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

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

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST UPDATE ON THE AMERICAN LEAGUE AND NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD RACES

In the span of a couple of games on Tuesday night, one MLB postseason race was re-ignited, one was almost wrapped up, and one saw no changes in the standings.

The Minnesota Twins rallied after trailing the AL-best Cleveland Indians 6-4 heading into the eighth inning. Brian Dozier delivered a pivotal three-run opposite-field homerun to put the Twins on top and have the team one win away from the postseason.

Surprisingly the American League East has re-opened up their battle after it appeared the Red Sox had taken care of business last weekend. The Yankees are riding a two-game winning streak while Boston has lost two straight.

In the race for the second Wild Card in the National League, all three teams won, essentially changing nothing as they move to five games away from the playoffs.

Only three postseason spots remain with six teams alive in the race.

NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

With the Minnesota Twins (83-74) improbable victory on Tuesday, three teams saw their postseason hopes dashed. The Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers will not be competing in the 2017 postseason.

Relying on multiple Twins losses the rest of the way, the Los Angeles Angels (78-79) did not gain any ground on Minnesota for the second Wild Card in the American League. The Angels took care of the White Sox handily with a six-run second inning in a 9-3 win. But with the Twins victory, that many anticipated would be a loss, Los Angeles is five games back.

Minnesota can clinch the second Wild Card berth out-right on Wednesday night with either a win over Cleveland or a loss by the Angels in Chicago.

Now seen as an after-thought in the American League Wild Card race, the New York Yankees (88-69) are guaranteed at least one home game in this year’s postseason. The team can place no worse than fourth in the American League bracket after a 6-1 win over Tampa Bay. Chasing the Boston Red Sox (91-66) for the AL East title, the Yankees are only three games back with five games to go. 

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 27):

New York Yankees:     +5.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
Los Angeles Angels:     -5.0                     
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Based on Tuesday’s results, the National Wild Card race saw little changes. One difference now though is how the race will play out in the final weekend.

Besides the Twins upsetting the Indians, the biggest shock of the night was the St. Louis Cardinals (82-75) holding on to beat the Chicago Cubs. Although out of the NL Central race, the Cardinals nabbed a crucial victory to stay within striking distance of the Rockies. Still a tough task ahead with the Cubs up for two more games.

Getting back in the win column, the Colorado Rockies (85-73) shutout the Marlins and the Milwaukee Brewers (83-74) held off the Reds.

Keep in mind that even though the Rockies have a decent 1.5 game advantage, they do face the Los Angeles Dodgers after two more games against the Marlins. However, the Dodgers claimed the No. 1 seed in the National League last night and seem to just be cruising to the postseason. Also the Cardinals and Brewers finish with a three-game series in St. Louis.

Entering today, FanGraphs.com has Colorado projected to win the second Wild Card spot at 74.1 percent.  Milwaukee, who still technically in the NL Central race, but five games back, sits at 18.9 percent. Rounding out the race, St. Louis has a mere 6.9 percent to claim the second Wild Card.

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 27):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -1.5              
St. Louis Cardinals:               -2.5    

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Orioles unable to punch in final run late against Rangers

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Orioles unable to punch in final run late against Rangers

BALTIMORE -- Ryan Rua had a tiebreaking, pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Texas Rangers held on to beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 Friday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Cole Hamels (5-8) won for the first time in almost a month, allowing four runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk over 6 1/3 innings in a matchup of last-place teams.

Rua broke a 1-1 deadlock with the first pinch-hit of his career, off rookie Tanner Scott. Nomar Mazara added an RBI double later that inning, which made it 5-1 and boosted Scott's ERA from 5.88 to 6.84 over 26 appearances.

Baltimore pulled within a run on Caleb Joseph's three-run double against reliever Jose Leclerc in the bottom half of the inning. The Orioles loaded the bases in the eighth but Jake Diekman got out of the jam by getting Chris Davis on a short pop out.

Keone Kela got the last three outs for his 23rd save.

The Orioles have lost 17 of 20 and fell to 14-33 at Camden Yards, the second-worst home mark in the majors behind Kansas City.

Joey Gallo gave the Rangers the lead when he led off the fifth with a home run off Alex Cobb (2-12). The Orioles answered in the bottom half when Adam Jones hit a double just inside the left-field foul line and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia.

Cobb left his previous start against the Twins in the sixth inning with a blister on his right index finger. He did not appear hampered by the injury and allowed two runs and six hits with three strikeouts and no walks over 6 1/3 innings.

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Gibson strikes out nine as Twins beat Orioles 5-4

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Gibson strikes out nine as Twins beat Orioles 5-4

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Bobby Wilson helped Kyle Gibson turn around his pitching after a rough first inning. Then, for at least one afternoon, the veteran catcher fixed his own struggles at the plate.

Wilson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Gibson recovered from a shaky first to throw seven innings, and the Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 on Saturday.

Max Kepler homered in his second straight game to help send the Twins to their third win in a row.

"You take them any way you can get them," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We haven't had the luxury of any kind of run here as of late, so to start out the home stand with three, it feels pretty good."

The Twins didn't bring in Wilson for his offense -- his two-hit day raised his batting average to .134 -- so they're not expecting him to deliver game-turning hits on a regular basis. But that's exactly what he did with an RBI single in the fifth that made it 3-2, and a two-RBI double the next inning that proved the game-winner.

It was Wilson's first multi-hit game since Sept. 21, 2016.

"I feel like I've been doing everything I can defensively but it's time to start turning that corner and start contributing offensively as well," Wilson said.

Earlier in the day, the team needed Wilson's smarts behind the plate to recover from an early hole.

Gibson (3-6) allowed three runs in the first inning -- including a two-run homer by Chris Davis -- but only gave up two hits after that while striking out nine. It was Gibson's highest strikeout total since fanning 10 batters on April 26 against the New York Yankees.

"After the first inning we sat down and I said `Gibby talk to me, what do we got to do? What's going to turn this around?' So we talked about a few things and we kind of stuck with that game plan for the rest of the game," Wilson said.

Kepler's solo shot off Kevin Gausman sparked a three-run fifth that tied it. Wilson's two-run double off Miguel Castro (2-5) in the sixth gave Minnesota the lead for good.

Trevor Hildenberger worked a scoreless eighth for the Twins. Jace Peterson's RBI double off Fernando Rodney pulled the Orioles to 5-4, but Rodney got Tim Beckham on a grounder to short to convert his 19th save in 24 chances.

PUNCHLESS ORIOLES

The team with baseball's worst record, meanwhile, lost its fifth in the row and fell 40 games below .500.

"It's kind of hard to believe that's where we're at right now," Davis said. "I feel like anytime we start to build some momentum, we either give it right back to the other team or we do something to kind of take ourselves out of the game."

That certainly seemed the case Saturday.

Coming off his best start of the season against the L.A. Angels, Gausman had a 3-0 lead before ever taking the mound and looked sharp early. Gausman faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings, and allowed a single hit through the first four.

But things turned quickly in the fifth. With one out, Kepler homered to left-center, Robbie Grossman doubled, and Jake Cave and Wilson followed with singles. After Joe Mauer walked, Cave scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.

"I don't think I really got away from anything. They just did a good job of battling and put some long at-bats together, and fought some pitches off and really got my pitch count off."

Gausman, who held the Angels to one run and two hits without a walk in eight innings last Sunday, didn't return for the sixth.

TURNING POINT

The Orioles loaded the bases in the third with two outs, but Gibson struck out Danny Valencia swinging to end the threat. After that, Gibson allowed a leadoff double to Jonathan Schoop before retiring 10 in a row.

"We scored three in the first and then just didn't do anything," manager Buck Showalter said. We had a chance to open it up there, but that's the hit that's been eluding us to really get to that five or six-run lead."

TRAINERS ROOM

Orioles: OF Trey Mancini got a rare day off, but manager Buck Showalter said he was fine. The manager said it was more about getting Peterson a chance to play. Peterson went 1-for-3 on Saturday.

RIPKEN'S RECORD

Davis' strikeout against Hildenberger in the eighth was the 1,306th of his career, moving him past Cal Ripken, Jr. for Baltimore's franchise record.

"You play long enough, you're going to swing and miss enough to apparently set some records. There's not really much to say about that," Davis said.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Alex Cobb (2-10) takes the mound for Baltimore in the finale. He hasn't won since June 5 against the New York Mets.

Twins: Jake Odorizzi (3-6) makes his 19th start of the year as the Twins go for the sweep. His last outing against Baltimore was March 29, when he shut out the Orioles over six innings on two hits and two walks.