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Big League Stew

The Juice: Reds rip Pirates to pull even in wild card race

David Brown
Big League Stew

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It's the final week of season No. 6 of the Juice! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

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Reds 11, Pirates 3: In game with subtle but important playoff implications, the Cincinnati Reds jumped all over the Pittsburgh Pirates for five runs in the first inning and cruised to an 11-3 victory Sunday. By doing so, the Reds pulled even with the Pirates in the wild-card race. Why might that be important?

Via MLB. com, Reds outfielder Chris Heisey has done the math:

"If we're going to play a one-game playoff, we sure would like to do it at home," said Heisey, who snapped an 0-for-20 skid with three hits and two RBIs. "If we fell two games behind today, it would have been an uphill battle the rest of the way. We've played a lot better at home this year than we have on the road. Hopefully it doesn't, but if it does come down to that last game, hopefully it comes at home."

Jay Bruce hit a three-run double and Todd Frazier hit a home run to cap the Reds' big outburst in the first. Billy Hamilton had three hits and stole two bases, making him 12 for 12 this season.

The Pirates, still on the verge of clinching their first playoff spot since 1992, aren't collapsing — but they are fading a little. They went 5-6 on their final homestand of the season. Left-hander Jeff Locke, an All-Star in July, is fading a lot. Perhaps enough to keep him off the Bucs postseason roster. He has a 6.12 ERA in the second half.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 4: The Pirates and Reds will need more help like this from Cardinals opponents this week.

Indians 9, Astros 2: "'We've got a week to go and we're in a fun spot,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''We have to keep winning.''

Rays 3, Orioles 1: Unable to handle rookie Enny Romero and five relievers the O's sit 4 1/2 games out of the wild card, the greatest distance among teams still mathematically alive.

Athletics 11, Twins 7: Crowned the AL West for the second straight season, the A's will be tough to beat at the Coliseum in the playoffs.

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: Boston leads Oakland by a hair in the race for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

White Sox 6, Tigers 3: Obnoxious White Sox. Tuesday is the earliest the Tigers could clinch the AL Central.

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Giants 2, Yankees 1: Exit Sandman, exit Andy Pettitte and exit Yankees playoff hopes. They're four games out of the wild card.

''We're still alive, but this one really hurt,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''It's tough.''

Braves 5, Cubs 2: Atlanta's reward for winning the NL East is to celebrate inside of the closet that is the visitor's clubhouse at Wrigley Field.

Marlins 4-4, Nationals 2-5: The Nats are five games back in the wild-card race with six to go.

Mets 4, Phillies 3: Make it 100 career saves for LaTroy Hawkins.

Royals 4, Rangers 0 (10 inn.): Staring down Joakim Soria and hitting a game-ending granny was nothing for Jason Maxwell when compared to the pie/cooler/hug assault that followed.

Mariners 3, Angels 2: "B" is for 23-minute bee delay.

Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 9: Nice, old-fashioned slugfest at Coors. Matt Davidson of the Rockies hit a three-run homer for the second straight game.

Dodgers 1, Padres 0: Right-handed ace Zack Greinke has an 1.59 ERA in 11 starts since July 25.

''This is only one celebration of four, hopefully."

— Braves slugger Freddie Freeman, after clinching the NL East

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The A's win the division, so fans in Oakland get the hose from Grant Balfour. (Getty)

• STATS says the Indians are the first team since the '61 Yankees to post six sweeps of four-game series in a single season.

• The Cards lead the majors with 34 victories by rookie pitchers.

• The A's own 16 division titles and 25 playoff appearances.

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