MLB scores: Nationals clinch postseason spot; Michael Conforto helps keep Mets alive

Thanks to a doubleheader in D.C., Tuesday brought us an extra-full slate of 16 games. A great number of those games were relevant in the postseason races as we work our way through the final week of the 2019 regular season. Here is everything you need to know about Tuesday's MLB action.

Select games can be streamed regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). For more on what channel each game is on, click here.

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Baseball scores for Tuesday, Sept. 24

Nationals clinch postseason spot

The Nationals are going back to the postseason. Washington swept their doubleheader with the Phillies and the Cubs lost to the Pirates on Tuesday, clinching a postseason spot for the Nationals.

The hero Tuesday was Trea Turner. The Nationals shortstop went 3 for 4 with two doubles in the first game of the doubleheader, then hit a clutch go-ahead grand slam in the second game. Check it out:

Washington returns to the postseason following a one-year hiatus. They won the NL East title in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, but were unable to advance beyond the NLDS.

Because the Braves have already clinched the NL East, the Nationals will be a wild-card team this year. They still have to lock down homefield advantage in that Wild Card Game. The Nationals are one game up on the Brewers for the top wild-card spot.

Conforto helps Mets stay alive

The Mets were three outs away from elimination Tuesday night. Instead, Michael Conforto came through with a game-tying two-run home run against Marlins righty Jose Urena to keep the Mets alive. It was Conforto's second two-run homer of the game.

New York eventually won the game in 11 innings on Brandon Nimmo's walk-off bases loaded walk. Because the Brewers won Tuesday night, a loss would've eliminated the Mets from postseason contention. They instead live to play another day.

Of course, the Mets are still facing extremely long postseason odds. They will be eliminated with their next loss or Milwaukee's next win. Still, the longer you can stay relevant, the better, and Conforto helped keep the Mets relevant Tuesday night.

Cubs on the brink of elimination

Make it seven consecutive losses for the Cubs. On the bright side, their five-game one-run loss streak came to an end Tuesday. They lost by seven runs instead. Worst of all, they lost to the Pirates, a team that checked out weeks ago.

The wheels came off in the seventh inning, when the Pirates score seven runs on seven hits, one walk, and two errors. Seven consecutive Pirates reached base to begin the inning.

Chicago's elimination number is down to one. They will be eliminated from postseason contention with their next loss or the next Brewers win. The last week has been especially hideous for the Cubs. They are going down in flames.

The Phillies are done

That 4-1 loss to the Nationals noted above means that the 2019 Phillies have officially been eliminated from playoff contention. This is obviously a disappointment given how heavily the Phillies worked to improve the roster this past offseason. In addition to signing Bryce Harper to a $330 million contract, GM Matt Klentak also signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson and traded for shortstop Jean Segura and catcher J.T. Realmuto, among other moves. 

Injuries hit Gabe Kapler's club hard, and the losses of McCutchen, Robertson, and Pat Neshek proved especially critical. Jake Arrieta struggled with health and effectiveness, and the younger starters on the roster failed to take the next step as hoped. A 2-11 stretch back in June wound up being a grave blow to the Phillies' playoff hopes, and they can also reflect upon a 7-9 mark against the lowly Marlins (they still have three games remaining versus Miami). 

In the end, the Phillies will miss the postseason for an eighth straight year. If they can manage to win three of their final five games, then they'll register their first winning season since 2011. That, however, may not be enough to save Kapler's job. 

Ramirez returns in grand style

Only four weeks after having right hamate surgery, Jose Ramirez was back in the lineup for the Indians on Tuesday night. Hamate surgery usually sidelines a player 6-8 weeks, and, even after the player returns, his power could be sapped for weeks. It's a tough injury.

Ramirez wasted no time showing his hand and wrist are 100 percent Tuesday. In his first at-bat back, he clobbered a grand slam. He then added a three-run home run later in the game. Check it out:

"You always have your doubts, but once I came out of the surgery I stayed very positive and I started feeling a better sensation than I had had in my hand. And I felt it was possible do what we're doing right now," Ramirez told reporters, including's Paul Hoynes, prior to Tuesday's game.

The Indians came into Tuesday a half-game behind the Rays for the second wild-card spot. Ramirez's return is not just a feel-good story. Cleveland needs him to produce right away to get to October.

Rays keep pace with Indians

Thanks to Ramirez, the Indians blew out the White Sox on Tuesday night, yet they remain a half-game behind the second wild-card spot. That's because Ji-Man Choi and the Rays walked off with a win over the Yankees. Choi hit a 12th inning walk-off homer.

The Rays are 10-5 in their last 15 games despite trailing in 14 of those 15 games. Tampa has won eight consecutive extra inning games and they've earned a walk-off win in three of their last five games. They are coming up clutch when they need it.

Tampa Bay's magic number is five with four games to play, so winning out won't be enough to clinch a postseason spot. They need the Indians to lose at some point and Cleveland hasn't done much of that lately. The Indians are 7-1 in their last eight games and 11-3 in their last 12 games. The wild-card race could come down to wire.

Yankees set obscure home run record

Welcome to the 10-home run club, Cameron Maybin. The Yankees outfielder slugged his 10th home run of the season in Tuesday night's series opener against the Rays. It was a bomb to dead center field.

Maybin is the 14th -- 14th! -- Yankee with double-digit home runs this season. That's a new MLB record. The previous record was held by last year's Yankees. They had 12 players hit double-digit homers. The Blue Jays have 13 players with 10-plus homers this year but no one is close to making it 14 (Derek Fisher has six).

Furthermore, Maybin's home run was the 299th home run of the season for the Yankees. That is the most in baseball and an MLB record. Their next homer will be magic number No. 300.

Stat of the Night: Cole has another 14-strikeout game

For the fifth time this season, Astros righty Gerrit Cole had a 14-strikeout game Tuesday night. He fanned 14 Mariners in seven shutout innings, giving him 316 strikeouts on the year.

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Gerrit Cole NYY • SP • 45
Sept. 24 vs. Mariners

Those 316 strikeouts are the most by an American League pitcher since Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan struck out 341 batters with the 1977 Angels. They're the ninth most strikeouts in American League history overall.

Also, Tuesday night was Cole's eighth consecutive start with 10-plus strikeouts, tying the MLB single-season record. Chris Sale (2015, 2017) and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez (1999) also accomplished the feat.

Quick hits

  • Confused about all those playoff tiebreakers? We're here to help
  • Our own R.J. Anderson has previewed the Diamondbacks' upcoming offseason
  • If the Mets opt to part ways with manager Mickey Callaway this offseason, then Astros bench coach Joe Espada will reportedly be a candidate to replace him. Read more here.
  • The Angels have claimed INF Kean Wong off waivers from the Rays.
  • Cubs 3B Kris Bryant has been diagnosed with a moderate sprained ankle. It's not certain he'll play this week.
  • MLB announced that Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta has been suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount "inappropriate conduct" following a replay review during hit team's loss to the Cardinals on Saturday.
  • The Indians have activated 3B Jose Ramirez from the IL.
CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for and He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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