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Blue Jays' win pushes Tigers to the brink

Toronto’s ninth inning rally leaves Detroit 1-1/2 games out of a playoff spot

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

With so many teams in the thick of this year’s AL Wild Card race, it can be tough to keep your scoreboard watching straight. Fear not, though: Bless You Boys has you covered. Over the last two weeks of the season we have been updating you on the ups and downs of the AL playoff picture, and how each contending team fared on a regular basis.

The Detroit Tigers need to win their final two games on Sunday in Atlanta and Monday against Cleveland, and they need either the Toronto Blue Jays or the Baltimore Orioles, or both, to lose on Sunday in order to set up a game 163 tiebreaker. See all the playoff scenarios in plain english below.  Here is a look at the action around the league on Saturday.

Toronto Blue Jays 4, Boston Red Sox 3

Recaps: Bluebird Banter | Over the Monster

Blue Jays’ closer Robert Osuna, who was called in with two on and no outs in the eighth inning, balked in the tying run from third base to even the score at 3- 3 heading to the ninth inning. The Jays then manufactured a run in the top of the ninth without the benefit of a hit, finished off with a sacrifice fly from Ezequiel Carrera to score the eventual winning run. Osuna then closed out the victory in the ninth. Kevin Pillar drove in three runs for Toronto against Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez despite nine strikeouts.

Impact: Toronto pulls even with Baltimore for the two wild card spots and would have home field advantage over the Orioles in the event of a tie between the two teams. The Jays now lead the Tigers by 1-1/2 games and can clinch a playoff spot with a win on Sunday.

New York Yankees 7, Baltimore Orioles 3

Recaps: Camden Chat | Pinstripe Alley

Baltimore would have clinched a playoff spot with a victory, but the Yankees came back from a 3- 0 deficit, scoring seven unanswered runs capped off by a four run eighth inning to defeat the Orioles in New York. Mark Trumbo had four hits and Manny Machado launched his 37th home run while Michael Bourn drove in a pair of runs for the Orioles. Austin Romine, Tyler Austin, and Brett Gardner each drove in two runs for New York.

Impact: Baltimore is tied with Toronto, one and a half games ahead of Detroit for the two wild card playoff spots. They can clinch a playoff spot with a victory on Sunday.

Oakland Athletics 9, Seattle Mariners8

Recaps: Lookout Landing | Athletics Nation

The Oakland A's got to Seattle starter Hiroshi Iwakuma for five runs in 3-2/3 innings, and went on to defeat the Seattle Mariners in an extra inning slugfest.  Seattle got a pair of two run homers from Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. Marcus Semien and Joey Wendle had four hits each for Oakland, and Ryan Madson worked two scoreless innings in relief to get the win. The loss extends Seattle's major league leading playoff drought to 15 years.

Impact: Seattle is eliminated from playoff contention, and the possibility of a four way tie for the two wild card spots is also gone.

Playoff scenarios in plain English:

There are now just three scenarios for the Detroit Tigers. Either

A) The Tigers lose on Sunday or Monday, or both Baltimore and Toronto win on Sunday, eliminating Detroit, or

B) The Tigers win on Sunday and Monday, and either Baltimore or Toronto loses on Sunday to force a game 163 on Tuesday for the second wild card position, or

C) The Tigers win on Sunday and Monday and both Baltimore and Toronto lose on Sunday, resulting in a three way tie for both wild card spots, and a two game playoff.  Baltimore would play at Toronto with the Winner being the first wild card team.  The loser would play at Detroit with the winner being the second wild card team.

In any playoff scenario, Detroit has to win on Sunday, and Monday and win a tiebreaker game, and win the wild card game. That's four elimination games in a row. Piece of cake, right?

Also Noteworthy:

  • The Texas Rangers have clinched the home field advantage in the American league as long as they remain alive in the post season. The Chicago Cubs had already clinched home field advantage in the National league. Both teams will host the winner of the wild card playoff game in their respective leagues.
  • The Boston Red Sox will play the Cleveland Indians. Boston's loss on Saturday leaves them half a game behind the Tribe.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers will play at the Washington Nationals to open the first round of the playoffs regardless of which teams qualify as wild cards.
  • The New York Mets clinched a playoff spot with a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. They will host the wild card game against San Francisco or St Louis on Wednesday.
  • The San Francisco Giants held onto the National league’s second wild card spot with a 3- 0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. They can clinch a playoff spot with a win or a Cardinals loss on Sunday.
  • The St Louis Cardinals erased a 3- 0 deficit and pulled out a 4- 3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to keep their playoff dreams alive, but they will need a win and a Giants loss on Sunday to force a tiebreaker playoff, which would be at St Louis.
Team W-L PCT GB L10
Baltimore 88-73 .547 -
88-73 .547 - 5-5
Detroit 86-74 .538 1.5 6-4
Seattle 86-75 .535 2.0 7-3