Yanks, Orioles take it to last day

HANGING ON::The Cardinals claimed the last playoff spot on Tuesday, while two AL divisional titles were up for grabs on the final day of the regular season yesterday

AP, NEW YORK

Thu, Oct 04, 2012 - Page 19

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Raul Ibanez tied it with a pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning, then had an RBI single in the 12th, helping the Yankees remain a game up on Baltimore in the AL East with one game to go by beating the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Tuesday night.

With a second comeback spurred by Ibanez in the past 10 days, the Yankees need a win or Orioles loss on the final day of the season to secure their 13th division title since 1996. The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 1-0 earlier.

If the teams ended up even after yesterday’s games, they would play a tiebreaker today in Baltimore.

The Yankees kept missing chances on a misty night. They were 0-58 when trailing after eight innings this season, then rallied in the ninth.

ORIOLES 1, RAYS 0

In St Petersburg, Florida, Chris Davis homered for the sixth straight game as the Orioles overcame a club-record 15 strikeouts by James Shields to beat the Rays, pushing the AL East race to the final day of the season.

Baltimore trail the New York Yankees by one game.

Orioles rookie Miguel Gonzalez (9-4) limited the Rays to two singles over 6-1/3 innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out seven before manager Buck Showalter turned the game over to the bullpen.

Davis joined Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson as the only Baltimore players to homer in six consecutive games, connecting off Shields (15-10) in the fourth. The Orioles managed only one other hit — Nate McLouth’s sixth-inning single — in Shields’ third complete game.

ATHLETICS 3, RANGERS 1

In Oakland, California, Travis Blackley allowed one run over six innings in a strong bounce-back performance that helped the Athletics move into a first-place tie in the AL West with Texas and set up a one-game showdown for the division title.

A night after holding a raucous celebration after clinching their first playoff berth since 2006, the A’s erased the last piece of what had been a 13-game deficit in the division race on June 30 to take a share of first place for the first time since March 29.

ROYALS 4, TIGERS 2

In Kansas City, Missouri, Miguel Cabrera had two hits and drove in two runs before leaving in the fifth inning as the Royals rallied to beat his AL Central champion Tigers.

With one game remaining in the regular season, Cabrera leads the American League in average (.331), home runs (44) and RBIs (139), putting him on the brink of becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

Alcides Esocbar and Jeff Francoeur went deep for Kansas City, while Salvador Perez provided the go-ahead RBI in the fifth inning. Jeremy Guthrie (5-3) lasted six innings to improve to 5-0 with six no-decisions in his final 11 starts, the Royals winning 10 of them.

Doug Fister (10-10) allowed three runs on seven hits in 4-1/3 innings for Detroit.

In Tuesday’s other games, it was:

‧ Indians 4, White Sox 3,

12 innings

‧ Blue Jays 4, Twins 3

‧ Mariners 6, Angels 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AP, ST LOUIS, Missouri

The St Louis Cardinals clinched baseball’s final postseason berth on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to San Francisco.

The defending World Series champions were beaten by Cincinnati 3-1, but wrapped up the second NL wild card hours later when the Giants won 4-3 at Dodger Stadium. St Louis are to play at Atlanta tomorrow in the new one-game playoff between wild-card teams.

The Dodgers’ loss left them two games behind St Louis with one game to go.

GIANTS 4, DODGERS 3

In Los Angeles, the Dodgers were eliminated from playoff contention, their wild-card hopes dashed to Barry Zito and the Giants.

The defeat left the Dodgers two games behind St Louis with only one game left in the regular season. Los Angeles had won six in a row to stay in the race for the second NL wild-card spot, but Mark Ellis lined out to center field with a runner on second base to end it.

The defending World Series champion Cardinals are to open the playoffs tomorrow at Atlanta in a one-game matchup.

Mat Latos won his fourth straight decision to finish the regular season and Scott Rolen homered off Chris Carpenter, helping the Cincinnati Reds keep the St Louis Cardinals’ postseason plans on hold with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night.

The Cardinals’ magic number for clinching the second NL wild card remained at one with a game to go, and they were left in the uncomfortable position of watching the Dodgers on television and rooting for a loss for the second straight night.

Los Angeles, who began the day two games back with two remaining, played at home against the Giants later on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old Carpenter (0-2) has a wealth of big-game experience and went 4-0 in the post-season last fall for the World Series champions, memorably outdueling Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NL division series.

NATIONALS 4, PHILLIES 2

In Washington, a smile crept across Adam LaRoche’s face while he rounded the bases on Tuesday night after hitting his career-high 33rd homer to become the third Nationals player with 100 RBIs in a season, another celebratory moment for NL East champions Washington during a victory over the Phillies.

When the Nationals Park gates opened, early-arriving fans in the crowd of 33,546 were treated to a video montage of alcohol-spraying and general mirth-making from a night earlier, when the home team clinched their first division title since moving from Montreal in 2005.

Even the guy playing the national anthem on his bat-violin on Tuesday wore a gray T-shirt marking the accomplishment.

PIRATES 5, BRAVES 1

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kevin Correia pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Garrett Jones homered as the Pirates won consecutive games for the first time in four weeks, beating the Braves.

The Pirates (79-82) tied for their most wins in a season since their North American major professional sports record streak of 20 losing seasons began in 1993. The 1999 Pirates went 79-83.

A day after being eliminated from the NL East division title race, the wild-card Braves rested several regulars and shuffled players in and out of the lineup throughout the game.

Atlanta are to host the NL wild-card game tomorrow.

In Tuesday’s other games, it was:

‧ Astros 3, Cubs 0

‧ Brewers 4, Padres 3

‧ Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3