Yankees clinch playoff spot after 2-year absence
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.