Last night, the race for the Wild Card in the American League became a bit clearer. The Rays eliminated the Yankees last night courtesy of an excellent start by David Price and Evan Longoria‘s two home runs. Meanwhile, later that night, Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners drove the final nail in the Royals coffin, leaving only the Rays, Indians and Rangers alive for the postseason.
With nothing to play for aside from the hope to be playoff spoilers, the White Sox were unable to do even that. The Indians took advantage of Chicago’s miscues, scoring a run on an error and an RBI single by Michael Brantley. Nick Swisher hit a two run home run in the fifth as the Indians took command of the game. After a sacrifice fly, Cleveland put the game out of reach as Asdrubal Cabrera capped off the game with a two run single to center. Danny Salazar got the win, lasting 5.1 innings while giving up two runs on six hits and a walk, striking out eight.
Another team in the Wild Card hunt, and another team with nothing to look forward to aside from a long vacation. Naturally, the Rangers took care of business as they sought to stay within striking distance in the Wild Card hunt, defeating the Astros in relatively easy fashion. The Astros actually took a brief lead, when Chris Carter hit a two run home run and Brandon Laird hit a solo shot to put Houston up 3-1. However, the Rangers came right back with an impressive two out rally in the bottom of the inning. Texas loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batsman, bringing up Leonys Martin. Martin doubled to right, clearing the bases, and came around to score on a base hit. Alex Rios capped off the scoring with an RBI single as the Rangers put the game out of reach. Ian Kinsler homered to cap off the scoring, and the Rangers kept pace with a 7-3 victory. Martin Perez earned the win, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out eight.
It was a good run for the Royals, as they will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2003. However, they came up just short in their efforts to join the postseason as they were unable to muster any offense against Iwakuma. Iwakuma held the Royals to four hits and a walk over his eight shutout innings, striking out nine. He received all the run support he would need in the fifth, as Mike Zunino led off the inning with a home run, and Kyle Seager drove in two with a double to right. The Mariners put the game away in the eighth, when Michael Saunders and Zunino hit back to back home runs to give the Mariners the 6-0 victory to eliminate the Royals. Kansas City was unable to get a runner past second until there were two outs in the ninth, and never really had much of a scoring threat throughout the game.
With the Royals and the Yankees eliminated, here is a look at the Wild Card standings:
1. Tampa Bay (89-69), +1.0
2. Cleveland (88-70), –
3. Texas (87-71), 1 GB