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Cardinals move step closer to clinching wild-card berth

ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate for the ninth time in his career and drove in five runs as the St. Louis Cardinals closed in on the National League's second wild-card berth by beating the Washington Nationals 10-4 on Sunday.

St. Louis (86-73) took a 7-0 lead by the third inning and reduced its magic number for clinching the wildcard berth to two. They lead the Dodgers by two games for the second NL wild card.

Washington (96-63), already assured of the capital's first postseason baseball since 1933, saw its magic number for clinching the NL East remain at one over second-place Atlanta (93-66).

Lance Lynn (18-7) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings, improving to 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five appearances.

Braves 6, Mets 2 In Atlanta, The Atlanta Braves won for a major league record 23rd straight time in games started by Kris Medlen, beating the Mets in the regular-season home finale for Chipper Jones.

Medlen (10-1) gave up one unearned run and three hits in six innings.

According to STATS LLC research going back to 1921, only two other teams won 22 straight starts by a pitcher: the New York Giants with Carl Hubbell (1936-37) and the Yankees with Whitey Ford (1950-53). Ford's streak was interrupted by military service.

Atlanta is 12-0 in Medlen's starts this season after he moved to the rotation on July 31. The team's streak of 23 straight wins in Medlen's starts began in 2010.

David Ross hit a three-run homer in the second off Jenrry Mejia (1-3). Jones had a single and two walks.

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 Orioles snatch first playoff spot in 15 years with victory over Red Sox 
Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers lands after colliding with catcher Jordan Pacheco #22 of the Colorado Rockies as he is out trying to score in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, Sept. 30. (AFP)

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