The Texas Rangers clinched the AL West title yesterday and their first playoff berth in 11 years, beating the host Oakland Athletics, 4-3, on Jorge Cantu’s tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning.
Players streamed from the Texas dugout after closer Neftali Feliz retired Cliff Pennington on a fly ball to left field for the final out with the potential tying run on second base.
Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who has been sidelined with broken ribs for three weeks, hugged teammates and jumped up and down near third base as a mob of players celebrated.
The Rangers became the second major league team to lock up a postseason spot this season, joining the AL Central champion Twins.
Padres 4, Reds 3 — Chris Denorfia doubled in the winning run off hard-throwing rookie Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning, giving host San Diego the victory over Cincinnati and a half-game lead in the NL West over San Francisco.
The Reds’ magic number for clinching the NL Central was trimmed to two before the first pitch when the Cardinals lost to the Cubs.
Rockies 10, Giants 9 — Troy Tulowitzki capped a four-hit night with an RBI double in the 10th inning and host Colorado gave its faint playoff hopes a boost, pulling within four games of first place in the NL West with a victory over San Francisco.
Rays 9, Mariners 1 — Matt Garza allowed one run over seven innings and AL East-leading Tampa Bay beat visiting Seattle.
Matt Joyce and B.J. Upton homered for the Rays, who moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees. Tampa Bay has a magic number of two (any combination of Rays wins or Red Sox losses) to clinch a playoff berth.
Mets 5, Phillies 2 — Lucas Duda hit a three-run double in the Mets’ five-run seventh inning, and visiting New York snapped Philadelphia’s 11-game winning streak.
The NL East-leading Phillies missed out on a chance to clinch a fourth straight playoff berth — all they need is one win or an Atlanta loss and they’re in — with their first defeat since Sept. 11 in New York.
Braves 5, Nationals 0 — Atlanta manager Bobby Cox earned his 2,500th win, getting five effective innings from Derek Lowe and a three-run homer from Alex Gonzalez at Washington.
The 69-year-old Cox, set to retire at the end of the season, became the fourth major league manager to reach the milestone. He is seeking his 16th postseason appearance.
Cubs 7, Cardinals 3 — Sam Fuld hit a go-ahead two-run single off Chris Carpenter and Casey Coleman pitched seven effective innings as Chicago prevailed at Wrigley Field.
Blake DeWitt and Aramis Ramirez had two hits and two RBIs apiece for Chicago, which trailed, 3-0, in the third.
Tigers 11, Twins 10 — Brandon Inge singled home the winning run in the 13th inning and host Detroit beat Minnesota, damaging the Twins’ chances of earning home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
In other games: Lyle Overbay hit a game-ending homer in the 11th inning to lift host Toronto, 5-4, over Baltimore; John Danks pitched eight impressive innings, and the visiting White Sox dropped the Angels, 6-2; Chris Volstad pitched into the seventh inning in another scoreless outing, leading the Marlins over the host Brewers, 4-0; Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run homer, leading host Pittsburgh over Houston, 6-4; Shin-Soo Choo had four hits and host Cleveland moved out of last in the AL Central with a 7-1 victory over Kansas City; Cole Gillespie hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the sixth inning as the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers in Phoenix, 5-2.