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Phillies clinch playoffs

Associated Press / September 15, 2011

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No champagne. No wild celebration. The Philadelphia Phillies are back in the postseason for the fifth straight year, and that’s exactly what they expected.

Roy Halladay pitched his 20th career shutout and Philadelphia became the first team to reach the playoffs this season with a 1-0 victory over the Astros in Houston yesterday.

The NL East leaders clinched at least a wild-card berth and will take another run at a ring in October. Philadelphia won the World Series in 2008 and the NL pennant in 2009.

“That’s the beauty of being here,’’ Halladay said. “We expect to win.’’

Once the Phillies signed ace pitcher Cliff Lee last winter to round out a dominant rotation, another playoff berth seemed inevitable. They said this week there would be no big party for wrapping up the wild card, and when Halladay finished off Houston he and his teammates barely cracked a smile.

Phillies players and manager Charlie Manuel simply lined up for handshakes and high-fives following their 95th win.

Philadelphia’s magic number is four for clinching its fifth straight division title.

Orioles 6, Rays 2 - Tampa Bay missed an opportunity to gain ground in the wild-card race, getting three hits over seven innings against Jeremy Guthrie in a loss in Baltimore and dropping to four games behind Boston. Guthrie (8-17), the major league leader in losses, tied a career high with 10 strikeouts.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 2 - Clayton Kershaw got his 19th victory, allowing one hit over five-plus innings before he was ejected along with manager Don Mattingly, and host Los Angeles beat NL West-leading Arizona.

Gerardo Parra got the only hit off Kershaw (19-5), a double in the third, before he retired the next seven batters in a row and then got ejected for hitting Parra on the right elbow.

Giants 3, Padres 1 - Carlos Beltran hit two homers to give him 300 for his career and Tim Lincecum ended a three-start winless stretch as the Giants beat San Diego in San Francisco.

Rangers 9, Indians 1 - Josh Hamilton’s third career grand slam highlighted an eight-run fourth and Derek Holland pitched seven effective innings as host Texas beat Cleveland.

Reds 7, Cubs 2 - Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and host Cincinnati overcame the loss of pitcher Johnny Cueto to beat Chicago. Cueto, the major league leader with a 2.31 ERA, left after 3 2/3 innings because of a strained back muscle.

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2 - Pittsburgh clinched its 19th consecutive losing season, a record for a major league franchise in North America, losing to visiting St. Louis as Yadier Molina hit a tiebreaking, two-run double.

Braves 4, Marlins 1 - Alex Gonzalez hit a three-run homer and Martin Prado bunted in a run during a four-run rally in the seventh, as the Braves beat Florida in Atlanta to maintain their lead in the NL wild-card race.

Angels 4, Athletics 1 - Jered Weaver went seven innings for his career-best 17th win, Mark Trumbo hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth, and visiting Los Angeles beat Oakland. Oakland committed two errors to add to its AL-leading total of 119.

Tigers 6, White Sox 5 - Carlos Guillen singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and Detroit extended its longest winning streak in 77 years, rallying past the White Sox in Chicago for its 12th straight victory. Guillen also hit a solo homer for Detroit, which hadn’t won 12 in a row since 1934. Jose Valverde finished up in the ninth to remain perfect in 44 save opportunities.

Rockies 6, Brewers 2 - Carlos Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs to help Colorado snap a six-game skid in Milwaukee.

Royals 7, Twins 3 - Mike Moustakas had three hits and drove in two runs and Luke Hochevar pitched six solid innings to help host Kansas City beat Minnesota. The Royals have won four straight, matching their longest winning streak of the season.

Nationals 2, Mets 0 - Brad Peacock pitched five innings, holding the host Mets to two singles and earning his first major league win as Washington beat New York.

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