Tampa and New York joined the clinching party, locking up their playoff spots, while the AL East remains undetermined. Their wins, delivered by David Price and C.C. Sabathia respectively, were part of what must have been a Cy Young audition night. Price threw eight shutout innings against Baltimore, won his 19th and lowered his ERA to 2.73. Sabathia won #21 over Toronto, giving up only one run in 8.1 IP. And Felix Hernandez got in on the act too, shutting down Texas to lower his ERA to a league-leading 2.27 and move his record to 13-12. No one knows the mind of the voters, but this win may have been decisive for King Felix. Voters who want to pick him might have had a tough time overlooking a .500 record or a losing one, but now he's got that cleared and can allow everyone to focus on just how dazzling he's been this season.
In the three-team race for the last two National League playoff spots, San Diego continued to falter, losing at home to Chicago 5-2. Mat Latos has dropped his fourth straight decision and none of those have been hard-luck losses. The Padres desperately need their ace to be ready for the weekend when they make a last stand against San Francisco. The Giants moved their lead to two games behind the bats of Juan Uribe and Pablo Sandoval in beating Arizona 4-2. And Atlanta kept San Diego at bay in the wild-card race, beating Florida 3-2.
Minnesota needs to snap back into playing baseball. Since their clinching, the Twins have been swept in Detroit and were buried in Kansas City yesterday, as Nick Blackburn regressed to early season form and gave up eight runs in 4.1 IP. The Twins are playing themselves out of the top seed in the AL playoffs, though they will still host the opening of the Division Series.
Finally, belated congratulations to Philadelphia for putting a lock on their fourth straight NL East title on Monday night. With yesterday's post devoted to a season-ending All-Star ballot, there was no room for celebrating the Phils. But they have bigger fish to fry anyway--simply winning the National League pennant would be historic, as no team has won three in row since World War II.