The Tampa Bay Rays are headed back to the postseason for the second straight year and sixth time in franchise history after sweeping a doubleheader Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rays became the second team in the American League to punch their ticket to the playoffs after the Chicago White Sox clinched earlier on Thursday.
At 33-18, Tampa holds a 3 1/2-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees and six-game lead over the third-place Toronto Blue Jays. With nine games remaining, any combination of six wins or Yankees' losses will give the Rays their first division title since 2010.
The AL wild-card series - a best-of-three opening round this season - is set to begin Sept. 29. If the postseason began following Thursday's games, the Rays would face the Cleveland Indians in the first round.