Justin Turner homered twice and A.J. Pollock, Will Smith and Edwin Rios also went deep as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the Angels 9-5 on Friday to open the first-ever season-closing Freeway Series.
The loss mathematically eliminated the Angels from post-season contention in Joe Maddon’s first season as manager, and gave the final American League playoff spot to the Houston Astros.
The Angels’ longshot hopes had rested on sweeping the Dodgers in the Freeway Series and Houston losing their final three games. The Astros kept the Angels’ optimism flickering when they dropped a 5-4 decision against the Texas Rangers in 10 innings. The Angels led 5-3 at the time.
“This is one time I’m yearning for 162 [games], because they had a real solid chance of turning this around and pushing it in the right direction,” Maddon said. “We gave it a nice run. Texas really helped us out a lot. We had a nice thing going on, we grabbed the lead here, we just cannot hold on to it.”
Turner hit a solo shot leading off the fifth and Max Muncy singled to chase Andrew Heaney. Smith followed with a two-run drive off Matt Andriese (2-4) that gave the Dodgers a 6-5 lead.
It was the major league-leading 112th homer of the season for the team with the best record in the MLB.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts cited the power of everyone in his lineup.
“Especially this last 14, 15 days, we’ve really taken our walks and been grinding,” Roberts said. “I really like how we’re going about it.”
The Dodgers’ victory allowed the Astros to finish second in the AL West and qualify for the 16-team post-season.
In Cleveland, Ohio, Cesar Hernandez ripped an RBI double into the right-field corner with two outs in the ninth inning as the Indians rallied for their third walk-off win in four days, a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that kept their hopes alive for winning the AL Central.
Down 3-1 and held to one hit for eight innings, the Indians found more of the late-inning magic that has carried them this week.
Tyler Naquin drew a leadoff walk off Chris Stratton (2-1) and pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow hit an RBI double high off the wall in left.
Delino DeShields — who broke up Pittsburgh’s no-hit bid with a bunt single in the seventh — hit an RBI single one out later. After Francisco Lindor lined out, it was Hernandez’s turn to be a hero, and after he delivered, he was chased around the infield by his celebrating teammates.
The Indians (34-25) have clinched a playoff spot, and they can still overtake the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox.
In New York, the Miami Marlins returned with enough force to reach the playoffs for the first time since their 2003 championship.
A National League-worst 57-105 a year ago, they sealed the improbable berth on the field of the team that Miami chief executive officer Derek Jeter and manager Don Mattingly once captained.
“I think this is a good lesson for everyone. It really goes back to the players believing,” Mattingly said after their 4-3, 10-innings win over the Yankees.
Miami are to start the playoffs on the road on Wednesday, their first post-season game since winning the 2003 World Series as the Florida Marlins, capped by a Game 6 victory in the Bronx over Jeter and his New York teammates at the previous version of Yankee Stadium.
“We play loose. We got nothing to lose. We’re playing with house money,” said Brandon Kintzler, who got D.J. LeMahieu to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded after Jesus Aguilar hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th. “We are a dangerous team and we really don’t care if anyone says we’re overachievers.”
Miami (30-28), second behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, became the first team to make the playoffs in a year following a 100-loss season.
The Cincinnati Reds also clinched a post-season spot with a 7-2 win over the Twins.
That left two NL playoff slots still open with two days remaining in the regular season.
The St Louis Cardinals (29-27) and the San Francisco Giants (29-29) lead the Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers, who are both (28-30).
The eight-team AL playoff field is set, with the pairings yet to be determined. The eight are: the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Twins, the White Sox, the Indians, the Athletics and the Astros.
Additional reporting by staff writer
In other games on Friday, it was:
‧ Cardinals 0, Brewers 3 (G1)
‧ Cardinals 9, Brewers 1 (G2)
‧ Blue Jays 10, Orioles 5
‧ D’backs 4, Rockies 0 (G1)
‧ D’backs 11, Rockies 5 (G2)
‧ Rays 6, Phillies 4
‧ Padres 4, Giants 5 (G1)
‧ Padres 6, Giants 5 (G2)
‧ Braves 8, Red Sox 7
‧ Royals 3, Tigers 2
‧ White Sox 0, Cubs 10
‧ Athletics 3, Mariners 1
‧ Mets-Nationals, postponed
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