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Alex Brandon, Associated Press
Washington Nationals' Kurt Suzuki follows through for his two RBI double during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Washington. The Nationals won 12-2.

Here's how the pennant races look with nine days to go:

— HOLDING SERVE: Four first-place teams were in action Monday and they all won. The White Sox stayed a game ahead of Detroit in the AL Central, Texas increased its AL West lead to five games over Oakland, and the Yankees moved 1½ games in front of Baltimore in the AL East when the Orioles split a doubleheader with Toronto. In the NL East, Washington cut its magic number to five for clinching the division.

— NEXT UP: Atlanta can clinch a playoff berth with a win at home over last-place Miami on Tuesday night or losses by both Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kris Medlen (9-1) will start for the Braves.

— BREATHING ROOM: St. Louis opened a 3½-game lead over Milwaukee and the Dodgers in the race for the second NL wild card. Lance Lynn pitched the defending champion Cardinals past Houston 6-1 for his 17th win.

— YO, ADRIAN!: The Rangers rallied past second-place Oakland 5-4 behind two big hits from Adrian Beltre. Playing with stomach pain caused by what doctors believe is scar tissue from appendix surgery more than a decade ago, Beltre tied the score in the seventh inning with his 35th homer and singled home the winning run in the ninth.

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— SUN AND GAMES: Jayson Werth wound up with a two-out, two-run double when Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez lost a ball in the sun to spark a six-run fourth inning in Washington's 12-2 win over Milwaukee. The day before, it was the Brewers who benefited twice when Nationals outfielders lost fly balls in the sun.

— CHASE CHATTER: "The last homer, that probably was the most important so far in my career. That was a win we needed." — White Sox slugger Adam Dunn, who belted a three-run shot in the eighth inning for his second homer in a 5-4 victory over Cleveland that snapped Chicago's five-game losing streak.