TORONTO, Oct 3 (Reuters) – The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox scored dramatic late inning wins to carry the Major League Baseball common season to an enthralling finish on Sunday, establishing a wildcard showdown between the long-time rivals.
The ultimate day of a 162-game, six-month marathon started with 4 groups — the Yankees, Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners — all in competition for 2 American League wildcards and when the mud settled it was two of baseball’s most storied golf equipment nonetheless standing.
The Yankees left it about as late as they presumably may to clinch their place as Aaron Judge swatted a walk-off single within the backside of the ninth for a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s been a crazy, wild year,” mentioned New York supervisor Aaron Boone after the Yankees reached the postseason for the twenty third time in 27 years. “Fitting that it would come down to the last day to get in.
“We’re able to take our shot.”
It was also a nailbiter in the U.S. capitol, where the Red Sox were trailing the Washington Nationals 5-1 after five innings then rallied for six unanswered runs.
Rafael Devers broke open a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth with his second homer of the day, a one-out, two-run shot to deep centre field.
The Red Sox will now host the Yankees in the wildcard game on Tuesday at Fenway Park with the winner moving on to the Divisional Series against the AL East champion Rays.
Toronto and Seattle went into the day needing a win combined with a New York or Boston loss to force a tiebreaker and extend their seasons.
The Blue Jays did what they had to do, hammering the Baltimore Orioles 12-4 while the Mariners season finished with a disappointing 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Angels Shohei Ohtani, the hot favourite for American League most valuable player honours, launched a leadoff homer, his 46th of the season, to put the Mariners in a hole they would never climb out of.
After slamming five home runs in a 10-1 rout of the Orioles on Saturday, the Blue Jays’ bats were booming again on Sunday banging out four homers, including a third inning grand slam from George Springer and a two-run shot from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for his 48th of season.
Over in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball’s two top teams, started play with top spot in the West division up for grabs.
Both Los Angeles and San Francisco would finish the campaign with impressive wins — the Giants beating the San Diego Padres 11-4 while the Dodgers thumped Milwaukee 10-3.
But top spot in the West goes to the Giants with a record of 106-55 while the 105-56 Dodgers settled for an NL wildcard and a Wednesday meeting with the St. Louis Cardinals.