MLB

How they got there: Division champs

Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal preview the upcoming MLB playoffs.
Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal preview the upcoming MLB playoffs.
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MISSION OCTOBER

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By clinching the NL Central title on Friday night, the St. Louis Cardinals became the sixth and final team to capture a division crown in 2013.

Here are five reasons why each champion claimed their respective division title (in order of their clinching).

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers: On Thursday, Sept. 19, LA was the first team to punch a playoff ticket, clinching the NL West for its first division title since 2009. To think this team was in last place on July 1. What turned it all around? How they got there.

AL East

FIELD OF DREAMS

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Boston Red Sox: On Friday, Sept. 20, Boston was the first 2013 AL team to win a division, claiming its first East title since '07. A year ago, the Sox went 69-93 for their worst season in 18 years. What caused the 180? How they got there.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: On Sunday, Sept. 22, the Braves found out they won the East while they were playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. When the Washington Nationals lost to Miami, Atlanta was assured of a wire-to-wire run, owning first place all season. But with no outstanding stars — and no real MVP candidates — how did the club stay on top for so long? How they got there.

AL West

Oakland A's: Just like the Braves did earlier in the day, the A's learned they were division champs while in the middle of a game on Sunday, Sept. 22. Texas' loss to Kansas City clinched Oakland's second consecutive AL West crown. With just two 2013 All-Stars — both pitchers — how did Bob Melvin's club do it? How they got there.

AL Central

Detroit Tigers: Talk about loaded, Jim Leyland's club has it all — except the World Series title that eluded them last season. Behind a powerful offense and a lights-out rotation, the Tigers clinched a third consecutive division on Wednesday, Sept. 25, with a win in Minnesota. What sparked the Tigers to the AL Central crown? How they got there.

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals: As a manager, Mike Matheny is 2 for 2 in leading the Cardinals to the playoffs, but this time as division champs. St. Louis won this year's tightest division race, capturing the title on Friday, Sept. 27 — with two regular-season games remaining. Surprisingly, it's the club's first NL Central crown since '09. What made it happen? How they got there.

Tagged: Red Sox, Tigers, Athletics, Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals

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