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MLB Playoff Picture Update: The Twins have a huge Saturday

And the Indians take a major step back.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

American League East

The Yankees entered this weekend on the verge of clinching the American League East, and if everything went in their favor they were going to be able to clinch as early as the start of next week. Well, they certainly did their part and then some on Saturday, crushing Blue Jays pitching in a dominant 13-3 win in Toronto. They didn’t get any help to clinch any more quickly, though, as the Rays stayed hot out west. Behind a strong performance on the mound from the entire pitching staff, Tampa Bay took a 3-1 win out in L.A. over the Angels. So with all of that, the Yankees still lead by nine games and their magic number is down to four. They could clinch as early as Tuesday.

American League Central

The series of the weekend was between the top two teams in this division, with Minnesota traveling to Cleveland. The Indians trailed by 3.5 games heading into this series, with a chance to pull to within a half-game of the Twins. Their first game was rained out on Friday, which meant they were playing two on Saturday. Minnesota took full advantage of the situation and asserted their dominance in the division while potentially delivering the final blow in this race. The Twins used great pitching to take the first game before the bats took over in game two, sweeping the day and increasing their lead to 5.5 games. Their magic number is now in single digits at nine.

American League West

Like the Yankees, the Astros are just looking to finish off this division race as quickly as possible. Zack Greinke helped get the job done on their end Saturday with a strong performance to lead his team to a 6-1 win over the Royals. The A’s are not going to make the road to clinching as easy as it could be, though, as they keep winning themselves. This time, the offense came through in an 8-6 win over the Rangers. The Astros still lead this division by 7.5 games with a magic number that fell down to six.

American League Wildcard

This was a tough, tough day for the Indians. Not only did they lose major ground in the division, but the two teams with whom they are fighting for a wildcard spot won as well. That means Cleveland lost a game and a half worth of games to their competition. Oakland remains in the top spot in this race, with a half-game lead over the Rays. Cleveland, meanwhile, fell all the way back to 2.5 out of the playoff hunt.

National League East

The Braves are yet another team that has essentially wrapped up their division but is still waiting to do so officially. The good news is they control their own destiny on this front, playing the second place Nationals in a series that has a nice side effect of potentially negatively affecting their rivals’ wildcard chances. Atlanta continued to dominate the Nats, with their 10-1 win clinching a playoff spot. Their lead in the division is now 10.5 games and their magic number is down to four.

National League Central

Twins-Indians is the top series of the weekend, but Cardinals-Brewers is not too far behind with Milwaukee needing good results in this one to stay alive in the Central race. They didn’t get the start they wanted on Friday, but came back strong on Saturday with a 5-2 win. Meanwhile, the Cubs continued to be red-hot against the Pirates with a second straight blowout victory. This time they scored a whopping 14 runs in a 14-1 victory. The Cardinals still lead by a fairly comfortable margin here, with the Cubs trailing by three games and the Brewers now four games back.

National League West

The Dodgers have already clinched this division.

National League Wildcard

So, here’s what we know. The Nationals lost to the Braves, while the two NL Central clubs — the Cubs and Brewers — each took care of business. We also know that the Phillies dropped a close one to the Red Sox last night thanks largely to a huge performance from Eduardo Rodriguez. That just leaves the Mets and Diamondbacks. New York did their job, coming out on the winning end of a pitchers’ duel thanks to a bases-clearing double in the eighth from J.D. Davis. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, won a close game of their own, squeaking by with a 1-0 victory against the Reds. With all of that, the Nationals still hold the top spot, but their lead has fallen to just 1.5 games over the Cubs. Meanwhile, the Brewers find themselves a game behind Chicago while the Mets are three games back, the Phillies are 3.5 back and the Diamondbacks are 4.5 back.