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Orioles' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012

Orioles' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012

Orioles' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012
Fresh off securing their first non-losing season since 1997 with a 14-inning walk-off win, the Orioles hit into four double plays and wasted a chance to move into sole possession of first place with Friday's 3-2 loss in Oakland.

The O's and the A's, both over .500 after the All-Star break for the first year since 1992, drew an announced sellout crowd of 35,067 at Oakland Coliseum for a mid-September series that surprisingly has playoff implications. The loss drops the Orioles back into a tie with the New York Yankees, who lost 6-4 to Tampa Bay, atop the American League East with Oakland adding to its AL Wild Card lead.

"Two good teams out there battling it out and we are both fighting for the same goal," said Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds. "They made some good pitches, got us to square up some double plays. It's just frustrating. But it's just one day and we will try to get tomorrow."

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For the seventh time already this month, the Orioles enter Saturday's game tied with the New York Yankees. The A's (83-61), who entered the game leading the Wild Card race, pushed their second-half record to a Major League-best 40-18 and handed the O's their first loss in four games in the process.

Today's key games to watch (all times ET)

Rays (Shields, 14-8) at Yankees (Nova, 11-7), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Britton, 5-2) at A's (Parker, 10-8), 9:05 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best AL record vs. Third-best AL record | Best AL record at Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best NL record vs. Third-best NL record | Best NL record at Wild Card winner

Postseason Bracket »

Postseason 101

Magic numbers
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

Tiebreaker scenarios
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

Tiebreaker rules »

2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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