Yan­kees clinch play­off spot af­ter 2-year ab­sence

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The New York Yan­kees clinched an Amer­i­can League wild-card spot Thurs­day night, end­ing a two-year ab­sence from the post­sea­son by beat­ing the Bos­ton Red Sox 4-1.

Car­los Bel­tran and rook­ies Greg Bird and Rob Ref­s­ny­der all home­red for the Yan­kees in the club’s 10,000th reg­u­lar-sea­son win.

Alex Ro­driguez and the Yan­kees open the play­offs with a win­ner­take-all game on Tues­day. Hous­ton leads the race for the sec­ond AL wild-card spot.

New York had failed to reach the play­offs in con­sec­u­tive years for the first time since its 1982-93 drought, just be­fore the start of a golden age that in­cluded five World Se­ries ti­tles and seven AL pen­nants from 1996-2009 for the now-re­tired Derek Jeter and Mar­i­ano Rivera.

The Texas Rangers also clinched a wild-card spot and moved to the cusp of the AL West ti­tle, with Adrian Bel­tre’s three-run dou­ble back­ing pitcher Derek Hol­land in a 5-3 win over the Los An­ge­les An­gels.

The Rangers (87-72), in the play­offs for the first time since 2012 af­ter a 95-loss sea­son, are a win or a Hous­ton loss away from their first di­vi­sion ti­tle since win­ning two straight and go­ing to the World Se­ries in 2010-11.

The An­gels are a game be­hind the Astros and tied with Min­nesota for the sec­ond wild-card slot.

The AL East cham­pion Toronto Blue Jays rested their reg­u­lars a day af­ter clinch­ing the di­vi­sion ti­tle as Manny Machado home­red twice in the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles’ 6-4 win.

The game was de­layed by rain for nearly 3 1/2 hours.

Min­nesota pinch-run­ner Ed­uardo Nunez scored from third base off a wild pitch and Torii Hunter hit a sac­ri­fice fly in the ninth in­ning as the Twins beat the Cleve­land In­di­ans 4-2 and moved a lit­tle closer to an AL wild-card spot.

Fac­ing a crush­ing loss, the Twins scored a run in the eighth to tie it and then two un­earned runs in the ninth off Cody Allen (2-5). They’re tied with the An­gels, one game be­hind Hous­ton for the sec­ond wild­card berth with three games left.

In Philadelphia, Jerad Eick­hoff struck out 10 bat­ters in seven in­nings and Darin Ruf hit a two-run homer as the Phillies beat the Na­tional League East cham­pion New York Mets 3-0 to com­plete a three­game sweep.

The Mets have a one-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field ad­van­tage in their di­vi­sion se­ries next week.

The Chicago Cubs kept alive their slim hopes for home-field ad­van­tage in the NL wild-card game af­ter Austin Jack­son hit a three-run homer and An­thony Rizzo added an RBI dou­ble in a 5-3 vic­tory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cubs moved within two games of idle Pittsburgh in the race for home field in Wed­nes­day’s NL wild-card play­off game. The Reds lost their 12th in a row.

San Fran­cisco pitcher Brett An­der­son gave up four hits in 7 2-3 in­nings as the NL West cham­pion Los An­ge­les Dodgers wrapped up their road sched­ule with a 3-2 win over the San Fran­cisco Giants.

In other games, Jonny Gomes drove in three runs as the Kansas City Roy­als beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 to move into a tie with Toronto for the AL’s best record, the Tampa Bay Rays downed the Mi­ami Mar­lins 4-1 for a three-game sweep, the Washington Na­tion­als blanked the At­lanta Braves 3-0, the San Diego Padres de­feated the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers 3-1 and the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs were 8-6 win­ners over the Colorado Rock­ies.

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