American League wild-card race update: Sept. 18

BY foxsports • September 18, 2013

Want drama? The American League wild card chase is heating up. Here's the latest look at how teams in the race stack up.





Tampa Bay Rays 4, Texas Rangers 3 (12 innings)
Buzz: When
it mattered, Desmond Jennings was huge. Jennings hit a liner to right
field off reliever Joe Ortiz, scoring Sam Fuld from second base for the
clinching run. Earlier, in the second inning, Jennings misplayed a fly
ball to deep center field from Leonys Martin that allowed Mitch Moreland
and Jurickson Profar to score. In the 11th, David DeJesus broke through
for an RBI single off closer Joe Nathan to tie the score at 3. An
impressive victory.

New York Yankees 4, Toronto Blue Jays 3

Buzz:
Some save, New York. Just when you thought the Yankees were about to lose their fifth consecutive game, they punched through for four runs in the eighth inning to erase a three-run deficit. Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells (two) each had RBI to lift New York from its funk. Toronto's starter, left-hander J.A. Happ, was charged with one run and four hits in seven innings. But relievers Aaron Loup (one) and Steve Delabar (two) gave up the decisive runs to boost the Yankees' playoff hopes.

Kansas City Royals 7, Cleveland Indians 2

Buzz:
KC's quick start was enough. The Royals scored three runs in the first inning off right-hander Danny Salazar, thanks to a double from Salvador Perez and Perez scoring on Salazar's wild pitch. The Indians closed the deficit to one after a two-run third inning, but Alcides Escobar stole home in the fifth to give Kansas City some insurance. Then the Royals poured on three more runs in the eighth. Kansas City's bullpen only allowed one hit after left-hander Bruce Chen gave up two runs and four hits in five innings.

Baltimore Orioles 5, Boston Red Sox 3 (12 innings)

Buzz: Chris Davis was clutch for the Orioles, hitting a single to center field that scored J.J. Hardy and Brian Roberts for the decisive runs. The victory sealed a third consecutive victory for Baltimore and its second straight over the Red Sox. Jim Johnson closed the door in the bottom half of the inning for another key road win.

   W  L  Pct.  WCGB  Streak
 Tampa Bay Rays
 83  68  .550  +1  Won 1
 Texas Rangers
 82  69  .543  --  Lost 1
 Cleveland Indians
 82  70  .539  0.5  Lost 1
 Baltimore Orioles
 81  70  .536  1.0  Won 3
 New York Yankees
 80  72  .526  2.5  Won 1
 Kansas City Royals
 80  72  .526  2.5  Won 1





Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 p.m.

Probable pitchers: LH Dallas Keuchel (6-9, 5.17 ERA) vs. RH Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.49 ERA)
Worth noting: Jimenez has won three consecutive starts, dating to Sept. 3, after going without consecutive victories since winning three straight decisions from June 12-July 9.
Quick take: How’s this for a cakewalk? The Indians’ last 10 games are against the Astros, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, teams that opened play Wednesday a combined 102 games below .500.  

New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m.

Probable pitchers: RH Hiroki Kuroda (11-11, 3.13 ERA) vs. RH Todd Redmond (3-2, 4.10 ERA)
Worth noting: Kuroda lost to the Blue Jays for the first time in four starts this season when he allowed five earned runs and nine hits in nine innings on Aug. 28 at Rogers Centre.
Quick take: Yankees look to snatch one more north of the border before starting a six-game homestand Friday. We'll see if the victory Wednesday carries over.

Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 p.m.

Probable pitchers:
RH Yu Darvish (12-9, 2.79 ERA) vs. LH Matt Moore (15-3, 3.11 ERA)
Worth noting: Moore has won seven consecutive decisions dating to June 20 against the New York Yankees, tied for the third-longest streak franchise history.
Quick take: Possibly a big momentum game. Both these teams will stay contenders.

Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Probable pitchers:
RH Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.70 ERA) vs. RH John Lackey (9-12, 3.56 ERA)
Worth noting: Tillman is undefeated in four starts against the Red Sox this season, going 3-0 after earning a no-decision in his first appearance against them April 11 at Fenway Park.
Quick take: The Orioles have shown they can hang with the AL East’s best. Leaving Fenway Park with a victory would be an obvious plus.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.


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