Bucs end long playoff drought

CHICAGO — The Pittsburgh Pirates are headed to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, clinching at least a National League wild card Monday night when they beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 and the Washington Nationals lost to St. Louis.

It will be Pittsburgh's first trip to the postseason since Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and Co. won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Bonds then left for San Francisco as a free agent, and the small-budget Pirates piled up 20 consecutive losing seasons — the longest streak in major professional sports.

Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking homer off Kevin Gregg (2-6) in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field, and the Pirates threw out a runner at the plate for the final out. Back in the visitors' clubhouse, they doused each other in champagne once St. Louis' 4-3 win over the Nationals went final.

Cincinnati also clinched at least a wild-card berth when it beat the Mets. The Pirates and Reds both trail first-place St. Louis by two games in the NL Central with five to go.

Chicago tied it in the eighth against Mark Melancon (3-2). Jason Grili escaped with his 32nd save in 34 chances.

Reds 3, Mets 2, 10 innings

At Cincinnati, Shin-Soo Choo drove in the winning run with a single off the wall in the 10th inning, and Cincinnati secured a playoff spot after beating New York.

Greg Burke (0-3) gave up a one-out single by Devin Mesoraco in the 10th, and Derrick Robinson singled him to third. Choo followed with his third hit of the game off left-hander Sean Henn.

Manny Parra (2-3) allowed one hit in the 10th.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 3

At St. Louis, Carlos Beltran homered, Adam Wainwright earned his 18th win and St. Louis eliminated Washington from playoff contention.

Looking for their first NL Central title since 2009, the Cardinals maintained a two-game lead over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh with five to play.

All three teams are headed to the postseason. St. Louis secured no worse than a wild card on Sunday.

Brewers 5, Braves 0

At Atlanta, Marco Estrada pitched two-hit ball for seven innings and Milwaukee belted three homers against Atlanta.

The NL East champion Braves are a half-game ahead of St. Louis for the best record in the National League.

Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez went deep for the Brewers. Estrada (7-4) threw a career-high 115 pitches.

Marlins 4, Phillies 0

At Miami, Nathan Eovaldi pitched into the eighth inning to help Miami blank Philadelphia.

Justin Ruggiano drew a bases-loaded walk in the first inning and the Marlins scored three runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Donovan Solando and Ed Lucas and a sacrifice fly by Christian Yelich.

Eovaldi (4-6) allowed three hits over 72/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1

At San Diego, Eric Stults allowed one run over 61/3 innings and Nick Hundley hit a three-run homer to lead San Diego over Arizona.

It was the second straight victory for Stults (10-13) after ending a 10-game winless streak. He dropped his first six second-half decisions before winning his previous outing against Pittsburgh.

Huston Street worked the ninth for his 33rd save in 34 chances. Hundley connected off Brandon McCarthy (5-10). The Padres were shut out the previous two games by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

American League

Rays 5, Orioles 4

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Wil Myers tied it with a two-run single on a jarring play in the seventh inning then pinch-hitter James Loney stunned the Orioles with a leadoff homer in the ninth, and Tampa Bay completed a four-game sweep that put a serious damper in Baltimore's wild-card hopes.

The Orioles lost All-Star third baseman Manny Machado to a leg injury in the top of the seventh.

With the bases loaded, two outs and trailing 4-2 in the seventh, Myers sent a flare behind second base. Second baseman Alexi Casilla, who entered the game in the eighth, made a fully extended diving catch but he collided with Nick Markakis, racing in toward the ball from right field. The ball came loose and two runs scored.

Rangers 12, Astros 0

At Arlington, Texas, Alex Rios hit for the cycle and Derek Holland struck out nine in his second shutout of the season as Texas started its final push for a playoff spot.

The Rangers pulled within a game of idle Cleveland for the second AL wild-card berth with six games remaining.

Rios finished off the cycle with a triple to right-center field in the sixth inning, and later scored to put Texas up 11-0. He doubled in the first inning, had an infield single in the third and hit his 18th homer in the fourth.

Twins 4, Tigers 3

At Minneapolis, Josmil Pinto hit an RBI single in the 11th inning and Minnesota overcame 12 strikeouts by Justin Verlander.

The Tigers led 3-0 in the eighth, but Jose Veras gave up RBI doubles to Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Doumit. Brian Dozier led off the ninth with a tying homer against previously perfect closer Joaquin Benoit.

White Sox 3, Blue Sox 2

At Chicago, Jose Quintana pitched into the eighth inning and rookie Marcus Semien hit his first major league homer to lead Chicago.

Quintana (9-6), who entered the game with the most no-decisions in the American League at 17, allowed two runs and five hits in 71/3 innings. Addison Reed pitched the ninth inning to record his 39th save.

Athletics 10, Angels 5

At Anaheim, Calif., Jed Lowrie hit a three-run homer and Brandon Moss added a two-run shot as Oakland won its fifth straight.

Tommy Milone pitched into the sixth inning and Seth Smith had an early RBI double for the AL West champions, who have won 11 of 13.

Royals 6, Mariners 5, 12 innings

At Seattle, Alex Gordon threw out a runner at the plate in extra innings and scored on Salvador Perez's two-out double in the 12th to lift Kansas City past Seattle.

Kansas City moved within three games of idle Cleveland for the second AL wild card with six remaining. Texas is a game behind the Indians.

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