Cleveland veteran Jason Giambi belted a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Indians a stunning 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, keeping the Indians up with the lead pack in the American League (AL) wild-card battle.
Tampa Bay beat the New York Yankees and Texas defeated Houston to also keep pace in the wild-card race, while Detroit clinched their place in the playoffs by downing Minnesota, though Cleveland’s win meant the Tigers have not yet sealed the AL Central crown.
In the National League (NL), St Louis edged closer to securing the Central title by beating Washington. Pittsburgh moved ahead of Cincinnati in the NL wild-card fight by overcoming the Chicago Cubs, while the Reds lost to the New York Mets.
Giambi drove a pitch from Addison Reed (5-4) beyond right field to save the Indians from a potentially devastating loss.
Giambi’s shot bailed out controversial Cleveland closer Chris Perez, who had given up two homers in the top of the ninth.
As he rounded third base, the 42-year-old Giambi slowed down before being engulfed by his teammates as the Indians celebrated their 13th straight win over Chicago.
The win kept the Indians’ hold on the second wild card, behind Tampa Bay and ahead of Texas.
Tampa Bay beat New York 7-0, pushing the Yankees to the brink of missing the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years.
Rays starter Matt Moore (16-4) somehow managed to avoid giving up a run in five unconvincing innings in which he gave up three hits, six walks and three wild pitches.
Tampa Bay jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning to set up a fifth-straight win.
The Yankees are five games off the second wild card and will be eliminated if they lost yesterday and Cleveland won.
Texas stayed in the wild-card race with a 3-2 win over Houston, who have lost 11 straight.
Adrian Beltre homered at home for the first time in more than a month as the Rangers stayed one game behind Cleveland.
Beltre’s 29th homer of the season snapped a 2-2 tie with one out in the sixth inning.
The Astros lost their 107th game of the season, matching an unwanted franchise record from last season.
In the National League, St Louis beat Washington 2-0 to open a two-game lead in the Central.
Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha was on track for a no-hitter when he gave up an infield single to Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the ninth inning.
Making his ninth career start, Wacha (4-1) came about as close as possible to finishing off the third no-hitter in the majors this season. Instead, he became the third pitcher to have a bid broken up with one out to go.
Zimmerman hit a chopper just over Wacha’s glove — the pitcher said he thought it nicked his mitt — and the ball bounced slowly toward shortstop. A charging Pete Kozma grabbed it with his bare hand and whipped a throw to first that was a little wide, pulling Matt Adams off the bag just as Zimmerman arrived.
Pittsburgh took over the wild-card lead by beating the Chicago Cubs 8-2, moving a game clear of Cincinnati.
Gerrit Cole (10-7) threw six strong innings, giving up two runs, to win his fourth-straight start.
One night after clinching their first postseason spot in 21 years, Cole and the Pirates showed few signs of a letdown. Cole also hit a two-run single during Pittsburgh’s three-run second inning.