The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers won their respective games on Sunday, ensuring a tie atop the National League Central that will require a Game 163 tiebreaker on Monday at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs pushed their record to 95-67 with a 10-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The Brewers, meanwhile, completed a three-game sweep by destroying the Detroit Tigers 11-0.
The winner of Monday’s 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT game will capture the division crown and advance straight to the NL Division Series, while the loser will host Tuesday’s NL Wild Card Game.
The Dodgers and Rockies will play another tiebreaker on Monday to decide the NL West. The loser of that will also play in the wild card game.
BOSTON — Mookie Betts claimed the big league batting title with one more hit and J.D. Martinez hit his 43rd homer Sunday to lead the AL East champion Boston Red Sox into the playoffs with their franchise-record 108th win, a 10-2 victory over the wild-card winning New York Yankees.
Five days before they might meet in the post-season for the first time since Boston’s epic comeback in their cathartic 2004 World Series championship run, the teams ran out 41 players in a meaningless Game 162. Red Sox manager Alex Cora compared it to the final day of spring training.
Now they turn their attention to the playoffs: New York has to go through Oakland first, in Wednesday night’s AL wild-card game. The winner will be in Boston for Game 1 of the AL Division Series, starting Friday.
Betts finished with a major league-best .346 average, Martinez drove in three to give him an AL-best 130 RBIs, and Rick Porcello pitched two innings of no-hit ball before leaving with a 7-0 lead in his final tuneup for the post-season. The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner is expected to start Game 3 of the ALDS, following Chris Sale and David Price to the mound.
Eduardo Rodriguez (13-5) was credited with the win by the official scorer as the most effective reliever under MLB Rule 9.17(b). Rodriguez was the fourth of eight Boston pitchers, going one inning and striking out two.
Xander Bogaerts also homered for Boston.
Betts had already taken the field at the beginning of the third inning when Cora sent Tzu-Wei Lin out to replace him, allowing the AL MVP favourite to
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ryan Yarbrough got his rookie-leading 16th win and the Tampa Bay Rays turned another bullpen game into their 90th victory, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 on Sunday.
The Rays (90-72) went to the unconventional plan of using relievers to start games in addition to traditional starters in mid-May due to injuries.
The results were about equal, as Tampa Bay went 46-38 with regular starters and 44-34 when utilizing the bullpen.
Ryne Stanek was Tampa Bay’s “opener” for the 29th time and went two scoreless innings. Yarbrough (16-6) followed and gave up two runs and four hits over three innings to get his 14th relief win.
The Rays went 87-60 after losing 12 of their first 15 games.
Outgoing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to have some fun in the finale and let 35-year-old catcher Russell Martin manage the game.
Martin “thought about it for a couple seconds” before deciding not to be a player-manager.
Toronto announced Wednesday that Gibbons will not be back as manager next season.
“He’s one of my favourites,” Martin said. “I’m going to miss him. He’s a special guy. He’s kind of like having a second dad.”
Over two stints totalling 11 seasons, Gibbons went 793-789 with the Blue Jays.
Toronto finished 73-89, a three-game drop from 2017.
Tampa Bay improved 10 games from last year and joined the 2012 Rays (90) and 2013 Texas Rangers (91) as the only 90-win teams since the second wild card was introduced in 2012 to miss the post-season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies won their respective games on Sunday, ensuring a tie atop the National League West that will require a Game 163 tiebreaker on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants with a 15-0 drubbing Sunday to improve to 91-71. The Rockies, meanwhile, clobbered the Washington Nationals 12-0 to finish with an identical record.
The winner of Monday’s 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT game will capture the division crown and advance straight to the NL Division Series, where they will face the Atlanta Braves.
The loser will play in the NL Wild Card Game on Tuesday against either the Chicago Cubs or Milwaukee Brewers.