The Yankees have been officially eliminated, but since we’re all fans of baseball as a whole anyway, Pinstripe Alley is going to see this series through to the end of the regular season. We’ll keep you posted on the end of the American League playoff race as the final spots are determined. Stay tuned for more postseason coverage as well.
Here’s what went on yesterday, September 28th.
Baltimore Orioles (100-59) 2, Boston Red Sox (76-83) 0
The Orioles have been one of the best stories in the league this year as they’ve fully ascended to contender status, and last night they rid the demons of their recent 100-loss years with their 100th win of the year. Aptly timed, it also delivered them the AL East title for the first time since 2014.
They got on the board right away in the first inning thanks to an Anthony Santander bomb, and from there they had to rely on the arm of Dean Kremer and their bullpen to keep the thin lead intact. Kremer, the prospect that they acquired when they decided to sell on their last core and traded away Manny Machado, went 5.1 innings and allowed just two hits while striking out eight, earning his 13th win of the year. The O’s staff may lack a true ace, but they’ve got guys like Kremer willing to grind out a solid start for them before handing it off to the ‘pen.
Chris Sale buckled down after that early bomb, and the Sox cruised until the eighth inning when Zack Kelly allowed a leadoff walk that moved into scoring position on a grounder. The rookie Heston Kjerstad got the insurance run in with a bloop double that got bobbled around by the outfielders, and then it was onto the ninth to close out the division race. Tyler Wells got the call, and sat Boston down in order to claim the crown.
Oakland Athletics (49-110) 2, Minnesota Twins (85-74) 1
The Twins have been in coast mode with the AL Central wrapped up, so it’s hard to criticize them too much for dropping a game to a 110-loss club. The A’s struck first with a Nick Allen single in the second that scored a runner from second, and they retook the lead in the eighth on a Ryan Noda homer. Sonny Gray was in for just some light work across four innings, as his next start will be in the Wild Card Series.
Seattle Mariners (86-73) 3, Texas Rangers (89-70) 2
The AL West refuses to be closed out, and the Rangers are the latest team to slip up here. They got out to a 2-0 lead after Leody Taveras and Adolis Garcia hit solo shots in the third and fourth innings respectively, but Julio Rodriguez got one back in the bottom of the fourth with a blast of his own. That was all of the damage done against the starters Jordan Montgomery and Logan Gilbert, and the bullpens came in to pitch two clean innings each.
That brought us to the ninth inning, and the Rangers opted to go to Aroldis Chapman despite his steadily rising ERA and the inconsistent save opportunities that they’ve given him. Unfortunately the bad outings get remembered more than the others, and Chapman had a classically bad one — Cal Raleigh and Dylan Moore both singled to put the winning run on base, and then Chapman moved them both over on a wild pitch. After Ty France walked to load the bases, Bruce Bochy yanked Chapman for Jonathan Hernandez, who got two inoffensive outs that nearly escaped the jam before J.P. Crawford slapped the game-winning double to left that stole the win for Seattle.