The New York Yankees had their seven-game winning streak halted with a 5-4 home loss to the Oakland Athletics, yet clung to their one-game division lead as the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox 2-1.
The Yankees fell to 88-64, while the Orioles have an 87-75 record with 10 games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. The Orioles and Athletics (86-66) are in position for the American League’s two wild card playoff spots, which go to the top non division-winners.
“Our guys have been focused on what we’re doing and not worrying so much on what everyone else is doing,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said at a news conference. “We want to win every game, that’s the bottom line. We have the chance to win our division, a chance to win home field advantage. It’s a disappointing loss, but you move on.”
After going 7-2 on their nine-game homestand, New York now plays seven road games before returning to finish the regular season at Yankee Stadium with a three-game series against the Red Sox. The Yankees open a three-game series in Minnesota today and then travel to Toronto for four games.
“We came home and had a real good homestand and now we have to carry it over to the road,” Girardi said.
The Yankees held a 4-3 lead yesterday before the Athletics tied it in the fifth inning on a run-scoring single by Yoenis Cespedes. Oakland scored the go-ahead run in the next inning on Cliff Pennington’s single off losing pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.
Four Athletics’ relievers combined to shut out the Yankees over the final 4 2/3 innings.
The Orioles, who had a six-game winning streak snapped yesterday, begin a seven-game homestand today with a double-header against Toronto and face the Blue Jays twice more. After playing the Red Sox three times, they finish the season on the road with three games against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The team that doesn’t win the division would probably have to meet the AL’s other wild card team in a one-game playoff.
The Athletics, who are four games behind the AL-leading Texas Rangers in the AL West, lead the Los Angeles Angels (84-69) by 2 1/2 games for the league’s second wild card berth.
The Chicago White Sox (81-71) lost their fifth straight game yesterday, yet still hold a one-game lead over Detroit atop the AL Central as the Tigers (80-72) were swept in a double-header against the Minnesota Twins.
The St. Louis Cardinals remain 2 1/2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the race for the second of the National League’s two wild card playoff spots. The Cardinals (82-71) beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 yesterday, while the Brewers (79-73) topped the Washington Nationals 6-2.
The Nationals’ lead atop the NL East is down to 4 1/2 games over the Atlanta Braves, who improved to 88-65 with a 2-1 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals clinched a spot in the postseason Sept. 20.