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Another shutout leads to a sweep of Kansas City for the Orioles

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Another shutout leads to a sweep of Kansas City for the Orioles

BALTIMORE-- Jeremy Hellickson threw seven outstanding innings in his Orioles debut, Caleb Joseph homered and Baltimore beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.

Playing in his second game with Baltimore, Tim Beckham doubled, tripled and drove in two runs.

The Orioles' five-game winning streak is their longest since early May, and they now stand just 2 games behind Kansas City for the second AL wild-card slot.

The Royals had won 10 of 11 before coming up flat at Camden Yards, scoring only three runs in 27 innings. They showed their frustration in the ninth inning, when Mike Moustakas was tossed after complaining about a third-strike call and manager Ned Yost was ejected for joining the argument.

Hellickson (1-0) was obtained Saturday from Philadelphia, the first of two significant trades by the Orioles to fortify the roster for a potential playoff run. The right-hander paid immediate returns, limiting Kansas City to five hits, issuing one walk and allowing only one runner to reach third base.

After going 6-5 with the Phillies, Hellickson turned in his best performance of the season to earn his second win in 12 starts since May 19.

He received offensive backing from Beckham, acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay on Monday just before the non-waiver trade deadline expired.

Mychal Givens worked a perfect eighth and Darren O'Day completed Baltimore's seventh shutout.

Baltimore went up 3-0 in the second inning against Jason Vargas (13-5) when Beckham doubled in a run and Joseph followed with a two-out drive into the left-field seats.

After Hellickson retired the first two batters in the third, a sudden rain shower forced a 35-minute delay. When play resumed, Hellickson gave up a single and hit a batter before retiring Eric Hosmer on a fly ball.

It would be the only time until the sixth inning that Kansas City got a runner to second base.

In the sixth, Melky Cabrera drew a leadoff walk and went to third on a double by Hosmer. Hellickson then caught a popup by Salvador Perez, struck out Moustakas and retired Jorge Bonifacio on a weak grounder to first.

Baltimore made it 6-0 in the eighth when Chris Davis doubled in two runs and scored on a triple by Beckham.

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0