the nearby Navy Yard. The game was rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday, when a sweep would clinch the Braves’ first NL East title since 2005.

ALMOST PERFECT: Seeking their first playoff trip since 1992, the Pirates ran into quite a road block. Andrew Cashner carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and faced the minimum 27 batters in a one-hitter that sent San Diego past Pittsburgh 2-0. Jose Tabata singled off Cashner to start the seventh but was erased on a double play. The Padres are the only big league franchise without a no-hitter.

CARDS DECKED: Despite their loss, the Pirates remained tied with St. Louis atop the NL Central when the Cardinals’ normally reliable relievers gave up four runs in the eighth inning of a 6-2 loss at Colorado. “Overall our bullpen has been very, very good,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “They will bounce back.”

DIVISION DREAMS: Detroit beat Seattle 4-2 behind Rick Porcello to move a step closer to its third consecutive AL Central title. The Tigers lead second-place Cleveland by six games with 12 to play. … Out in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten 2-1 at Arizona. With their fourth loss in a row and the Diamondbacks’ third straight win, the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the division stayed stuck on four.

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