Rangers force AL wild-card tiebreaker, beat Angels
The Associated Press | September 30,2013
Angels catcher Chris Iannetta holds out his glove as Adrian Beltre of the Rangers follows through on a solo home run swing off a pitch from Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 6-2.
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers forced a one-game tiebreaker for the second AL wild-card spot, winning their seventh in a row Sunday when Geovany Soto hit a tiebreaking RBI double and later homered to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-2.
The Rangers (91-71) added game No. 163 to the regular season, and will host Tampa Bay on Monday night. The winner plays two days later at wild card leader Cleveland in another win-or-be-done matchup.
About the same time Tampa Bay wrapped up its 7-6 win at Toronto to necessitate a victory by the Rangers to keep playing, Craig Gentry hit a two-run single in the fifth for a 2-1 lead.
Los Angeles quickly tied the game against major league strikeout leader Yu Darvish in the sixth, but the Rangers went ahead to stay in the bottom half on Soto’s two-out double.
Adrian Beltre and Soto added solo homers in the eighth. It was Beltre’s 30th and the ninth for Soto, who has become the primary catcher for Darvish.
The Angels (78-84) finished with a losing record for only the second time in 10 seasons after being swept in a four-game series at Texas for the first time since June 1978.
Neal Cotts (8-3) replaced Darvish in the sixth and allowed the tying hit, but struck out Howie Kendrick for the inning-ending out with runners on first and third.
Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan each pitched a scoreless inning after that.
Rays 7, Blue Jays 6
TORONTO — Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays assured themselves a tie for an AL wild-card berth, scoring six runs in the first inning and then holding off the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 Sunday.
Longoria hit an RBI double as the Rays used their highest-scoring first inning since 2010 to go ahead early. Tampa Bay took a 7-0 lead into the sixth before Toronto rallied.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the seventh and the Blue Jays put the go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth and ninth innings. Fernando Rodney got for four shaky outs for his 37th save in 45 chances.
Tampa Bay is certainly familiar with big rallies on the final day. In 2011, the Rays overcome a 7-0 deficit in the eighth and came back to beat the Yankees 8-7 in 12th to clinch a wild-card spot.
This time, the Rays almost let a huge lead slip away.
Matt Moore (17-4) won consecutive starts for the first time in more than two months. He allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. Moore walked three, all in the first inning, and struck out four.
Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond (4-3) got just two outs.
Indians 5, Twins 1
MINNEAPOLIS — The surging Cleveland Indians earned their first postseason berth since 2007, beating the Minnesota Twins 5-1 Sunday to clinch an AL wild card as Ubaldo Jimenez tied a career high with 13 strikeouts.
Nick Swisher homered in the first inning for the Indians, who ended the regular season with 10 straight wins.
Cleveland will host Tampa Bay or Texas in the one-game AL wild card playoff on Wednesday night.
Jimenez (13-9) gave up one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings for the Indians, who mobbed each other on the diamond in a jubilant celebration after the final out.
Scott Diamond (6-13) gave up four runs — two earned — and seven hits for the Twins (66-96).
Yankees 5, Astros 1
HOUSTON — Mark Reynolds hit a tiebreaking homer in a four-run 14th inning, and the New York Yankees went into an offseason of uncertainty Sunday with a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros, whose 15-game losing streak was the longest at the end of the season in more than a century.
Mariano Rivera didn’t pitch in the final game of a career that started in 1995, and Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were among the players unsure whether they had played their final games for the Yankees (85-77).
Royals 4, White Sox 1
CHICAGO — The Kansas City Royals think this is only the beginning. Wait until next year comes around.
Bruce Chen pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning and Kansas City beat the Chicago White Sox 4-1 on Sunday in the finale of the Royals’ best season in 24 years.
Kansas City won three of four in Chicago and went 17-10 in September for its most successful month of the season. The Royals’ 86-76 record was their best mark since they went 92-70 in 1989.