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Pirates' chase of a National League Wild Card berth remained wild, all right, as they lost -- again -- 2-1 in Cincinnati but did not lose ground -- again.
Both the team they are chasing, the Cardinals, and the team immediately ahead of them, the Dodgers, dropped 3-2 decisions in San Diego and Arizona, respectively. As a result, with 20 games remaining, the Bucs stuck 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, who trail St. Louis by one game.
In losing 11 of their last 15 games, the Bucs have actually gained a half-game on the Cards, whom they trailed by three games before that stretch.
A golden opportunity to daily make up ground on one of those two awaits. Following an off-day Thursday, the Bucs will begin a four-game series in Chicago. Concurrently, the Cards and Dodgers will clash with each other four times in Los Angeles.
Today's key games to watch (all times ET)
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.