- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The AP’s daily wrap on the playoff races and what’s ahead in the final weeks:

_ RAIN GAIN: The Dodgers’ game at Washington was washed away by a storm that also caused the Yankees’ home game against Toronto to be postponed. It was still a productive day for the Nationals, whose NL East lead grew to 5 1/2 games when Atlanta lost 4-3 in 10 innings to Miami. The Orioles (84-64) beat the Mariners 4-2 in 18 innings to pull within a percentage point of the Yankees (83-63) for the lead in the AL East.

New York and Washington will each host a doubleheader on Wednesday. Philadelphia, trying to make a late charge for the NL wild card, also was rained out and will make up the game against the New York Mets on Thursday night, originally a day off for both clubs.

_ SLAMMIN’ CENTRAL: Miguel Cabrera hit a grand slam among his two homers and had six RBIs in Detroit’s 12-2 victory over wild card-leading Oakland to remain three games behind the White Sox in the AL Central. Chicago rode Alex Rios’ seventh-inning homer to a 3-2 win over Kansas City.

_ SEPTEMBER SWOON: The Pirates fell to 4-12 in September with a 6-0 loss to Milwaukee. Looking for its first playoff berth and winning season since 1992, Pittsburgh dropped to 74-73 and slipped 3 1/2 games adrift of St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot.

_ NEXT UP: Tigers ace Justin Verlander (14-8, 2.82 ERA) faces Oakland’s Brett Anderson, who is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA since returning from Tommy John surgery.

_ CHASE CHATTER: “We haven’t been playing the way we’ve wanted to play lately. We’re still coming in with the attitude that we’re in this thing,” Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett said.

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