DJ LeMahieu hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the ninth inning off Brad Hand and the visiting New York Yankees outlasted the Cleveland Indians for a wild 10-9 victory Wednesday night to sweep a best-of-three American League wild-card series.
The Yankees advance to the American League Division Series to face the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat New York in eight of 10 regular-season meetings. The series will start Monday in San Diego.
Down 9-8 entering the ninth, New York loaded the bases on a walk and two singles before Hand (0-1) got an out. Hand struck out Brett Gardner but lost the lead when Gary Sanchez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field. LeMahieu fell behind in the count 0-2 on a pair of fastballs before Hand threw the major league batting leader a slider, and the second baseman hit it up the middle just out the reach of second baseman Cesar Hernandez.
The comeback came after Aroldis Chapman (1-0) allowed a bloop single to Hernandez that gave Cleveland a 9-8 lead in the eighth. Chapman recovered from Hernandez’s hit to strike out Jose Ramirez and get Carlos Santana to ground into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the ninth, Chapman struck out pinch hitter Austin Hedges with a runner on first to secure the win.
The Indians walked 12 batters, setting a record for a nine-inning playoff game. The clubs combined for 19 walks, tied for the most by two teams in a nine-inning game (1957 World Series Game 3 between the Milwaukee Braves and the Yankees).
Astros 3, Twins 1
Carlos Correa had two hits, including a homer for the go-ahead run, as Houston completed a two-game sweep of host Minnesota in their AL wild-card series. Kyle Tucker went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Cristian Javier pitched three no-hit innings of relief to pick up the win.
Sixth-seeded Houston, which went just 29-31 in the regular-season, advanced to the AL Division Series to play the winner of the wild-card series pitting the Oakland Athletics against the Chicago White Sox series. That series starts on Monday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The loss extended Minnesota’s record for consecutive postseason losses to 18, the longest for the four major sports in North American history. The last postseason victory for the third-seeded and AL Central Division champion Twins came on Oct. 5, 2004.
Rays 8, Blue Jays 2
Hunter Renfroe hit the first postseason grand slam in club history to lift Tampa Bay over Toronto to complete a sweep of their AL wild-card series in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Mike Zunino started the second-inning scoring with a two-run homer for the top-seeded Rays, who will face the winner of the wild-card series pitting the New York Yankees against the Cleveland Indians.
Toronto starter Hyun Jin Ryu (0-1) allowed seven runs (three earned), eight hits and one walk in 1 2/3 innings. Shortstop Bo Bichette made two errors behind him.
A’s 5, White Sox 3
Oakland turned the tables on visiting Chicago with strong pitching and powerful hitting, evening the teams’ AL wild-card series and forcing a decisive Game 3.
A’s right-hander Chris Bassitt took a shutout into the eighth inning and Marcus Semien and Khris Davis each smacked early home runs off White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
The winner of Thursday’s series finale will advance to face the Astros in the AL Division Series that is scheduled to begin Monday.
Braves 1, Reds 0 (13 innings)
Freddie Freeman drove a run-scoring single into center field to give host Atlanta a walkoff victory over Cincinnati in a marathon National League wild-card series opener.
Freeman lined a slider off left-handed reliever Amir Garrett for the one-out hit that scored pinch-runner Cristian Pache and enabled Atlanta to end a nine-game losing streak in series openers.
Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer set a franchise postseason record with 12 strikeouts. Atlanta’s Max Fried pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed six hits and struck out five in his first postseason start.
Marlins 5, Cubs 1
Corey Dickerson slugged a three-run, go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, leading Miami over host Chicago in their NL wild-card series opener.
Jesus Aguilar added a two-run homer as part of a five-spot Miami put on the Cubs in the seventh. Sandy Alcantara, in his postseason debut, allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks, who was two outs away from seven scoreless innings when he allowed the opposite-field homer to Dickerson, took the loss. Hendricks wasn’t as sharp as usual, allowing a season-high three walks. He also hit a batter for just the second time this season. In all, he allowed five hits and three runs.
Dodgers 4, Brewers 2
A pair of bases-loaded walks in the first inning got the offense started and Corey Seager hit a home run late as host Los Angeles earned a victory over Milwaukee in Game 1 of their National League wild-card series.
The Dodgers drew four walks in the opening inning against Brent Suter, with Will Smith and AJ Pollock each receiving free passes with the bases jammed.
Dodgers starter Walker Buehler went four innings and struck out eight in just his second outing since spending two separate stints on the injured list in September with a blister on his right index finger. Julio Urias (1-0) threw three shutout innings for the win, and Kenley Jansen tossed a scoreless ninth for the save.
Cardinals 7, Padres 4
Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer to trigger a four-run first inning to lift visiting St. Louis to a victory over San Diego in the opener of the NL wild-card series.
The Cardinals took control by scoring six runs in 2 1/3 innings against emergency San Diego starter Chris Paddack.
The Padres opened the playoffs without their top two starting pitchers — Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger — on the 28-man roster due to injuries.
–Field Level Media
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