Still, one Boston win or one NY loss and the Red Sox have their second straight AL East title. The Yankees, who will at the least host the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card game, are two games behind Boston with two to play.
After going 8-1 in their final road trip of the season, the Red Sox have slumped at home, losing two in a row and falling to 1-4 on their homestand. Mookie Betts is 3-for-7 (.429) and Xander Bogaerts 3-for-9 (.333).
Rays 7, Orioles 0: As consolation prizes go, Tampa Bay earned one by locking up third place in the American League East with a win over Baltimore. If it was easy, it wouldn't be fun. "We've got to go out and win a game".
Entering play on Friday (Sept. 29), the New York Yankees trail the Boston Red Sox by three games in the division. But with the Fenway Park crowd rooting for a rally, Rafael Devers grounded out to end it. The Red Sox won their eighth straight game with a 5-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. This isn't a choke like September 2011, but an Old Man in the Mountain-style disintegration - one minute the division is theirs, the next they're crumbling into pieces on the valley floor. We've seen him pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen this month and he's thrived in the new role, tossing six shutout innings over three appearances. I'm proud of our guys, obviously. After a brief discussion, Farrell left the $217 million man in the game with the bases loaded. "We'd like 102, plus 11 in October", Houston Manager A.J. Hinch said.
Tanaka (13-12) joined Washington's Stephen Strasburg as the second pitcher to notch 15 strikeouts in an outing this season. Friday's win gaves the Astros 100 wins for the first time since the 1998 season. Jose Berrios picked up his 14th victory by retiring four hitters in a relief stint as he prepares for a possible playoff start.
YANKEES 4, BLUE JAYS 0: In New York, Masahiro Tanaka struck out 15 over seven innings, his highest total since coming to the major leagues, and playoff-bound New York beat Toronto to remain on the edge of contention in the AL East. Over the last three innings, the Astros eked out just one hit, a single by Carlos Beltran, and once more tensions began to mount. Tanaka (13-12) retired his first 14 batters before Ezequiel Carerra reached on an infield single up the middle. The top seed will play the victor of the wild-card game between the Yankees and Twins in the Division Series. "Going into a season, you set goals as a team. If the weekend presents itself as it's a little clearer picture for us or for them, maybe things change". But they still found a way to pull it out.
CHICAGO - Ian Happ slugged his 24th home run, a three-run shot in the eighth inning that helped Chicago to a come-from-behind victory over Cincinnati. He's 5-1 with a 0.84 ERA since returning from the disabled list on August 19. Pedroia 2B 3. Benintendi LF 4.
Boston added another run in the bottom of the sixth to get to within one, 3-2. The Brewers only hope is to win their final two games in St. Louis and hope that the rest-and-stay-healthy Dodgers beat the Rockies on Saturday and Sunday.
The Nationals were 6-1 winners against the Pirates as Ryan Zimmerman went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and four RBIs. All of this is for the right to visit the Diamondbacks in the NL Wild Card Game. Reigning Cy Young Award victor Rick Porcello has taken a couple steps back, posting a 4.65 ERA. Pelfrey allowed six hits, only one of them a single, and walked six.
From there, the Sox cruised to a 6-3 win, and an AL East title.