Games of the Day

There are too many important games to pick just one.

In the AL, the playoff berths are decided but home field advantage is not. If Minnesota beats Cleveland twice (see below) and Oakland beats Anaheim in their otherwise meaningless game, the Twins will get home field advantage. If any of those three outcomes do not occur, the Twins play the Yankees in the first round and Anaheim gets home-field advantage against Boston.

The NL wild-card berth could be decided today. With their 9-3 win over Colorado, the Houston Astros (91-70) are a game ahead of the Giants (90-71), who lost 7-3 when the Dodgers scored seven runs in the ninth inning.

If the Astros win or the Giants lose today, the Astros will win the wild-card spot. If Houston loses and San Francisco wins, they will be tied for the wild-card spot and the Giants will host the Astros in a one-game playoff tomorrow.

News & Notes

HOLD UP!: Yesterday's Minnesota-Cleveland game was suspended after 11 innings with the score 5-5 because the Metrodome field needed to be changed over for the Penn State-Minnesota football game.

The game will resume at 1:10 today, followed by the regularly scheduled season finale.

"We're in the middle of a mess now," said Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, who couldn't contain his anger.

INJURY UPDATES: Atlanta starter John Thomson and cleanup hitter Chipper Jones, left, left yesterday's game against the Cubs with injuries. Thomson, slated to start Game 2 of the divisional series next week, pitched three innings before leaving with a stiff back. Jones exited in the fifth inning after being hit with a pitch near his right wrist. He suffered a contusion and no X-rays were needed. . . .

ROTATION NOTATIONS: If the Giants need to play a one-game playoff tomorrow, left-hander Noah Lowry would start. . . .

Woody Williams has the fewest victories of any Cardinals starter. But he, and not Matt Morris, will get the honor of starting their playoff opener.

"More than anything else, he's feeling physically the best he's felt all year," Manager Tony La Russa said yesterday. "We think it gives us the best shot in case there's a Game 5."

The rotation had been aligned to give Morris (15-10, 4.72) the nod in Game 1, and Williams (11-8, 4.18) had been scheduled to pitch in the regular season finale today and then go in Game 3 on the road. Instead, Dan Haren will fill in today and Morris moves to what had been Williams's playoff slot.

Jason Marquis (15-6, 3.66) will pitch in Game 2 and Jeff Suppan (16-9, 4.16) will work in Game 4. The Cardinals are without Chris Carpenter (15-5, 3.46), who's been sidelined with nerve damage in his right biceps since Sept. 18. . . .

Manager Terry Francona said right-hander Curt Schilling will start Game 1 of Boston's first playoff series, followed by right-hander Pedro Martinez. He has yet to decide his Game 3 starter.

TORRE SITS: Yankees Manager Joe Torre was suspended for one game and fined yesterday because one of his pitchers threw at a batter after umpire warnings during a game against the Red Sox last Sunday. Torre served his suspension yesterday.