MAJOR LEAGUE ROUNDUP: Indians win 10th straight to clinch wild card spot
The surging Cleveland Indians earned their first postseason berth since 2007, beating the Minnesota Twins 5-1 to clinch an AL wild card as Ubaldo Jimenez tied a career high with 13 strikeouts.
Nick Swisher homered in the first inning for the Indians, who became the first major league team to win its final 10 regular-season games since the 1971 Baltimore Orioles finished with 11 straight victories, according to STATS.
Cleveland will host Tampa Bay or Texas in the one-game AL wild-card playoff on Wednesday night. The Rays and Rangers are playing a tiebreaker today.
RANGERS 6, ANGELS 2: Texas forced a one-game tiebreaker for the second AL wild-card spot, winning its seventh straight when Geovany Soto hit a tiebreaking RBI double and later homered to beat Los Angeles.
The Rangers (91-71) added game No. 163 to the regular season. The winner plays two days later at wild-card leader Cleveland in another win-or-be-done matchup.
About the same time Tampa Bay wrapped up its 7-6 win at Toronto to necessitate a victory by the Rangers to keep playing, Craig Gentry hit a two-run single in the fifth for a 2-1 lead.
RAYS 7, BLUE JAYS 6: Evan Longoria and Tampa Bay assured the Rays would tie for an AL wild-card berth, scoring six runs in the first inning and then holding off Toronto.
Tampa Bay and the Rangers, who beat the Angels, tied for the second wild-card spot.
Longoria hit an RBI double as the Rays used their highest-scoring first inning since 2010 to go ahead early. Tampa Bay took a 7-0 lead into the sixth before Toronto rallied.
ORIOLES 7, RED SOX 6: Ryan Flaherty had two hits subbing for Chris Davis after baseball’s home run champ left with a sprained wrist, and Baltimore wrapped up its season with a victory over playoff-bound Boston.
Flaherty hit an RBI single in a five-run fifth and a run-scoring double when the Orioles took the lead for good in the sixth.
The Orioles finished 85-77, giving them back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1996-97.
The Red Sox finished up 97-65, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in baseball.
YANKEES 5, ASTROS 1: Mark Reynolds hit a tiebreaking homer in a four-run 14th inning, and New York went into an offseason of uncertainty with a victory over Houston, whose 15-game losing streak was the longest at the end of the season in more than a century.
Mariano Rivera didn’t pitch in the final game of a successful career that started in 1995, and Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were among the players unsure whether they had played their final games for the Yankees (85-77).
ROYALS 4, WHITE SOX 1: Bruce Chen pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning and Kansas City beat Chicago to finish off its best season in 24 years.
Kansas City won three of four in Chicago and went 17-10 in September for its most successful month of the season.
The Royals’ 86-76 record was their best mark since they went 92-70 in 1989.
ATHLETICS 9, MARINERS 0: Sonny Gray threw five shutout innings and Oakland had a pair of four-run innings to close out the regular season with a win over Seattle in Eric Wedge’s final game as Mariners manager.
The A’s now turn their attention to the AL Division Series against Detroit that will begin Friday in Oakland, while Seattle (71-91) enters the offseason with another managerial search on the docket after a 12th straight season without the making the playoffs.
MARLINS 1, TIGERS 0: Henderson Alvarez pitched a no-hitter with a most bizarre ending, celebrating in the on-deck circle when the Miami Marlins scored on a two-out wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers 1-0 Sunday.
After Alvarez finished off the ninth with the game scoreless, he had to wait to see if it would become an official no-hitter. A Major League Baseball ruling in 1991 said only complete games of nine or more innings with no hits would count.
The Marlins loaded the bases and with pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs at bat, Luke Putkonen (1-3) threw a wild pitch that let Giancarlo Stanton score.
Alvarez was on deck, bat in hand. He took off his helmet and started to celebrate with teammates while still wearing his batting gloves.
CARDINALS 4, CUBS 0: St. Louis clinched home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs when they beat Chicago for its sixth straight win.
With the top seed, the Cardinals will host the wild-card winner in the division series on Thursday.
The Cubs finished last in the Central at 66-96. Jeff Samardzija (8-13) got the loss.
ROCKIES 2, DODGERS 1: Michael Cuddyer won his first batting title and Todd Helton singled in the final game of his career to help Colorado beat Los Angeles.
The NL West champion Dodgers, who lost four of their last five games to finish 92-70, will open the NL division series at Atlanta on Thursday.
Cuddyer went 1-for-5 and finished at .331 to win the title by 10 points over Atlanta’s Chris Johnson.
BRAVES 12, PHILLIES 5: Evan Gattis had a two-run homer among his three hits, Elliot Johnson drove in five runs and the NL East champion Atlanta Braves beat Philadelphia.
The Braves won their first division title since 2005. They will have home-field advantage against the Dodgers in the NL division series, which begins Thursday at Turner Field.
GIANTS 7, PADRES 6: Hunter Pence singled home the winning run with no outs in the ninth inning to lift the San Francisco Giants over San Diego.
The Giants, who last season won their second World Series title in three years, finished 76-86 and tied for third with the Padres, 16 games behind the NL West champion Dodgers.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, NATIONALS 2: A.J. Pollock beat out a run-scoring infield single in the eighth inning and Arizona sent Washington manager Davey Johnson into retirement with a loss.
The Diamondbacks scratched out a pair of runs off Ryan Mattheus (0-2) in the eighth to finish the season at 81-81.
METS 3, BREWERS 2: Eric Young Jr. won the NL stolen base crown and helped New York rally when Milwaukee botched two bunts in the eighth inning.
Young swiped two bases in the first, scored on a shallow sacrifice fly and later threw out a runner at the plate from left field.