wrigley scoreboard featureThe Cubs’ series against the Pirates this weekend is notable because of the teams’ fight for the top Wild Card spot, and the Pirates’ attempt to climb back in the NL Central.

But it’s also notable because it should see the Cubs clinch their first playoff spot since 2008.

Up 4-3 after seven innings of Madison Bumgarner ball, it looked like the Giants would keep the Cubs’ magic number at two with a win over the Padres last night. But Bumgarner left, Matt Kemp doubled in the tying run in the 8th, and then Alexei Amarista walked it off with a hit in the 9th.

Giants lose. Cubs magic number falls to just one.

That means the Cubs can punch their playoff ticket with a win today. They’d also punch it with a Giants loss later tonight, but that’s much less fun.

Elsewhere, the Pirates beat the Rockies again, completing the four game sweep – thanks, Rox. That bumped their lead over the Cubs up to 3.5 games, and held them steady at 4.0 games behind the Cardinals, who beat the Brewers for their fifth straight win. Nobody is taking a break in the Central, man.

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