The Rays had a chance to clinch a playoff berth last night with a victory and a Rangers loss. Unfortunately, neither happened, as Jeremy Hellickson was let down by his defense and the Rangers came back against the Angels. Now, instead of the Rays being able to count on at least one postseason game, the race for the Wild Card has tightened.
The Tribe jumped out to a lead quickly against the Twins, scoring four runs before Minnesota had a chance to get to the plate. Jason Kipnis had an RBI triple, Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera each had RBI doubles, and Yan Gomes singled to drive in a run as Cleveland jumped out on top. The Indians continued their onslaught in the second, as a run scored on a double play groundout and Ryan Raburn hit a two run single to give Cleveland the 7-0 lead. However, the Twins fought back. After scoring a run in the fourth and seeing Mike Aviles drive in two more for Cleveland with a single in the top of the fifth, the Twins came back against Indians starter Corey Kluber. Pedro Florimon hit a two run home run in the bottom of the inning. Minnesota loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, and Florimon drove in another run on a groundout. Alex Presley followed with a two run single, and the Twins were within three. Yet, the Indians proved too much to overcome, taking on three runs to put the cap on the 12-6 victory. Kluber did not pitch well, but managed to earn the win despite giving up six runs on ten hits and a walk over 5.1 innings.
This game could have almost been a carbon copy of Thursday’s matchup between the Rangers and Angels. Texas jumped out early, as Alex Rios drove in the first run of the game on a fielder’s choice. After the Angles tied the game on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third, the Rangers came back against a suddenly ineffective C.J. Wilson. After loading the bases with a single, a walk and a hit batsman, Wilson hit A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch to force in a run before allowing another run to score as he uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning. However, Los Angeles came back, as they loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fifth. Former Rays farmhand Josh Hamilton singled to right, driving in two runs as the Angels tied the game. The Rangers, fighting for their playoff lives, were not about to give up. Rios struck again, driving in what would prove to be the game winning run on a base hit to right. He then stole second and scored on an infield single by Pierzynski to provide the final margin of victory. Neal Cotts earned the win in relief, striking out two in a scoreless inning.
With the Rays loss, combined with wins by the Rangers and Indians, the chase for the Wild Card drew tighter last night. The Rays and Indians find themselves tied for the Wild Card, with the Rangers sitting just a game out. Tampa still controls their own fate, but their magic number remains at two to clinch a spot in the postseason.
T1. Tampa Bay (90-70), -
T1. Cleveland (90-70), –
3. Texas (89-71), 1 GB