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Baseball-Highlights of Monday's Major League Baseball games

Reuters

(Adds late games)

Sept 23 (Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Monday's Major League Baseball games:

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Pirates 2, Cubs 1

The Pittsburgh Pirates earned their first playoff appearance in 21 years after a victory and a bit of a wait.

The Pirates' magic number fell to one with the win, and they clinched a berth in the postseason when the Cardinals beat the Nationals a little later. The Nationals' loss assured a playoff spot for both the Reds and Pirates, and it is Pittsburgh's first postseason berth since 1992.

Starling Marte broke a 1-1 tie with a solo home run in the ninth off Cubs reliever Kevin Gregg for the Pirates go-ahead run.

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Cardinals 4, Nationals 3

The St. Louis Cardinals moved a step closer to the National League Central title while eliminating the preseason darling Washington Nationals from playoff contention.

Adam Wainwright worked into the eighth inning for his 18th win, and the Cardinals handed the Nationals a killing defeat.

The win kept St. Louis (92-65) two games ahead of the Pirates and Reds in the National League Central. The Cardinals' magic number for winning the division title is four.

Carlos Beltran gave St. Louis a 4-2 lead in the fifth with his 24th homer, a two-run shot.

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Reds 3, Mets 2 (10)

Shin-Soo Choo's single off the wall in the 10th inning drove home with the winning run, lifting the Reds to a victory over the New York Mets and helping Cincinnati clinch a playoff berth.

Cincinnati (90-67) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (90-67) are both guaranteed at least wild-card bids thanks to the Washington Nationals losing 4-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Reds and Pirates remain tied for second place in the National League Central, two games behind the Cardinals.

In the 10th inning, Devin Mesoraco singled with one out and reached third on Derrick Robinson's single. Choo launched Sean Henn's pitch off the wall in left-center to win it.

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Rangers 12, Astros 0

The Texas Rangers cruised to a victory to begin a three-game series crucial to their wild-card hopes.

Lefty Derek Holland (10-9) went the distance to record his first win since Aug. 4, and right fielder Alex Rios led a 14-hit barrage by hitting for the cycle while collecting four RBIs.

The win moved the Rangers (85-71) one game back of idle Cleveland for the second wild-card spot with six games remaining.

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Rays 5, Orioles 4

Pinch-hitter James Loney led off the ninth inning with a game-ending home run against Tommy Hunter as the Tampa Bay Rays swept a four-game series from the reeling and suddenly battered Baltimore Orioles.

Tampa Bay (87-69) held onto the top wild-card spot in the American League by claiming its ninth win in 12 games. The Rays are one game ahead of the idle Cleveland Indians.

Baltimore (81-75) fell 5 1/2 games behind the Rays and five back of Cleveland for the second wild-card spot.

The loss was costly for Baltimore. All-Star third baseman Manny Machado suffered a season-ending left knee injury stepping awkwardly on first base running out a ground ball in the seventh inning. Machado's knee appeared to buckle inward and he went immediately to the dirt. He was removed from the field on a cart and will have an MRI on Tuesday.

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Brewers 5, Braves 0

Marco Estrada threw seven scoreless innings and added two singles, helping the Milwaukee Brewers earn a win over the Atlanta Braves.

Estrada (7-4) extended his winning streak to three by limiting the Braves to two hits. He struck out six and walked three while matching his season-best effort from Aug. 25, when he blanked the Cincinnati Reds for seven innings.

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Marlins 4, Phillies 0

Nate Eovaldi (4-6) allowed three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 scoreless innings as Miami shut out Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's Roy Halladay endured the shortest start of his career, lasting just one-third of an inning due to arm fatigue.

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White Sox 3, Blue Jays 2

Rookie Marcus Semien went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including his first big league home run, while fellow rookie Avisail Garcia added a solo homer to lead the White Sox to victory.

Ryan Goins led the Blue Jays by going 2-for-3 with an RBI, while J.A. Happ (4-7) took the loss after giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings.

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Twins 4, Tigers 3 (11)

The Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers with a Josmil Pinto walk-off single in the 11th inning, the win delaying any Detroit postseason plans for another day.

Detroit would have clinched a playoff berth with a win and they were up 3-0 in the eighth where the Twins rallied for two runs.

In the ninth, Brian Dozier, who had struggled at the plate all evening, hit his 18th homer of the season over the left-field fence to tie the game.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander struck out 12 in a playoff-ready performance and left with a 1-0 lead after six innings but it would not stand up.

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Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1

Nick Hundley hit a three-run homer and the San Diego Padres scored for the first time in three games on their way to a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Padres (73-83) scored for the first time since a 2-0 win Friday over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who blanked the Padres in wins Saturday and Sunday.

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A's 10, Angels 5

The Oakland A's began their warmup for the postseason with a victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

With their second consecutive American League West division title already secured, the A's got home runs from Jed Lowrie and Brandon Moss and moved within one game of Boston for the best record in the American League.

Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson and Coco Crisp added two hits apiece for the A's, who had 13 hits in all.

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Royals 6, Mariners 5 (12)

Kansas catcher Salvador Perez delivered a two-out, RBI double in the top of the 12th inning to help beat the Seattle Mariners and keep the Royals slim postseason hopes alive.

Kansas City (83-73) won their second extra-inning game in as many nights to move within three games of idle Cleveland in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.

Texas (85-71) are now one game behind the Indians in the wild-card race.

- - - - (Editing by Jahmal Corner/Amlan Chakraborty)

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