The Cleveland Indians won their ninth straight game and took sole possession of the AL wild-card lead on the next-to-last scheduled day of the regular season, beating Minnesota 5-1 on Saturday behind Scott Kazmir’s 11 strikeouts.
Seeking their first post-season appearance since 2007, the Indians (91-70) hold a one-game lead over Tampa Bay and Texas (both 90-71).
Cleveland is assured of at least a tie for the AL wild card. With three teams seeking the two wild cards, yesterday’s results could decide the matter or lead to one or two tiebreaker games at the start of next week.
After a rain delay of 2 hours, 26 minutes at the start, Kazmir (10-9) allowed one run and six hits in six innings.
Cole De Vries (0-2) allowed five runs in five innings.
YANKEES 2, ASTROS 1
In Houston, Texas, Andy Pettitte completed his career in a most fitting fashion.
The 41-year-old left-hander pitched a five-hitter for his first complete game since 2006, leading the New York Yankees over his hometown Houston Astros.
“It couldn’t end any better,” Pettitte said, trying to hold back tears.
Houston extended their team-record losing streak to 14 with their 110th loss of the season.
Pettitte (11-11) never had a losing record in 18 major league seasons. He was 256-153 with a 3.85 ERA and excelled in October last year, when he compiled a record 19 post-season wins.
He struck out five and walked two in a 115-pitch effort.
Paul Clemens (4-7) took the loss.
BLUE JAYS 7, RAYS 2
In Toronto, the Tampa Bay Rays dropped into a tie with Texas for the second AL wild-card berth, losing to Toronto as Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar hit two-run homers.
The Rays and Rangers are even, one game behind Cleveland.
A.J. Happ (5-7) got the win. Alex Torres (4-2) lost in relief.
Yesterday, Matt Moore (16-4) was to start for the Rays against Blue Jays rookie right-hander Todd Redmond.
RANGERS 7, ANGELS 4
In Arlington, Texas, Craig Gentry doubled, scored and bunted home a run, helping the Texas Rangers beat the sloppy Los Angeles Angels for their sixth straight win.
The Rangers, trying to make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, and Tampa Bay are tied for the second AL wild-card spot, a game behind Cleveland.
The Angels made five errors for a game for the first time since Sept. 16, 2006, also against Texas. Garrett Richards (7-8) threw two wild pitches and made an error.
Joakim Soria (1-0) got his first major league victory since July 23, 2011, and Joe Nathan got his 43rd save in 46 chances.
The 11:07am start was the earliest home game in the 42 seasons the Rangers have played in Texas — the game was moved up eight hours because of the threat of bad weather. Nathan closed it out in heavy rain.
ORIOLES 6, RED SOX 5
In Baltimore, Steve Pearce drove in the go-ahead runs with a double in the eighth inning as the Baltimore Orioles rallied to a 6-5 win over the Boston Red Sox, who clinched home-field advantage throughout the post-season earlier in the day.
The victory brought a measure of consolation for the Orioles, making them the only AL East team to win the season series against the Red Sox.
Boston was assured of the best record in the American League when Oakland lost to Seattle with one day to spare in the regular season. The Red Sox will open their division series at Fenway Park on Friday against the winner of the wild-card playoff — either Cleveland, Tampa Bay or Texas.