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Road to the Postseason: Sept. 23

Dodgers clinch NL West; Yanks drop magic number to 1; Cubs top Brewers in extras
MLB.com

The Dodgers became the fourth team to claim a division in 2017, clinching the National League West for a fifth consecutive season with a 4-2 victory over the Giants at Dodger Stadium. L.A. joins the Nationals, Indians and Astros in advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here's a look at how the rest of Friday's big league action impacted the postseason picture:

The Dodgers became the fourth team to claim a division in 2017, clinching the National League West for a fifth consecutive season with a 4-2 victory over the Giants at Dodger Stadium. L.A. joins the Nationals, Indians and Astros in advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here's a look at how the rest of Friday's big league action impacted the postseason picture:

American League Wild Card

The Twins won for a second consecutive night, moving 3 1/2 games ahead of the Angels and Rangers for the second AL Wild Card spot. Minnesota's magic number to secure its first trip to the playoffs since 2010 is down to seven.

"There's a lot on the line and we have to find a way to keep playing good baseball," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

Minnesota's two closest challenges, the Rangers and Angels, lost Friday. The Angels dropped their fifth straight as they were shut out, 3-0, by the Astros. The Rangers had their four-game winning streak ended by the A's in Oakland.

NL Central

The Cubs secured yet another extra-innings victory in a pivotal four-game series against Milwaukee, knocking the Brewers into third place. With the 5-4 win at Miller Park, Chicago lowered its magic number to clinch the NL Central to five over the Cardinals.

NL Wild Card

Their division hopes are quickly fading, but the Brewers are still in play for a place in the NL's one-game playoff. With Friday's loss, Milwaukee trails the Rockies by two games for the second Wild Card Game.

The Cardinals moved ahead of the Crew, 1 1/2 games behind Colorado, with a come-from-behind 4-3 win in Pittsburgh. It marked the fourth consecutive victory for St. Louis since suffering a sweep at Wrigley Field last weekend.

"It's a fun stretch right now," Cardinals starter Michael Wacha said. "It seems like this team never gives up, and we're always in it."

AL East

The Yankees will have to wait one more day to clinch a playoff berth after losing, 8-1, to the Blue Jays on Friday, but their magic number dropped to one with losses by the Angels and Rangers. New York has a steady hold on the AL's top Wild Card spot, but is on the verge of ceding the AL East to Boston.

The Red Sox beat the Reds, 5-4, to move four games ahead of the Yankees with nine games remaining on the schedule.

"We've been in first place for a long time now. Ball's in our court," Boston starter David Price said. "If we win, we're fine."

Home-field advantage

The Dodgers' win combined with the Indians' loss to the Mariners extended L.A.'s lead for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs to two games. The Dodgers won the lone series between these clubs back in June, giving them the tie-breaker should they finish the regular season tied with the same record.

If the postseason began today...

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Wild Card: Twins at Yankees
Division Series: Wild Card at Indians, Red Sox at Astros

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Wild Card: Rockies at D-backs
Division Series: Wild Card at Dodgers, Cubs at Nationals

2017 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

AL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Oct. 3
NL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Oct. 4
AL Division Series begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 5
NL Division Series begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 6
AL Championship Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 13
NL Championship Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format):Oct. 14
World Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 24

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.