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Mets in playoffs for first time since '06

CINCINNATI — The Mets are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

New York clinched its sixth NL East title Saturday by beating the Cincinnati Reds 10-2, getting a late three-run homer from captain David Wright and another dominant start by Matt Harvey.

Harvey (13-7) was most appropriate to pitch the clincher. He was the NL's starter for the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field, but needed Tommy John surgery that October and missed all of the 2014 season. Harvey gave up a pair of runs in 6 2-3 innings.

When Jeurys Familia fanned Jay Bruce to end it, Mets players streamed from the dugout and formed a celebratory huddle in front of the mound.

After two September collapses, the Bernie Madoff financial scandal and nine years of frustration, thousands of blue-clad NY fans along for the trip chanted "Let's go Mets!" from Lucas Duda's first swing — a grand slam in the first — until the team returned to the field following a champagne celebration to high-five their supporters. The players wore hats with "Postseason" written across the crown.

New York will likely face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series.

Duda sparked a warm-up celebration with his first career slam in the first inning off left-hander John Lamb (1-4). Duda had a pair of three-run homers on Friday night. The slam gave him three homers in five at-bats with 10 RBIs.

Curtis Granderson added a solo shot, and Wright put it away in the ninth with his fourth homer since returning from a back injury in late August.

This title was rather unexpected. Significant injuries and an inexperienced rotation played into Washington's hands as the NL East favorite. But New York bolstered a struggling offense at midseason and beat the Nationals head-to-head while pulling away.

It was fitting that they got to celebrate in Cincinnati. New York is 25-15 all-time at Great American Ball Park, the best winning percentage by any NL team, including the Reds.


OAKLAND, Calif.— Rookie Jarrett Parker became the first Giants player with at least three homers and seven RBIs in a game since Willie Mays in 1961, overshadowing the shaky starts in the feel-good matchup of Tim Hudson and Barry Zito.

Parker hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the eighth for his third home run. Mays, the Hall of Famer, had four homers and eight RBIs on April 30, 1961, at Milwaukee.

Parker's grand slam came against Ryan Dull (0-1) after a solo shot off Zito in the second and a two-run drive in the seventh.

Hardly at their old best of yesteryear when they dominated for Oakland, Hudson and Zito shared their brief moment to say goodbye to the Bay Area baseball fans in what began as a nostalgic moment and ended with Parker's power surge.

Josh Osich (2-0) pitched two innings for the win and Santiago Casilla recorded two outs for his 36th save.


ANAHEIM, Calif.— David Freese led off the ninth inning with a homer to center, and the Los Angeles Angels kept pace in the AL wild-card race with their fourth straight victory.

Freese connected off Danny Farquhar (1-5), keeping the Angels a half-game behind Houston for the second wild-card spot.

Mike Trout made a jaw-dropping catch high above the center field wall in the fourth inning, robbing Seattle's Jesus Montero of a three-run homer.

Angels closer Huston Street had to be helped off the field in obvious pain after finishing his follow-through on a pitch in the ninth inning. Fernando Salas (4-2) got the win.


DETROIT— Eduardo Escobar homered and drove in three runs as the Minnesota Twins kept pace in the AL wild-card race by beating Detroit.

The Twins blew a late lead Friday and, with Houston winning, remained 1 1/2 games short of the second wild-card spot.

Tigers general manager Al Avila announced before the game that Brad Ausmus will return as the team's manager in 2016.

Rookie Tyler Duffey (5-1) allowed two runs on eight hits and one walk in six innings.

Alfredo Simon (13-11) allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk in eight innings.


NEW YORK— Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez hit consecutive run-scoring doubles off John Danks in the sixth inning, Adam Warren combined with his bullpen on a three-hitter and the New York Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox.

New York stayed four games behind AL East-leading Toronto with eight games remaining and maintained a four-game lead over Houston for the top AL wild card.

Warren (7-7) won for the first time since July 25.

Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller each pitched a perfect inning, with Miller getting his 36th save in 38 chances.

John Danks (7-14) took the loss.


KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Carlos Santana drove in three runs, Yan Gomes homered and Cleveland beat Kansas City to move above .500 for the first time since April 9.

The Indians remain three games back in the AL wild-card race. The Royals, who wrapped up the AL Central title with a victory Thursday, fell to 9-15 in September.

Indians relievers Zach McAllister (4-4), Jeff Manship, Kyle Crockett and Bryan Shaw held the Royals hitless over the final 5 1-3 innings.

Kris Medlen (5-2) was pulled after 3 2-3 innings, yielding six runs on nine hits, including six for extra bases, a walk and a wild pitch.


BOSTON— First-time starter Craig Breslow and six relievers combined on a five-hitter and Boston further dented Baltimore's slim playoff hopes.

A day after Boston journeyman Rich Hill blanked Baltimore on a two-hitter, the Red Sox emptied their bullpen.

The Orioles fell 4 1/2 games behind Houston for the AL's second wild-card spot. Third baseman Manny Machado made a pair of two-run errors, both coming on grounders by Xander Bogaerts.

Making his first career start after 522 relief appearances over 10 years, Breslow allowed two hits in four innings. Heath Hembree (2-0) worked one inning for the win.

Wei-Yin Chen (10-8) took the loss.


ST. LOUIS— Jaime Garcia worked eight dominant innings after getting a big early cushion, and St. Louis maintained its three-game lead in the NL Central.

Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter was removed after five innings with left hip tightness for precautionary reasons, but hopes to play Sunday. Earlier in the day, 14-game winner Carlos Martinez was shut down for the rest of the season with a strained right shoulder.

The Cardinals shaved their magic number to five for clinching the division after second-place Pittsburgh beat the Cubs 4-0 earlier in the day.

Matt Holliday had a pair of RBI doubles, and Kolten Wong's two-run single capped a four-run first against rookie Tyler Wagner (0-1).

Garcia (10-5) allowed a run on seven hits, retiring 10 in a row at one point. The lefty struck out eight with no walks and reached double figures in victories for the first time since 2011.


WASHINGTON— A season that started with so many soaring expectations for the Washington Nationals crashed with a dreary thud when they were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention despite winning on Bryce Harper's RBI double.

The Nationals' victory came less than an hour after the New York Mets also won and clinched the NL East title.

Stephen Strasburg struck out 13 for Washington, NL MVP front-runner Harper had three hits and drew his franchise-record-tying 123rd walk — and, like whatever else went right in 2015 for a team many considered a World Series favorite, none of it mattered.


DENVER— Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, preventing Los Angeles from moving closer to clinching the NL West title.

The Dodgers' magic number remained at two for closing out San Francisco in the division race.

Nolan Arenado hit a grand slam for his 40th home run and Justin Morneau had four hits for the Rockies. Andre Ethier homered for the Dodgers.

DJ LeMahieu, who had three hits, led off the ninth with a single against Yimi Garcia (3-4). Gonzalez, who also had three hits, worked the count to 3-1 before hitting a 94 mph fastball over the wall in center for his 39th home run.

Justin Miller (3-2) pitched the top of the ninth for the win.


MIAMI— Justin Bour hit a two-run homer, Justin Nicolino pitched seven solid innings and Miami beat Atlanta for the sixth straight time, its longest winning streak against the Braves since winning five in a row in 1997.

Nicolino (4-4) allowed just two hits and a run.

Dee Gordon went 1 for 4 for the Marlins to maintain a batting average of .332, which trails NL leader Bryce Harper's .339 clip after the Nationals star went 3 for 5 earlier in the day.

Julio Teheran (10-8) yielded six hits and two runs over six innings.


SAN DIEGO— Robbie Erlin pitched two-hit ball for seven innings, leading San Diego past Arizona.

Erlin (1-1) didn't allow a hit until Ender Inciarte tripled down the left field line in the sixth.

Jeremy Hellickson (9-11) made his third start since returning from the disabled list and allowed one run on four hits over six innings.


CHICAGO — Francisco Liriano pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning, and Pittsburgh beat the playoff-bound Chicago Cubs 4-0 for their eighth straight victory.

Liriano (12-7) struck out nine and walked three over 7 2-3 innings. Jordy Mercer had a three-run homer off Jason Hammel (9-7), and the Pirates continued to roll.

They lead Chicago by 51/2 games for the top wild card with a chance to complete a weekend sweep on Sunday. The Pirates then open a three-game series Monday against St. Louis, the team they trail in NL Central.


HOUSTON— Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve hit two homers apiece as the Astros connected a season-high six times in a win over the Rangers, cutting Texas' lead in the AL West to 3 1/2 games.

The victory breaks an eight-game losing streak to the Rangers and ends a three-game skid overall for Houston.

Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus also homered for the Astros, who are second in the majors with 216 longballs this season. The six homers Texas gave up were a season high.

Collin McHugh (18-7) settled down after a tough first inning to allow eight hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings for his fifth straight win.

Chi Chi Gonzalez (4-6) allowed one hit and three runs — one earned — in 1 2-3 innings for the loss.


TORONTO— Jose Bautista hit two home runs, David Price won for the ninth time in 11 starts with Toronto and the playoff-bound Blue Jays beat the Rays.

Just a few hours after learning the Blue Jays ended their 22-year postseason drought thanks to their main competitors' overlapping schedules, Bautista hit a three-run homer and Russell Martin added a two-run drive in a five-run first inning against Chris Archer (12-13).

Price (18-5) allowed five runs — four earned — in five innings. Despite the difficult outing, Price maintained his AL ERA lead at 2.45.

New York pitcher Matt Harvey celebrates with teammates after clinching the NL East title with a 10-2 win over Cincinnati. AP PHOTO