American League wild-card race update: Sept. 20

BY foxsports • September 20, 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 5, Baltimore Orioles 4 (18 innings)
Buzz: Just your typical six-hour, 54-minute game. The Rays’ David DeJesus singled to right field against the Orioles’ Bud Norris, scoring Desmond Jennings from second to end the longest game in history for both teams. The marathon featured 26 hits and an MLB-record 21 pitchers used. Tampa Bay’s rally began with a one-out double from Jennings, and after Yunel Escobar drew a walk, DeJesus ended the gridlock with his clutch hit.

Cleveland Indians 2, Houston Astros 1 (6 1/2 innings)
Buzz: This was unconventional, but the Indians will take it. Umpires called the game after a 1-hour, 9-minute rain delay, meaning two unearned runs from the Indians were the difference. Cleveland’s Mike Aviles grounded into a fielder’s choice to third in the second inning, which allowed Carlos Santana to score. Then in the fourth inning, a throwing error by Astros first baseman Chris Carter allowed Ryan Raburn to score. The Indians won their 28th one-run game of the season.

New York Yankees 5, San Francisco Giants 1
Buzz: Alex Rodriguez became the majors’ all-time grand slam leader, passing Lou Gehrig with a shot to right field off reliever George Kontos in the seventh inning to lift the Yankees to a key victory. It was Rodriguez’s 24th grand slam, and the power display was enough to give New York its second victory in seven tries. Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings.

Kansas City Royals 2, Texas Rangers 1
Buzz: Alcides Escobar drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning against reliever Neftali Feliz, which scored Lorenzo Cain to give the Royals a big series-opening victory. The Rangers struck first with an RBI double by A.J. Pierzynski in the second, and the Royals answered with an RBI double by Justin Maxwell in the bottom half of the inning. Kansas City right-hander Ervin Santana was efficient, only allowing one run and five hits in 7 1/3 innings. The Royals’ bullpen didn’t allow a hit the rest of the way.

   W  L  Pct.  WCGB  Streak
 Tampa Bay Rays
 84  69  .549  +0.5  Won 1
 Cleveland Indians
 84  70  .545  --  Won 2
 Texas Rangers
 83  70  .542  0.5  Lost 1
 Baltimore Orioles
 81  72  .529  2.5  Lost 2
 Kansas City Royals
 81  72  .529  2.5  Won 2
 New York Yankees
 81  73  .526  3.0  Won 1

Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians, 6:05 p.m.

Probable pitchers: RH Paul Clemens (4-5, 5.54 ERA) vs. LH Scott Kazmir (8-9, 4.34 ERA)
Worth noting: Kazmir made his season debut against the Astros and allowed six runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings during a no-decision April 20.
Quick take: The Indians’ two victories in this series haven’t come easy. But, well, these are the Astros, so Cleveland should bank on another win soon.

San Francisco Giants at New York Yankees, 1:05 p.m.

Probable pitchers: RH Ryan Vogelsong (3-5, 5.73 ERA) vs. RH Ivan Nova (8-5, 3.36 ERA)
Worth noting: Nova won four consecutive decisions before losing his last start Sept. 15 against the Boston Red Sox.
Quick take: A-Rod passed Lou Gehrig in something? Isn’t there something wrong with that?

Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays, 1:05 p.m.

Probable pitchers: TBA vs. RH Alex Cobb (9-3, 3.02 ERA)
Worth noting: Cobb is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles.
Quick take: Round 1 was fun between these two. Let’s do another, shall we?

Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals, 7:10 p.m.

Probable pitchers: RH Matt Garza (9-6, 4.06 ERA) vs. RH Jeremy Guthrie (14-11, 4.08 ERA)
Worth noting: Garza hasn’t had much luck in three September starts, going 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA.
Quick take: So much at stake this weekend for both. So much fun.

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

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