The Boston Red Sox clinched the American League wild-card spot despite suffering an 8-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. The Red Sox needed a win or a Texas loss to take the play-off berth and when the Rangers were beaten 5-2 by the Los Angeles Angels, Boston sealed a sixth post-seasons appearance in seven years.
"Even not winning this game tonight, you still move into the play-offs, so it's a celebration," said David Ortiz, the Red Sox designated-hitter, "We're in this situation because we've done better in the regular season and we've worked our way to get here." Boston will meet the Angels in the American League Divisional Series for the third straight year, having eliminated them from the play-offs in two straight seasons.
The Red Sox fell in the AL Championship Series to the Tampa Bay Rays a year ago after capturing the World Series in 2007. Despite qualifying for the playoffs, Boston are suffering a poor run of form with seven defeats - five of them in succession - in the past nine games. The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins had to share the spoils in their fight for the American League Central title as they won one apiece in their double- header.
The Twins won the first game 3-2 to move within one game of the Tigers. Brandon Lyon threw two wild pitches in a row after Denard Span's single, allowing Span to score on Orlando Cabrera's single in a two-run 10th. But Detroit hit back to reclaim their two-game cushion with a 6-5 win in the second game as Miguel Cabrera and Curtis Granderson hit their 33rd and 30th homers respectively. "This is play-off baseball - we just got started a little early this year," said the Minnesota manager, Ron Gardenhire.
Ken Griffey Jr scored a homer as the Seattle Mariners won 6-4 at home to the Oakland Athletics. The AL East winners, the New York Yankees, had a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals, while pitcher Wade Davis conceded one run in seven innings as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1. In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers kept their celebrations on hold after a 3-1 defeat by the San Diego Padres stopped them from clinching the West Division title.
Second-placed Colorado Rockies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 in 11 innings to ensure the Dodgers' wait continues. The Philadelphia Phillies produced a 7-4 win over the Houston Astros as they chase a third successive NL East title. The Washington Nationals won 4-3 against the visiting New York Mets, while Jay Bruce smashed two homers and drove in five in a 7-2 win for the Cincinnati Reds over the St Louis Cardinals.
The Chicago Cubs were 6-0 winners over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chris Coghlan was the Florida Marlins' hero as he doubled and produced the winning run in the seventh in a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves. The San Francisco Giants were 8-4 winners at home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. * With agencies