New York Yankees get wild-card home field despite loss

By Jeff Seidel, The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 5, 2015 at 1:05 AM
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BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis may have played his last game with the Baltimore Orioles Sunday. If so, he certainly left with a bang.

Davis hit a pair of two-run homers, and the Baltimore Orioles completed a sweep of their season-ending series with New York with a 9-4 victory over the Yankees Sunday afternoon.

But despite losing all three games of this weekend series, the Yankees still backed into hosting the American League wild-card playoff game on Tuesday. New York held a one-game lead over the Astros heading into the final game, and Arizona handed Houston a 5-3 loss, which gave the Yankees the wild-card game at home.

"It all starts over (now)," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It does. Regular season doesn't matter now. It comes down to Tuesday."

Texas eliminated the Angels from wild-card contention with a 9-2 victory, and the Rangers also clinched the American League West title with that win.

The Yankees and Astros met seven times this season, with Houston winning four of those games.

New York (87-75) stumbled to the finish line. In addition to losing all three in Baltimore, the Yankees dropped six of their last seven games, so they are not heading into postseason play with a head of steam.

"There's nothing like playing at home," said Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran, who went 3-for-3 in the loss. "It's going to be fun, no doubt about that. This is not the first time we went through a bad stretch as a team. Unfortunately, it happened to us at the end."

Baltimore won its final five games to end up with an 81-81 record. This late run ensured the Orioles would not have a losing record for the first time since 2011.

Davis, a pending free agent, hit two-run homers in the fifth and eighth innings. He went 3-for-4 with those four RBIs and ended the season with a .262 average plus 47 homers and 117 RBIs. His home run total was tops in the majors.

The first baseman clearly was touched by the fans' emotional reactions to him during the game, getting an ovation before he came to bat in the eighth -- and then he hit his second homer moments later -- and cheering Davis just as loudly after the game.

"It was a pretty special day," Davis said. "I understand that the season's over and that things are going to change -- some things are going to change. But at the same time, I don't to want to turn the page just yet. I'm hopeful that I'll know something pretty soon."

The Orioles took advantage of three early two-run hits to grab a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning. Catcher Matt Wieters (two-run double, first inning), right fielder Gerardo Parra (two-run single, fourth inning) and Davis (two-run homer, fifth) gave the Orioles plenty of punch early.

Starter Chris Tillman (11-11) got the win but struggled throughout his 5 1/3-inning stint. He gave up two runs on seven hits. The right-hander struck out five and walked four but was able to avoid giving up the big hit as the Yankees stranded eight in the first five innings -- scoring just once.

New York starter Michael Pineda (12-10) lasted only 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits.

The Orioles once again took a quick lead, going up 2-0 in the first on Wieters' two-run single off Pineda with two outs.

Second baseman Dustin Ackley cut the lead in half with his RBI groundout in the second. The Orioles then stretched the margin to three in the bottom of the fourth, knocking out Pineda in the process.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy's RBI single brought in Wieters, who started the inning with a double, and ended Pineda's day. Left-hander Chris Capuano came on and later allowed a two-run single to Parra that gave Baltimore a 5-1 lead.

The Davis homer made it 7-1 in the fifth before New York rallied a little later. Shortstop Didi Gregorius lined an RBI triple in the sixth, and first baseman Doug Bird (RBI single) and Ackley (RBI force out) tacked on runs in the seventh.

Davis then lined a two-run homer just over the scoreboard in right in the eighth inning for the game's final two runs.

So while the Yankees move on to the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Orioles will need to go home. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter was proud of the way his team finished after a bad stretch earlier in September but said this team wants more.

"It's not good enough; 81-81 isn't good enough," he said. "We're trying to win. We want to be the last team standing, the last city standing, and our city deserves that."

NOTES: 3B Manny Machado achieved his goal of playing in all 162 games, the only major leaguer to do so. He batted third on Sunday and said before the game that he would think about a contract extension and, like CF Adam Jones, would like to see the Orioles re-sign 1B Chris Davis. ... 2B Jonathan Schoop had X-rays done on his injured right hand, and they came back fine, but the Oriole was not in the starting lineup. ... RHP Masahiro Tanaka will be the Yankees' starter for the wild-card playoff game this week, New York manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. Tanaka has been dealing with some hamstring issues lately but is ready to go for this one. ... Yankees RHP Dellin Betances gave up the winning run in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, ending a streak of 38 road games without allowing one.

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