Band Steve Keating
TORONTO, October 3 (Reuters) – The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox had spectacular late-inning wins to end Major League Baseball’s regular season on Sunday, setting up a wildcard showdown between longtime rivals.
The final day of a 162-game six-month marathon began with four teams – the Yankees, Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners – all vying for two American League wildcards and when the dust settled, there were two of the most legendary baseball clubs still standing.
The Yankees left him about as late as they could to clinch their spot as Aaron Judge crushed a single late in the ninth for a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s been a crazy and wild year,” New York manager Aaron Boone said after the Yankees reached the playoffs for the 23rd time in 27 years. “It was only fitting that it boils down to the last day to enter.
“We are ready to shoot.”
It was also a blow in the US capital, where the Red Sox trailed the Washington Nationals 5-1 after five innings and then rallied for six unanswered runs.
Rafael Devers broke a 5-5 tie early in the ninth with his second homer of the day, a one-out shot and two runs at deep center field.
The Red Sox will now host the Yankees in Tuesday’s wildcard game at Fenway Park, with the winner advancing to the divisional series against the AL East champions Rays.
Toronto and Seattle started the day needing a win combined with a loss to New York or Boston to force a tiebreaker and extend their seasons.
The Blue Jays did what they had to do, hammering the Baltimore Orioles 12-4 as the Mariners’ season ended in a disappointing 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
American League MVP honors Angels Shohei Ohtani threw a home run, his 46th of the season, to put the Mariners in a hole they would never get out of.
After slamming five home runs in a 10-1 loss to the Orioles on Saturday, the Blue Jays’ sticks were in full swing again on Sunday hitting four home runs, including a third grand slam from George Springer and a two-point shot from Vladimir Guerrero. Jr. for his 48th of the season.
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, the top two teams in Major League Baseball, started playing with the West Division’s first place finish.
Los Angeles and San Francisco would end the campaign with impressive wins – the Giants beating the San Diego Padres 11-4 while the Dodgers beating Milwaukee 10-3.
But first place in the West goes to the Giants with a 106-55 record while the 105-56 Dodgers were content with a National League wildcard and a Wednesday meeting with the St. Louis Cardinals.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Kim Coghill)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.