- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The New York Mets clinched a playoff spot Saturday, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 to secure the top National League wild card.

The defending NL champions will host San Francisco or St. Louis on Wednesday night at Citi Field, with the winner advancing to face the Chicago Cubs.

James Loney hit a two-run homer to back Bartolo Colon (15-8), and Jeurys Familia closed for his major league-high 51st save. T.J. Rivera, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera each had an RBI single.

The only other time the Mets made the postseason in consecutive years was 1999-2000. New York won the NL East last season and went all the way to the World Series before losing to Kansas City.

By clinching with one day to spare in the regular season, the Mets can save All-Star ace Noah Syndergaard for the wild-card game. The big right-hander could still get a brief tuneup Sunday against the Phillies, but should be fresh for Wednesday.

Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in what was likely his penultimate game with the Phillies, who have dropped six straight. Patrick Schuster (0-1) took the loss.

GIANTS 3, DODGERS 0

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Giants rookie Ty Blach outpitched ace Clayton Kershaw, and San Francisco held its lead for the last NL playoff spot going into the final day of the regular season.

The Giants stayed one game ahead of St. Louis for the second wild card.

Blach (1-0) earned his first big league victory, pitching eight innings of three-hit ball. He struck out six and walked one in his second start in the majors, and also got his first two hits.

Sergio Romo closed for his fourth save.

Angel Pagan homered in the fifth off Kershaw (12-4) to break a scoreless tie. Kershaw will start Game 1 of the Division Series against Washington - the Los Angeles loss gave the Nationals home-field advantage.

CARDINALS 4, PIRATES 3

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jedd Gyorko hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning, Matt Holliday provided another big boost and St. Louis pushed the playoff race to the final day.

The Cardinals trail San Francisco by one game for the second NL wild card.

Gyorko’s 30th homer came off Felipe Rivero (1-6).

Kevin Siegrist (6-3) pitched the eighth. Seung Hwan Oh left runners at second and third for his 19th save.

YANKEES 7, ORIOLES 3

NEW YORK (AP) - Tyler Austin tied the score with a seventh-inning home run, Austin Romine and Brett Gardner drove in two runs each in the eighth and New York rallied from a three-run deficit to stall Baltimore’s playoff push.

Thanks to Detroit’s loss Saturday night, however, Baltimore (88-73) can clinch an AL wild card with a win Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

All-Star setup man Brad Brach (10-4) took the loss. He was charged with a season-high four runs.

Tyler Clippard (2-3) pitched a perfect eighth, and Dellin Betances struck out the side after an infield hit in the ninth. The Yankees stopped the Orioles’ three-game winning streak and sent them to their second loss in eight games.

Mark Trumbo had four hits for Baltimore, which built a 3-0 lead against Luis Severino on Michael Bourn’s two-run single and Manny Machado’s 37th home run. Machado’s third-inning, opposite-field drive to right ended an 0-for-17 slide.

BRAVES 5, TIGERS 3

ATLANTA (AP) - Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis homered, rookie Aaron Blair had a career-high 10 strikeouts and last-place Atlanta damaged Detroit’s playoff hopes.

Detroit began the day a half-game behind Toronto for the second AL wild card. The loss meant the Tigers no longer controlled their own fate.

The Tigers will have ace Justin Verlander on the mound Sunday. Depending on the playoff scenario, Detroit’s regular season might extend with a makeup home game Monday against Cleveland.

Atlanta took a 5-2 lead in the seventh on Adonis Garcia’s two-run single, but reliever Mauricio Cabrera loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth. Chaz Roe struck out Miguel Cabrera and got J.D. Martinez to ground into a double play.

Braves closer Jim Johnson gave up a run in the ninth on Jose Iglesias’ infield single but retired pinch-hitter Victor Martinez to earn his 19th save. The Braves have won 11 of 13 heading into the last game at Turner Field.

Blair (2-7) entered with an 8.02 ERA but gave up four hits and two runs in five innings.

Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann (9-7) went four innings and is 0-4 with an 11.64 ERA in four starts since June 24.

NATIONALS 2, MARLINS 1

WASHINGTON (AP) - Nationals rookie Trea Turner hit his 13th homer, Tanner Roark tuned up for the playoffs with 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and Washington beat Miami while clinching home-field advantage in the NL Division Series.

NL East champion Washington’s third trip to the postseason in five years will begin Friday in the nation’s capital against the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, with Max Scherzer slated to face Clayton Kershaw.

The Nationals, it turned out, didn’t need to beat the Marlins - which they did, thanks to Turner, Roark (16-10) and Bryce Harper’s RBI single. The Dodgers’ loss to San Francisco assured Washington a better record and was announced before the bottom of the seventh to the Nationals Park crowd of 31,635, which responded with a standing ovation.

Wei-Yin Chen (5-5) allowed two runs in five innings.

Mark Melancon got four outs for his 46th save.

INDIANS 6, ROYALS 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Francisco Lindor hit a two-out, two-run double during an eighth-inning rally to help Cleveland beat Kansas City .

Kevin McCarthy replaced Matt Strahm (2-2) with a runner on and walked the bases loaded before Lindor’s double over third base.

Mike Clevinger (3-3) won for the AL Central champs by retiring the only two batters he faced. Cody Allen worked the ninth for his 31st save in 34 opportunities.

Trevor Bauer tuned up for the postseason by striking out nine over six innings of three-run ball. Bauer will start Game 1 of the Division Series against Boston.

REDS 7, CUBS 4

CINCINNATI (AP) - Jon Lester failed to become a 20-game winner, struggling for the first time since mid-July as the Reds pulled away to a victory over what’s likely to be the Cubs‘ lineup for the first game of the playoffs.

Lester (19-5) gave up five runs in five innings, including Eugenio Suarez’s two-run homer and a pair of RBIs by Joey Votto. The left-hander hadn’t allowed five runs in a start since July 9.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been getting players - especially his starting pitchers - some rest heading into the postseason. Even so, the Cubs have won eight of 12, finishing one of their best regular seasons with a flourish. Chicago’s 102 victories are its most since 1910.

Tim Adleman (4-4) gave up three runs in five innings as part of a rare Reds victory over Chicago.

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