Ichiro Suzuki raced home on a two- out error in the 14th inning to give the New York Yankees a 10-9 victory over the Oakland Athletics and keep them a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.
“Right now every game is magnified, and we know the situation,” said Yankees Raul Ibanez, who hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning to tie the score at 9-9. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The Orioles defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-6 in 12 innings yesterday for their 16th straight extra-innings win. The Orioles lead the wild-card standings by two games over the Athletics, with the Los Angeles Angels trailing Oakland by three games. The top two wild-card teams face a one-game playoff to advance to the postseason divisional series with the better season record getting home-field advantage.
At Yankee Stadium, the teams were tied 5-5 going into the 13th inning when Jonny Gomes hit a two run homer and Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter each hit solo home runs to give the Athletics (85-66) a 9-5 lead.
The Yankees tied it at 9 after Suzuki scored on a wild pitch by Pat Neshek, Alex Rodriguez added a run on Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly and Ibanez fired his two-run homer.
Suzuki, who hit a solo home run in the first inning, reached home to win the game for the Yankee (88-63) in the 14th inning on first baseman Brandon Moss’s error with the bases loaded.
“I told you all along that I like the fight in this team,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Some of the things we go through, we find ways to get back up.”
At Fenway Park, Jim Thome, who hadn’t played since July 27 because of a herniated disk in his neck, hit a double to score Adam Jones and put the Orioles ahead 7-6 in the 12th inning. Endy Chavez and Manny Machado added run-scoring singles to seal the victory.
“At the end of the season, the teams that you see go into the playoffs pull out the extra-inning games and win a lot of extra-inning games,” Red Sox rightfielder Cody Ross told reporters. “We just haven’t been able to do that this year.”
The Red Sox, who are facing their first losing season since 1997, rallied to tie the score at 6-6 on run-scoring singles by Ross and Ryan Lavarnway in the seventh and Scott Podsednik’s run-scoring double in the eighth.
Jones started the 12th inning with a double, followed by Thome’s blast off reliever Alfredo Aceves.
“It’s been a lot of fun watching these guys and to come and get a big hit like that was great,” Thome said in a televised interview. “Sixteen straight extra-inning wins says a lot about the bullpen and closers, but don’t forget the offense -- it only takes one big hit.”
Oriole manager Buck Showalter praised Thome, the five-time All-Star designated hitter acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in June, for stepping up despite his injuries.
“A lot of guys would have thrown in the towel with the issues he went through with his back,” Showalter said. “He really grinded it out. He means a lot to our clubhouse.”
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