Red Sox, Dodgers Are First MLB Teams to Clinch Postseason BerthsNancy Kercheval
The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers clinched Major League Baseball postseason spots for the first time since 2009, and the New York Yankees lost ground in the chase for a wild-card playoff spot.
The Red Sox (93-61), who defeated the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 last night, clinched at least a wild-card spot and lead the American League East division by nine games. The Dodgers (88-65), who topped the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6, captured the National League West title.
In the AL wild-card race, the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays (both 83-69) hold the two berths awarded to non-division-leading teams. The Cleveland Indians (83-70) are a half-game back, followed by the Orioles (81-71), Kansas City Royals (80-72) and Yankees (80-73).
The Rangers defeated the Rays 8-2 yesterday, while the Indians edged the Houston Astros 2-1 in 11 innings. The Royals were off and the Yankees lost 6-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays.
At Rogers Centre in Toronto, Adam Lind hit a three-run homer in the seventh off reliever Joba Chamberlain as the Blue Jays took two out of the three games in the series.
The Yankees, who lost for the fifth time in six games, risk missing the playoffs for the second time in 19 seasons. Their regular-season schedule concludes with a six-game homestand against the San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays, followed by a three-game series at the Astros, who at 51-102 are the worst team in the major leagues.
At Fenway Park, Stephen Drew hit a two-run homer and Dustin Pedroia followed with a run-scoring single to give Boston a 3-0 lead in the second inning.
John Lackey (10-12) had a no-hitter through six innings before Baltimore’s Adam Jones blasted a home run in the seventh inning with one out. Lackey allowed one run on two hits while striking out eight batters as he pitched his first complete game since 2009.
Chris Tillman (16-7) gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out eight in seven innings for the Orioles.
The Red Sox win prevented the Orioles from sweeping the three-game series.
“Who cares about getting two out of three,” Jones told reporters. “At this point and time, winning the series means nothing. We need wins is all. Good job getting the series if this was June, but it’s September. We need wins.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his team isn’t satisfied with taking two of three games.
“There’s a small margin of error,” Showalter said. “Mathematically, over a long season it bodes well, but we’re in a different spot. Every game is either a gained opportunity or a missed one.”
At Chase Field in Phoenix, Hanley Ramirez hit his second home run to tie the game 6-6 in the seventh and A.J. Ellis added a home run in the eighth to give Los Angeles the win.
Ramirez hit a three-run homer in the third inning for the Dodgers, only to have the Diamondbacks respond with six runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Dodgers’ Scott Van Slyke hit a run-scoring double and then scored on Michael Young’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning as Los Angeles pulled within 6-5.
The Dodgers began the season with a 30-42 record that put them last in the division, 9 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks. Since June 22, they have gone 58-23, including a 42-8 run since outfielder Yasiel Puig was called up to the major leagues.
“We put a great team together and a big payroll with huge expectations,” said manager Don Mattingly. “A lot of time that falls apart and it had a chance to fall apart during the season, I thought. The players came together, we got healthy, and then we just rolled.”
In the NL wild-card standings, the Pittsburgh Pirates (88-65) and Cincinnati Reds (87-66) hold the two spots, followed by the Washington Nationals (82-71) and the Diamondbacks (77-75).