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Pirates headed to playoffs

Tue., Sept. 24, 2013

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 N.L. 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 records – the longest streak in the four major professional sports.

The Cincinnati Reds also clinched at least a wild-card berth when they beat the New York Mets 3-2 in 10 innings. The Pirates and Reds, both 90-67, trail St. Louis by two games in the N.L. Central with five to go.

Rios hits for cycle in first four at-bats

Alex Rios of the Texas Rangers hit for the cycle against Houston in his first four at-bats.

Rios completed the cycle with a triple to right-center field in the sixth inning.

The right fielder had a two-run double in the first inning, an infield single in the third and hit his 18th homer to left field in the fourth.

O’s third baseman Marchado carted off

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was taken off the field on a stretcher after injuring his left leg running out an infield single.

Machado’s leg buckled when he reached the first-base bag in the seventh inning of the O’s game at Tampa Bay.

Machado was in obvious pain while being treated on the infield dirt near first by team trainers and stadium medical officials.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter chatted with Machado before the stretcher was removed from the playing field. Test results won’t be available until today.

Hamstring injury sidelines Sabathia

CC Sabathia will not pitch again this season for the New York Yankees because of a strained left hamstring.

The Yankees, four games behind Cleveland for the second wild card, said that Sabathia was hurt Friday in his last start, when they beat the San Francisco Giants. They said the left-hander has a Grade 2 strain and would need approximately eight weeks to recover.

Sabathia will finish with a 14-13 record and 4.78 ERA in 32 starts.

Twins shut down concussed Mauer

The Minnesota Twins are shutting down All-Star catcher Joe Mauer for the rest of the season while he recovers from a concussion.

The Twins made the decision before starting the final seven-game homestand of the season in Minneapolis. General manager Terry Ryan and Mauer both say the former A.L. MVP is making progress, but they don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with the Twins far out of contention in the A.L. Central.

Mauer hasn’t played since Aug. 19 when he took a foul tip off of his catcher’s mask.

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