SEATTLE — Brad Miller hit a pair of home runs, including his first grand slam, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 7-5 Saturday in a game that decided division-series matchups in the American League.
Boston clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason with Oakland’s loss. The AL West champion A’s will play their playoff opener at home next Friday against AL Central champion Detroit, and AL East winner Boston will start at Fenway Park against the team emerging from the wild-card playoff: Cleveland Tampa Bay or Texas.
Pirates 8, Reds 3
CINCINNATI — Neil Walker hit two of Pittsburgh’s six homers — its biggest power surge in six years and the Pirates clinched home-field advantage for the NL’s wild card playoff game by beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-3 Saturday.
Pittsburgh will host the Reds on Tuesday night in the Pirates’ first playoff appearance in 21 years. They went 50-31 at PNC Park, the third-best home record in the NL.
Pittsburgh hit five homers off Bronson Arroyo (14-12), who had never given up that many in a game in his big league career. Walker homered twice off the right-hander, and Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Marlon Byrd also connected.
Prospect Andrew Lambo hit his first homer off Logan Ondrusek, the first time the Pirates had six since Aug. 22, 2007 at Colorado.
Indians 5, Twins 1
MINNEAPOLIS — The Cleveland Indians moved into the AL wild-card lead on the next-to-last scheduled day of the regular season, beating the Minnesota Twins 5-1 Saturday behind Scott Kazmir’s strong start to extend their winning streak to nine.
Seeking their first postseason appearance since 2007, the Indians (91-70) took a one-game lead over Tampa Bay and Texas (both 90-71), who both lost Saturday.
Cleveland is assured of at least a tie for the AL wild card. With three teams seeking the two wild cards, Sunday’s results could decide the matter or lead to one or two tiebreaker games at the start of next week.
Texas 7, Angels 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Craig Gentry doubled, scored and bunted in a run, helping the Texas Rangers beat the sloppy Los Angeles Angels 7-4 Saturday and reach the final day of the regular season with a chance to make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
Texas (90-71) won its sixth straight — and second in less than 24 hours. Cleveland and Tampa Bay started the day tied for the two AL wild-card spots at 90-70, a game ahead of the Rangers.
The Rangers were down three batters in, but the Angels made five errors for a game for the first time since Sept. 16, 2006, also at Texas. Shortstop Erick Aybar, right fielder Kole Calhoun, left fielder Collin Cowgill, pitcher Garrett. Richards and third baseman Andrew Romine has the miscues.
Texas got even with a gift run in the bottom of the first on a grounder through the legs of third baseman Andrew Romine. The Angels then made two more errors, and Richards (7-8) threw a wild pitch in the second when the Rangers went ahead for good with four runs — three of them unearned.
The 11:07 a.m. start was the earliest home game in the 42 seasons the Rangers have played in Texas — the game was moved up eight hours because of the threat of bad weather.
The game was played mostly under overcast skies, and there were quick showers while the Rangers batted in the first and fifth innings without any delays. A heavy rain was falling while Joe Nathan closed out the game, not long after an announcement was made to the crowd warning of the potential of storms moving into the area.
Joakim Soria (1-0) got his first major league victory since July 23, 2011, striking out two in 1 1-3 scoreless innings in relief of Derek Holland. Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers each worked a scoreless inning before Nathan’s 43rd save in 46 chances.
Jays 7, Rays 2
TORONTO — The Tampa Bay Rays dropped into a tie with Texas for the second AL wild-card berth, losing to Toronto 7-2 Saturday as Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar hit two-run home runs for the Blue Jays and J.A. Happ won for the first time in four starts.
The Rays (90-71) lost their second straight following a seven-game winning streak and dropped a half-game behind Cleveland (90-70), which was playing at Minnesota. The regular season is slated to end Sunday.
Adam Lind had two hits and three RBIs and Brett Lawrie reached base four times as the Blue Jays continued to make life tough for the Rays, who start left-hander Matt Moore (16-4) in Sunday’s series finale against Blue Jays rookie right-hander Todd Redmond (4-2).MORE IN Sports WireThe New Orleans Saints likely are headed to the playoffs, and they want as many games as possible... Full Story
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