AL Wild Card Roundup: Orioles Win in Extras, A’s and Angels Fall

By Robbie Knopf

The Rays are not out of the AL playoff picture yet. Hopefully their big win Wednesday is the start if an incredible run to end the season that makes every AL contender start feeling something breathing down their neck. Let’s see what happened in the AL Wild Card race on Wednesday night.

Orioles 3, Mariners 1 (11 innings)

The Orioles found a way to win in extra innings yet again, winning on an 11-inning 2-run homer by Adam Jones off of Josh Kinney. Joe Saunders went neck-and-neck with Felix Hernandez, with both going 8 innings of 1-run ball with the only runs scoring in the 4th on a Mark Reynolds RBI single and a Franklin Gutierrez solo homer. Tom Wilhelmsen tossed 2 shutout relief innings after relieving Hernandez while four Baltimore relievers combined to do the same before Jones’ homer gave Baltimore the lead. In the bottom of the 11th, Jim Johnson worked around 2 hits and a walk for his 45th save, with Michael Saunders getting caught stealing to end it. The Orioles improve to a ridiculous 15-2 in extra-innings games.

Tigers 6, Athletics 2

Justin Verlander was sharp for his 15th victory while Brett Anderson didn’t have it as the Tigers got 3 RBI from Omar Infante in their 6-2 victory. The Tigers rallied against Anderson in the 3rd, scoring on a 2-run double by Infante before knocking out Anderson after just 2.1 innings, and a Delmon Young sac fly off of Pat Neshek made it 3-0 Detroit. The Tigers added 3 more runs the rest of the game, including Miguel Cabrera‘s 41st homer, and that gave them some breathing room in the 9th despite a 2-out, 2-run rally by the A’s off of Jose Valverde as they came away with the win. Verlander tossed 6 innings allowing no runs on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 3 as he upped his record on the season to 15-8.

Rangers 6, Angels 2

The Rangers knocked out ex-teammate C.J. Wilson in the 3rd and pulled away with their second 3-run inning of the game in the 8th as they notched their AL-leading 88th win. The Rangers got 3 straight hits off of Wilson to begin the 3rd inning, with Elvis Andrus tripling in Ian Kinsler before Michael Young doubled in Andrus, and a 2-out RBI double by Mike Napoli knocked Wilson out after just 2.2 innings, his earliest exit since May 11th, which also came against the Rangers. An Alberto Callaspo 2-run shot off Derek Holland in the 5th, giving at least 1 homer allowed in 11 of his last 12 starts, made it a tight 3-2 game but the Rangers got 3 huge insurance runs in the 8th on a Nelson Cruz RBI double and a Geovany Soto 2-run shot and wound up winning by a solid margin, 6-2. Holland improved to 11-6, with the Rangers having won his last 4 decisions, while Wilson drops to 12-10 and sees his ERA against his former team jump to 7.65.

Here are your updated standings:

1. Orioles + 0.5
2. Athletics —
3. Angels 3.5 GB
4. Tigers 5 GB
5. Rays 5.5 GB

Every other team (other than division leaders Texas, Chicago, and New York should it become necessary for them) has been eliminated from the AL Wild Card race.