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Key final-week series: Indians could end Tigers' playoff hopes; Giants, Cards have good matchups

The Indians swept the Tigers the last time the two teams played in Detroit, outscoring them 22-8 in the three-game series. Leon Halip/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- As the eighth inning began at Wrigley Field here Sunday night, you could just imagine members of the Giants and Mets organizations shouting at their televisions as Cubs manager Joe Maddon experimented a little with his bullpen matchups against the Cardinals rather than just going for the jugular.

At one point, he could've called for left-hander Travis Wood to throw to Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter, and with two outs he had the option of summoning closer Aroldis Chapman for a four-out save.

Instead, Maddon seemed intent on finding out what right-hander Justin Grimm was capable of, and at one point in the inning, after the Cardinals started to rally, Grimm was throwing curveball after curveball with the tying run at third -- and catcher Willson Contreras smothered them all.

In the end, the Cardinals lost and fell back to a half-game down in the NL wild-card race. There was some momentary relief for the Giants and Mets in the intense three-team race that has developed for the two wild-card spots.

The wild-card watch continues Monday as some big series begin:

Indians at Tigers (four games)