Orioles beat Red Sox 6-3, clinch playoff berth
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles clinched their first playoff berth since 1997, extending their winning streak to four by beating the Boston Red Sox 6-3 Sunday as Nate McLouth, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis hit solo homers.
With three games left the Orioles have a 92-67 win-loss record, are equal with the New York Yankees for the AL East lead and already have 23 more wins than a year ago. The Orioles and Yankees each secured at least wild card spots when the Los Angeles Angels lost to Texas 8-7 Sunday night.
At Toronto, Eduardo Nunez drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly as the Yankees overcame a 5-1 deficit to beat the Blue Jays 9-6 and and clinched their 17th playoff berth in 18 years.
Toronto took a 5-1 lead in the fifth against Phil Hughes, but the Yankees closed in the sixth on a run-scoring pitch by Henderson Alvarez and tied it an inning later on Ichiro Suzuki’s sacrifice fly, Robinson Cano’s RBI double against Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup’s run-scoring wild pitch.
“Tonight was a season-defining game for us,” New York’s Nick Swisher said. “We could have gone down big like that and just packed it in, but that’s not this team’s M.O. That’s not how we approach it.”
New York begins a season-ending series against visiting Boston on Monday night, and the Orioles are at Tampa Bay
The Angels and Rangers played a day-night doubleheader at Arlington, with Mike Napoli homering twice and droving in six runs as Texas clinched its third straight playoff berth. Napoli’s second homer in the night match was a go-ahead three-run shot in the third.
Two-time defending AL champion Texas will finish no worse than a wild card. After blowing a save in the opener by allowing Torii Hunter’s two-run double with two outs in the ninth, Joe Nathan worked the ninth in the night match for his 37th save. Derek Holland (12-6) got the win.
Los Angeles took a quick 4-0 lead in the nightcap that Ervin Santana (9-13) quickly squandered.
In the opener, Garrett Richards (4-3) retired Nelson Cruz with two runners on in the eighth, and Ernesto Frieri pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save. Mike Trout became the first major league rookie to reach 30 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season.
Elsewhere in the American League, Oakland had a 5-2 win over the Mariners with Yoenis Cespedes breaking a 2-2 deadlock in the eighth with a home run off Shawn Kelley. Josh Reddick connected with a two-run shot for his team-leading 32nd homer two batters later as the A’s completed a three-game sweep.
Sean Doolittle (2-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win, and Grant Balfour finished for his 22nd save.
The Tigers edged the Twins 2-1 with Prince Fielder hitting a two-run, opposite-field homer to left off Jared Burton as Detroit opened a season-high, three-game lead over the second-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central with three games to play.
Detroit, which lost to Texas in last year’s AL championship series, closes at Kansas City while Chicago is at Cleveland. The White Sox lost 6-2 at home to the Rays on Sunday, while the Indians pounded the Royals 15-3 — Asdrubal Cabrera capped a 10-run fifth inning with a grand slam as Cleveland tied season highs for runs and hits.
In the National League, Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate for the ninth time in his career and drove in five runs as the St. Louis Cardinals closed in on the NL’s second wild-card berth by beating the Washington Nationals 10-4. They lead the Dodgers by two games for the second NL wild card.
The Atlanta Braves beat the Mets 6-2 in the regular-season home finale for Chipper Jones. The Braves won for a major league record 23rd straight time in games started by Kris Medlen.
The Pirates blew a ninth-inning lead in a 4-3 defeat to the Reds at Pittsburgh and the Dodgers won their fifth straight game to stay in contention for an NL wildcard spot with a 7-1 victory over the Rockies.
Cole Hamels struck out eight and allowed one run over seven innings to finish his season with a flourish, and the Phillies beat the Marlins 4-1, while Jordan Lyles pitched his first major league shutout and hit his first home run as Houston eliminated the Brewers from wild-card playoff contention with a 7-0 victory.
In other results, the Giants beat the Padres 7-5 and the Cubs ended a seven-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Diamondbacks.