Yankees Miss Playoffs for Second Time in Girardi’s Tenure

The New York Yankees were eliminated last night from postseason contention, marking the second time manager Joe Girardi’s club missed the playoffs in his five years in charge.

The Yankees, who have a record 27 World Series championships, lost 8-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays. They already had been eliminated earlier in the evening when the Cleveland Indians won 7-2 against the Chicago White Sox.

With four games remaining in the regular season, New York (82-76) cannot catch the Rays (89-69) or the Indians (88-70) for the two American League wild-card spots. The Yankees made the playoffs for 14 straight years before 2008, when the team failed in Girardi’s first season in charge.

Evan Longoria hit two home runs and drove in four runs for the Rays. David Price (9-8) allowed two runs in seven innings for the win, while Phil Hughes (4-14) lasted two innings for the Yankees.

Tampa Bay holds the first of the wild-card spots that are given to the two teams in each league with the best non-division-winning records. Cleveland now holds the second spot, with the Texas Rangers (87-71) a game back after a 7-3 win at home against the Houston Astros.

The Rays and Indians both are on six-game winning streaks, best in the major leagues. The Astros have lost 12 straight and are an MLB-worst 51-108 this season.

Max Scherzer improved to 21-3 by allowing two hits and striking out 10 in seven scoreless innings as the Detroit Tigers clinched their third straight AL Central division title with a 1-0 win at the Minnesota Twins.

National League

In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals completed a three-game series sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 4-1 victory yesterday and moved to the brink of capturing the Central division title when the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds lost.

The Pirates lost 4-2 at the Chicago Cubs and the Reds lost 1-0 at home to the New York Mets, who got 7 2/3 scoreless innings from starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

St. Louis (94-65) needs one more win or one more loss by the Pirates (91-68) to clinch the division title. The Reds (90-69), who no longer can win the division crown, will get one of the NL’s two wild cards, with St. Louis or Pittsburgh taking the other.

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