Playoff chase: A's, Braves, Cards clinch - NBC Sports

Playoff chase: A's, Braves, Cards clinch
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Atlanta Braves' Craig Kimbrel celebrates with teammates as he takes a drink after the Braves clinched the NL East title with a 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs in a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/David Banks, Pool)
September 23, 2013, 6:17 am

Atlanta won the NL East and Oakland the AL West on Sunday, while St. Louis is assured of no worse than a wild card. A quick look at baseball's playoff picture:

TITLE TIME: The Braves clinched their first NL East title since 2005, then rode two homers by Andrelton Simmons to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs that touched off a wild party in the cramped visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field. Coco Crisp hit a three-run homer, Daric Barton and Jed Lowrie each had solo shots and the Athletics wrapped up their second straight AL West title while overpowering the Minnesota Twins 11-7.

IN, BUT WORK TO DO: St. Louis clinched a playoff berth before taking the field when Washington lost its doubleheader opener at Miami. The Cardinals lead the NL Central by two games over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

STALLED: With Cleveland off Monday, Detroit will have to wait until at least Tuesday to clinch the AL Central. Justin Verlander starts on Monday night at Minnesota for the Tigers.

MAGIC MATH: Texas enters Monday 1 1/2 games back of Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot, while Kansas City is 3 1/2 behind, the New York Yankees are four games out and Baltimore trails by 4 1/2. In the NL, Washington is five games behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, the wild-card co-leaders.

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