Finally, the Texas Rangers can call themselves the champions of the American League West. And their in-state neighbors, the Houston Astros, they’ve stamped their postseason ticket too.
On Sunday’s final day of the MLB regular season, where every game started at the same time and chaos looked possible, the result was what seemed most likely the past few weeks: The Rangers are going to the ALDS and the Astros are playing in the wild-card game.
a stunning ninth-inning collapse on Saturday, the Texas Rangers would have far less drama on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, who themselves were trying to keep their postseason hopes alive with a win. But the Rangers trounced them 9-2, clinching the division, giving the Astros the wild card and eliminating the Halos.After
The Rangers got a strong outing from starter Cole Hamels, a two-run homer from Adrian Beltre that gave them a lead in the fifth inning and then a six-run seventh inning that sealed the Angels’ fate. The depleted Rangers bullpen didn’t figure into this one, as Hamels threw a complete game three-hitter with eight strikeouts. Next, the Rangers head to the Rogers Centre to play the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALDS beginning Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Astros won the second AL wild card by virtue of the Rangers’ win, but they were still playing for home-field advantage over in Phoenix. If they beat the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles, that would happen. But the Astros couldn’t pull off the win and now they’re headed to the Bronx to play the Yanks on Tuesday.
The Yankees owe a thank-you card to Paul Goldschmidt, whose seventh-inning, two-run homer broke a 3-3 tie and gave the D-backs a 5-3 win. The Astros had come from behind three times in the game already, but didn’t have another comeback in them after Goldschmidt’s blast. Still, they’ll send out their ace Dallas Keuchel to face a Yankees team that’s struggled the final week of the season. Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to start for the Yanks.
A few other MLB postseason tidbits were figured out Sunday as well:
• The Kansas City Royals (95-67) clinched the best record in the AL with their win over the Minnesota Twins. The Toronto Blue Jays could have claimed the No. 1 overall spot with a win and a Royals loss, but the Jays were crushed by the Tampa Bay Rays.
• The Pittsburgh Pirates secured home-field advantage in the Tuesday’s NL wild-card game by beating the Cincinnati Reds. The Chicago Cubs, who were hoping for a win and a Pirates loss to shift that game to Wrigley, won their game too, to finish the season at 97-65, the third best record in baseball. And in the NL Central. The Pirates and Cubs will meet Tuesday at PNC Park, with Jake Arrieta facing Gerrit Cole.
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