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Dodgers, Red Sox clinch playoff spots

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There was an impromptu pool party in Arizona and quiet resolve in Boston. The NL Central got a little closer, and there was another tie atop the AL wild-card race. All this and more in a quick look at baseball's playoff picture:

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THEY'RE IN: The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 7-6 to clinch the NL West title, and then celebrated with a quick dip in the swimming pool at Chase Field. The display irked Arizona general manager Kevin Towers and other members of the organization, but there was little that could be done.

Despite an NL-high payroll of $214 million-plus on opening day, the Dodgers got off to a 30-42 start and were last in the division before play on June 22. Los Angeles has gone 58-23 since, including an unreal 42-8 run.

WORK TO DO: The Red Sox clinched their first postseason berth since 2009, but they were mostly quiet following a 3-1 victory against Baltimore. The win secured at least a wild card for Boston and lowered its magic number to one for clinching the AL East.

A year ago, under Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox finished in last with a 69-93 record.

CENTRAL MATTERS: Pittsburgh stopped a three-game slide with a 10-1 victory over San Diego. St. Louis then lost 7-6 in 15 innings in Colorado, leaving the Pirates just one game back of the division-leading Cardinals in the crowded NL Central.

Pittsburgh hosts third-place Cincinnati on Friday night in the opener of a pivotal weekend set. The Reds are two games back of St. Louis, which is at Milwaukee on Friday night.

WILD, INDEED: The Rangers salvaged a split of their four-game series against the Rays, leaving the teams tied atop the AL wild-card race. Elvis Andrus drove in three runs in Texas' 8-2 victory at Tampa Bay.

Cleveland beat Houston 2-1 in 11 innings and trails the wild-card leaders by a half-game. The Rangers and Rays have 10 games left, while the Indians have nine games remaining.

QUOTED: ``I want to keep going. I think that we've got a couple of more steps to do. We've got to keep working and stay together all the way through to the end.'' - Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who had four hits and four RBIs in Los Angeles' division-clinching victory at Arizona.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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