Toronto 7, Tampa Bay 2 The Blue Jays got to Chris Archer early, and Joe Maddon didn't take chance, pulling Archer in the 3rd with the score still just 1-1. Unfortunately for Maddon, his bullpen quickly let it get away from them. Toronto scored two in the 4th and 4 in the 5th. The Rays offense was mostly stymied by JA Happ, and the result was a disastrous loss for Tampa.
Cleveland 5, Minnesota 1 Scott Kazmir had another good outing, which has to make the Indians feel very good. Kazmir gave up just 1 run and struck out 11 in 6 innings. Cleveland had all the runs they needed on a 2 run Carlos Santana homer in the 4th, but then added 3 more in the 5th for good measure. The Indians have won 9 straight and now have a 1 game lead on Tampa. A win today means they win the Wild Card and host the game.
Texas 7, L.A. Angels 4 A 4 run 2nd inning put Texas up early and they hung on from there, ending the game in a driving rainstorm. The Rangers' sixth straight win plus Tampa's loss mean the Wild Card standings look like this.
For Cleveland, a win means they're in. For Texas and Tampa, a win means their seasons continue in some capacity. There could be a one game playoff to make the one game playoff. There could be a three way tie. There are still many possibilities here.
Pittsburgh 8, Cincinnati 3 The Pirates slugged six homers overall, five off Bronson Arroyo, to win the game and more importantly, clinch hosting the NL Wild Card game against these same Reds. Expect today's lineup to be AAA quality.
St. Louis 6, Chicago Cubs 2 The Cardinals had this hand early, taking a 6-0 lead in the 3rd. The Cubs did not get on the board until the 9th. St. Louis now has a one game lead in the race for the best record in the NL, because...
Philadelphia 5, Atlanta 4 The Phillies held off a 9th inning comeback attempt by the Braves. Atlanta ended up one run short after Chris Johnson tried to slid into first base and didn't make it, to the shock of no one. Terry Pendelton then attacked Johnson in the dugout. Apparently the Braves even go nuts for the "unwritten rules" on themselves, which I guess is consistent. Despite falling a game behind, the Braves can still be the top seed in the NL if they win today and the Cardinals lose, as the Braves hold the tiebreaker.
Seattle 7, Oakland 5 Up 7-2, the Mariners held on to beat Oakland. With this loss, the Red Sox clinch the top seed in the AL playoffs. The A's officially will open their postseason at home vs. the Tigers.
Baltimore 6, Boston 5 A Steve Pearce 2 RBI double put the Orioles ahead in the 8th, and Jim Johnson didn't blow it. The Orioles win the season series against Boston, which obviously doesn't change either team's postseason futures, but it gave me a smile nonetheless.
N.Y. Yankees 2, Houston 1 In his final game ever, Andy Pettitte pitched a beauty, going the distance while giving up 1 run on 5 hits and striking out 5. Before the game, Mariano Rivera announced he would not appear in this series, citing a tired body and the perfect way his last appearance at Yankee Stadium ended.
Miami 2, Detroit 1 (10 innings) The game didn't matter at all, but it has maybe the last walk-off we get to show in this space. Take it away Giancarlo Stanton.
The Rest of the Games
San Diego 9, San Francisco 3
Milwaukee 4, N.Y. Mets 2 (10 innings)
Chicago White Sox 6, Kansas City 5
Washington 2, Arizona 0
Colorado 1, L.A. Dodgers 0