Rays Fall to Jays; Indians Take Control
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.
Cleveland (91-70) opened a one-game lead over the Rays and Rangers (both 90-71) for the wild card by stretching its winning streak to nine with a victory at Minnesota.
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 today’s series finale against Blue Jays rookie right-hander Todd Redmond (4-2).
Indians 5, Twins 1
Minneapolis — Cleveland moved into sole possession of the AL wild-card lead on the next-to-last scheduled day of the regular season, beating Minnesota behind Scott Kazmir’s strong start to extend its 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).
Cleveland is assured of at least a tie for the AL wild card. With three teams seeking the two wild cards, today’s results could decide the matter or lead to one or two tiebreaker games at the start of next week.
If the three teams are tied after today, Cleveland would host Tampa Bay on Monday, with the winner advancing to the postseason. The loser would play at Texas on Tuesday for the second wild card.
Yankees 2, Astros 1
Houston — Andy Pettitte completed his career in fitting fashion.
The 41-year-old left-hander pitched a five-hitter for his first complete game in seven years to lead New York over his hometown Astros. Two days after Mariano Rivera made his finale in front of an emotional crowd at Yankee Stadium, Pettitte followed his teammate into retirement and left only Derek Jeter left from the Core Four who earned five World Series rings with the Yankees since 1996.
With the crowd on its feet and cameras flashing, J.D. Martinez hit a game-ending groundout to third baseman Eduardo Nunez. Pettitte, who lives in suburban Deer Park, lingered on the field as teammates hugged him and the Astros stood in front of their dugout, applauding.
The oldest starting pitcher in the major leagues, Pettitte finished this season 11-11 and never had a losing record in 18 major league seasons.
Rangers 7, Angels 4
Arlington, Texas — Craig Gentry doubled, scored and bunted in a run, helping Texas beat Los Angeles and reach the final day of the regular season with a chance to make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
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.
Mariners 7, Athletics 5
Seattle — Brad Miller hit a pair of home runs, including his first grand slam, and the Mariners beat Oakland 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 Cincinnati.
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.
■ Hunter Pence and the San Francisco Giants reached a tentative agreement on a $90 million, five-year contract, pending a physical.
Pence is batting .282 with a career-high 26 home runs and 94 RBIs. He received the Willie Mac Award on Friday night, given to the most inspirational member of the Giants.
■ Terry Collins is close to an agreement to remain manager of the New York Mets, people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
Collins’ current contract expires after this season, his third in charge of the Mets.
The team is expected to announce an extension for Collins at a news conference Monday, the day after the season ends. He is nearing a two-year contract, one of the people said, perhaps with a team option for 2016.
The 64-year-old Collins is 224-260 as manager of the Mets