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MLB: Boston Clinches Playoff Spot


The Boston Red Sox became the first major league baseball team to clinch a playoff spot, scoring three runs in the ninth inning Saturday to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 8-6.

Boston trailed 6-5 when Jason Varitek led off the ninth with a home run, followed an out later by Julio Lugo's two-run homer.

The New York Yankees trail Boston for the lead in the American League East division, but moved close to clinching at least a wild-card playoff spot with a 10-inning, 12-11 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels could win playoff spots Sunday.

In the National League, the New York Mets beat the Florida Marlins, 7-2, to maintain their one-and-a-half-game East division lead over the Philadelphia Phillies, in the tightest race in the majors.

The Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks both won Saturday, and lead their divisions by two-and-a-half games with eight days left in the regular season.

Chicago's Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs to lead the Cubs to a 9-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Arizona Diamondbacks got by the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-2. The Philadelphia Phillies needed 10 innings to defeat the Washington Nationals, 4-1. The Colorado Rockies downed the San Diego Padres, 6-2, leaving the Padres just a half game ahead of Philadelphia in the race for the National League wild-card playoff spot.

The Atlanta Braves edged the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3, in 11 innings. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros, 7-4. And the San Francisco Giants snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Detroit Tigers are on the verge of being eliminated from making the playoffs in the American League after dropping a 7-4 decision to the Kansas City Royals. The Oakland Athletics beat the Central division-leading Cleveland Indians, 9-3. The Seattle Mariners eked out a 3-2 win over the West division-leading Los Angeles Angels.

The Chicago White Sox downed the Minnesota Twins, 8-3. And the Baltimore Orioles tripped up the Texas Rangers, 11-9.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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