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Scoreboard Watching: AL playoff race continues to develop with Yankees off

The Yankees didn’t play last night, but there will still a couple games across the AL with playoff implications.

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Yankees were one of many teams to have off last night. 14 clubs didn’t play, leaving only eight contests across the entire league. Just two of those games, one between the Athletics and the Royals, the other between the Twins and the White Sox, could have any impact on the Yankees’ playoff plans.

We didn’t have much scoreboard watching to do. Even so, here’s what we saw.

Twins march toward AL Central title, A’s slip up against Royals

In Oakland, the A’s let a close one slip away against Kansas City. The A’s took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to a two-run Khris Davis single, but closer Liam Hendriks couldn’t hold the lead, yielding a game-tying home run to Brett Phillips and a game-winning RBI double to Adalberto Mondesi in the ninth. Former Yankee legend Ian Kennedy secured the save in the Royals’ 6-5 win.

In Minnesota, the Twins took down Chicago by a score of 5-3. Jose Berrios, the Twins’ ace, pitched 7.1 strong innings, yielding just two runs and striking out eight. If the Twins and Yankees met in October, the Bombers would almost certainly receive a hefty dose of Berrios.

The Twins now are 92-58 and will almost certainly win their first division title since 2010. Cleveland sits five games back of Minnesota in the AL Central. The A’s are 90-61 and still hold the first Wild Card slot. They look like a near-lock to make the playoffs for the second-consecutive season.

The Yankees and Astros are still tied atop the AL at 98-53, though the Astros hold the tiebreaker. The Dodgers sit a game back over in the NL. The Rays are 89-62 and nine games back of the Yankees in the AL East. They are one game back of the A’s, in sole possession of the second AL Wild Card, and 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland

Magic number

With both Tampa Bay and New York off, we have no movement here, and so the Yankees’ magic number in the AL East is still three. The earliest they could clinch the division is Wednesday night.