Friday’s Action Produces Change in Playoff Makeup

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston clinches AL East

Things got a little wilder in the baseball world last evening. No less than eight games had a direct impact on how division and/or wild card races were affected by their outcomes. Let’s take a stroll through thoes games and we’ll start by heading over the Fenway…

Boston 6, Toronto 3
The Red Sox completed their worst to first season by taking down the Blue Jays to outright clinch the AL East title. Going from 93 losses to 94 wins is quite the accomplishment. And all it took was a new guy in the dugout?

But the game took an odd twist early.

As Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus was running out to take his position, this happened… (about the 1:40 mark)

Also, a bit ironic that Red Sox skipper John Farrell takes down the team he manged last year in order to claim the AL East crown.

(To check out more from the Red Sox division clinching victory and other festivities, BoSox Injection has you covered.)

But the developments within the AL wild card race took a bit of a turn…

Tampa Bay 5, Baltimore 4 (F/18)
They did play two at the Trop, but it counted as only one game. With one out in the 18th inning, David DeJesus singled. Desmond Jennings crossed the plate with the game-winning run…after 6 hours and 54 minutes of play.

The loss was certainly deflating to the O’s, but they are still amid all the clutter that is the AL wild card race. And after last night’s “marathon”, these two teams have a game at 1:05 PM game today. No rest for the weary.

(For coverage on the Rays win, head to Rays Colored Glasses)

Cleveland 2, Houston 1 (F/7)
An unearned run in the fourth proved to be the difference. A Chris Carter throwing error allowed on a ball hit by Michael Brantley allowed Ryan Rayburn to score. The game was called after a delay of an hour and nine minutes.

(For insight on Cleveland’s win from last evening, Wahoos on First has the full details)

Kansas City 2, Texas 1
The Rangers continue their September swoon as the Royals scored in the bottom of the 8th…on a bases loaded walk. Neftali Feliz forced the run home when he issued the free pass to Alcides Escobar. Greg Holland retired the Rangers in order in the top of the ninth as KC hangs around in the wild card hunt.

The Rangers are now 4-14 in the month of September. With the A’s thrashing the Twins 11-0 last night, Oakland sees their magic number decrease to 2. The A’s can clinch the AL West for a second straight season if they win tonight and the Rangers once again fall to the Royals.

New York Yankees 5, San Francisco 1
On the day Andy Pettitte announced his retirement (again), Alex Rodriguez surpassed Lou Gehrig as MLB’s all-time leader in grand slams with 24. His slam in the bottom of the 7th was the difference in the game.

Here’s the current AL Wild Card standings…

Team Div W L GB
TBR E 84 69 +0.5
CLE C 84 70
TEX W 83 70 0.5
BAL E 81 72 2.5
KCR C 81 72 2.5
NYY E 81 73 3

Of note, the Angels are still mathematically alive, 8.5 games back…

On the NL side of things, there wasn’t the shakeup, but there were sure some dramatics…

Cincinnati 6, Pittsburgh 5 (F/10)
The Reds were down to their final out and facing a 5-2 deficit. As a grounder off the bat of Todd Frazier made its way toward Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer, the Pirates looked to be taking game one of this crucial series. Then Mercer threw the ball away, allowing Ryan Ludwick to score. The floodgates opened for the Reds to knot the score at 5-5 and force the extra frame.

In the top of the 10th, Joey Votto lined a home run which barely cleared the left field wall and the Reds had a 6-5, 10-inning win at PNC Park.

(For more on the developments of last night’s comeback, check out Blog Red Machine)

St. Louis 7, Milwaukee 6 (F/10)
The other series in the NL Central that holds playoff ramifications also went extras. Both teams score a pair of runs in the 9th to force a 10th inning.

In that inning, Carlos Beltran‘s sacrifice fly provided the Cards with the winning run and a road win. The Cards are 13-4 against the Brewers this season. The Cards’ win also keeps the Reds – and now, the Pirates – two games back within the division.

Other notes from yesterday’s action…

- The Atlanta Braves lowered their magic number to 1 with a 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs.
- The Washington Nationals continue to cling to wild card hopes with their 8-0 win over the Miami Marlins.

The NL wild card picture…

Team Div W L GB
CIN C 88 66
PIT C 88 66
WSN E 83 71 5

All other NL teams have been eliminated.

September baseball. What’s better?

Want more from Call to the Pen?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.

TEAMFeed More Call to the Pen news from the Fansided Network

Hot on the Web From golf.com