OAKLAND, California (AP) ― Same chaotic, champagne dance-party scene in the clubhouse just two days later. New T-shirt: AL West champions.
The Oakland Athletics won the division title with another improbable rally in a season full of them, coming back from four runs down and a 13-game division deficit to stun the two-time defending league champion Texas Rangers 12-5 on Wednesday.
“We knew this is a beast of a team we would have to beat, and to be able to beat them three games in a row and win the division on top of it, really it’s a magical-type thing,” manager Bob Melvin said.
The Oakland Athletics celebrate their AL West title on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)
Josh Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that put the A’s (94-68) ahead 7-5 in a six-run fourth inning. The A’s only added to Texas’ troubles the rest of the way.
While Hamilton’s Rangers (93-69) are headed to the new one-game, wild-card playoff, the A’s get some time off before opening the division series in their first postseason appearance since 2006.
Both teams had to wait to learn their opponents from a pair of night games: Boston at New York, and Baltimore at Tampa Bay.
“You can have all the experience as you want but when you run into a team that’s hot, experience has nothing to do with it,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.
New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki celebrates the team’s AL East title on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)
Yanks clinch AL East
NEW YORK (AP) ― Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson each hit a pair of homers, powering the New York Yankees past the Boston Red Sox 14-2 on a raucous Wednesday night in the Bronx for their 13th AL East title in 17 years.
In front of fans poised to party from the first pitch on the final night of the regular season, the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the last-place Red Sox to win their second consecutive division crown. The championship was locked up by the seventh inning, when Baltimore’s 4-1 loss at Tampa Bay went final and prompted a huge ovation from the 47,393 in attendance.
Alex Rodriguez stepped out of the batter’s box, and several players high-fived and hugged in the dugout while coaches shook hands.
But the subdued celebration didn’t really start until Freddy Garcia struck Ivan De Jesus looking to end it. Players hugged and slapped fives on the field and put on their AL East champion shirts and hats as fans feted them with a standing ovation with “New York, New York,” blaring over the loudspeakers. The team walked off the field to chants of “Let’s go Yankees!”
“Now the real season starts,” Derek Jeter said.
Cano tied a career high with six RBIs as New York (95-67) finished two games ahead of Baltimore and secured home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. The Yankees will open on the road Sunday against the winner of Friday’s wild-card game between Baltimore and Texas.
Cabrera bags Triple Crown
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) ― Miguel Cabrera became the 10th player to win baseball’s Triple Crown on Wednesday night, the reluctant superstar thrust into the spotlight by joining an elite list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
The Detroit Tigers’ slugger topped the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in the major leagues since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “I can’t describe the feeling right now.”
Cabrera’s achievement wasn’t assured until the Yankees pinch hit for Curtis Granderson in their 14-2 rout of the Boston Red Sox. Granderson had homered twice to reach 43 for the year, tied with the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton and one shy of Cabrera.
Atlanta 4, Pittsburgh 0
Washington 5, Philadelphia 1
Chicago Cubs 5, Houston 4
NY Mets 4, Miami 2
Seattle 12, LA Angels 0
Tampa Bay 4, Baltimore 1
Chicago 9, Cleveland 0
Toronto 2, Minnesota 1
Colorado 2, Arizona 1
LA Dodgers 5, San Francisco 1
San Diego 7, Milwaukee 6
St. Louis 1, Cincinnati 0