Last night, with a chance to clinch a winning record for the 10th consecutive season, the Phillies went into D.C. and came up flat. B.J. Rosenberg made his first Major League start for the Phillies and pitched well. He went four innings allowing just one run on three hits while striking out three. The Phillies got on the board first on Darin Ruf’s second career homerun in which he golfed the pitch out. The Nationals responded in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own. In the sixth, Adam LaRoche hit his career best 33rd homerun and drove in his 100 RBI of the season. The Nationals would tack on another run in the sixth to take a 3-1 lead. Darin Ruf would cut into the Nationals lead again with his second homerun of the night off of a two strike pitch from Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning that look like it handcuffed him. The Nationals would respond in the bottom half with another run to give them a 4-2 lead and Drew Storen came in and closed the door. The loss drops the Phillies to 81-80 on the year. More here.
The Rangers and A’s faceoff today in a winner take all battle for the AL West title at 3:35 pm. Last night, needing a win to stay alive in the hunt for the AL West, the A’s took down Matt Harrison and the Rangers 3-1 to tie the Rangers for first place in the AL West. The A’s fell behind 1-0 but took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a Derek Norris single that plated one then former Phillies farmhand Brandon Moss scored of Nelson Cruz’s throwing error. Jonny Gomes added a solo homerun in the sixth. A’s send rookie pitcher A.J. Griffin to the mound which marks the first time since 1969 that a team has a rookie pitcher on the mound for a winner-take-all game. More here.
The Baltimore Orioles needed a win to stay alive for the AL East title. The Rays wanted to play spoiler and they did a very good job of it. Rays starter James Shields pitched nine innings allowing just one run on two hits and striking out 15 Orioles. One of the two hits allowed by Shields came in the fourth inning when Chris Davis hit a 445 foot massive homerun to centerfield to give the Orioles a 1-0. That is all they would need as they got superb pitching. The win guaranteed they would be alive for today’s regular season finale with a chance to win the East. More here.
The Yankees entered last night with a one game lead over the Orioles and entered the ninth inning last night trailing 3-1 to their archrival Red Sox. By the time that Raul Ibanez stepped up with a runner on and no outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees knew the Orioles had won and they needed to win to control their own destiny. Ibanez belted an Andrew Bailey pitch into the right field seats to tie the game at 3. In the 12th, Ibanez came up again and softly singled through the hole between shortstop and third base to score Francisco Cervelli and give the Yankees the win. The Yankees can clinch the division tonight with a win over the Red Sox or an Orioles loss. If the Yankees lose and the Orioles win, there will be a one game playoff in Baltimore because the Orioles hold the tie breaker. More here.