It has come down to the final four games of the regular season for the Cleveland Indians and a spot in the American League playoffs.
Entering a 4-game weekend series at Minnesota that begins Thursday evening, the Tribe holds a 1-game lead over the Texas Rangers for the second and final wildcard spot that will find the first wildcard hosting a 1-game playoff next week.
And with that 1-game lead over the Rangers, the Tribe can count a magic number of four prior to beginning the series with the Twins. But that disappears if the Indians fall back into a tie with the Rangers, who look for their second consecutive wildcard qualification. Texas, which reached the World Series in 2010 and 2011, had to settle for the wildcard last season and fell to Baltimore that ended the Ranger season.
Cleveland, void of post season action since falling to the Boston Red Sox in the AL championship series in 2007, held serve with a 2-game sweep at home over the Chicago White Sox boosted by a ninth inning 2-run home run by Jason Giambi to hand the visiting Sox a stunning 5-4 loss.
Should Cleveland reach the playoffs, it will be in part because the Indians handled the White Sox, winning 17 of 19 meetings this season, ending with a 7-2 win on Wednesday in the home finale.
The season ends with the Indians meeting the Twins while the Rangers play their final four at home against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who hold a 1-game lead over the Indians for the top seeded wild card position, play on Thursday at New York against the Yankees before remaining on the road in Toronto for three games in Canada.
Should there be a tie that involves three teams for the two wild card positions, tie breakers will determine a top seed with the second and third seeds playing each other. That winner will advance to play the top seeded wildcard qualifier on the home field of that top seed.
The eventual wildcard survivor will play the top seeded division winner in one of two division series.