With ten games to go following last night’s 11-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Tampa Bay Rays are essentially in must win mode every night. The victory, coupled with a loss by the Oakland A’s, allowed the Rays to move closer in the Wild Card standings. Here is a look around the action yesterday.
The Boston Red Sox continued their free-fall to the cellar of the AL East, losing to the Baltimore Orioles 9-6 in twelve innings. Baltimore actually held a 6-3 lead into the seventh before the Red Sox scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth to tie the game. In the top of the twelfth, Jim Thome, who had been 0-5 up to that point, laced a ground rule double, scoring Adam Jones with what proved to be the winning run. The Orioles scored two more runs in the inning off Alfredo Aceves before Jim Johnson slammed the door, earning his 47th save of the year. The victory keeps Baltimore firmly in control of the first Wild Card spot. The Orioles are an unbelievable 16-2 in extra innings.
New York Yankees 10, Oakland A’s 9 (14 innings)
In a wild contest between the Yankees and the A’s, New York came back from down four runs behind in the bottom of the thirteenth before winning 10-9 in fourteen innings. With the score tied at 5-5 after nine, the A’s exploded for four runs in the top of the thirteenth inning, using back to back home runs from Jonny Gomes and Yoenis Cespedes to take an 8-5 lead. After an out, Chris Carter also homered, putting Oakland up 9-5. However, the Yankees stormed back, loading the bases with one out. A wild pitch and a sacrifice fly led to two runs, before Raul Ibanez tied the game with his second home run of the contest. The Yankees loaded the bases again with one out in the fourteenth, but had a runner forced at home on a ground ball to the mound. Eduardo Nunez followed with a ground ball to first, which kicked off the heel of Brandon Moss‘s glove for an error, giving the Yankees the victory. The Yankees are now 9-1 in their last 10 games.
The Angels jumped out over the White Sox in the first inning, scoring twice before an out was recorded, then getting two more runs on a Mark Trumbo single with two outs. White Sox starter Jose Quintana settled down from that point, but the damage had already been done. Dan Haren allowed only two runs on six hits and a walk over his 6+ innings of work, striking out four batters. Haren now has a 5-1 record, a 2.45 ERA, and 30 strikeouts versus just 5 walks in his last 6 starts. The Chicago runs came on a solo home run from Paul Konerko and an RBI groundout by Dewayne Wise. The loss was the fourth straight for the White Sox, who have seen their AL Central lead fall to just a half game over the Tigers.
The Detroit Tigers ran roughshod over the hapless Minnesota Twins yesterday, coming away with an 8-0 victory. With a 2-0 lead heading into the third, the Tigers exploded, scoring five runs before recording an out. Delmon Young drilled a three run home run, highlighting the scoring as Detroit battered Twins starter Samuel Deduno. Deduno gave up seven runs on seven hits and three walks over 2.1 innings. Miguel Cabrera capped off the scoring in the fourth, drilling his 42nd home run of the year, tying himself for the AL lead in the category as he goes for the Triple Crown. Doug Fister pitched his first career shutout, allowing only seven hits while striking out seven batters.
The Wild Card standings are now as follows:
Baltimore + 2.0
Los Angeles – 2.5 GB
Tampa Bay – 3.5 GB
Detroit – 4.5 GB
The Orioles are currently on pace for 93 wins. The Rays won the AL Wild Card with 91 wins in 2011 but prior to that, no team had won the AL Wild Card with fewer than 94 wins since 2000, when the A’s also won it with 91 victories. The NL Wild Card hasn’t been won by a team with more than 92 wins since 2002.