Yankees take East, earn home field
OAKLAND, Calif. — Same chaotic, champagne dance-party scene in the clubhouse just two days later. New T-shirt: AL West champions.
The Oakland Athletics won the division title with another improbable rally in a season full of them, coming back from four runs down and a 13-game division deficit to stun the two-time defending league champion Texas Rangers 12-5 on Wednesday.
“We knew this is a beast of a team we would have to beat, and to be able to beat them three games in a row and win the division on top of it, really it’s a magical-type thing,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Josh Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that put the A’s (94-68) ahead 7-5 in a six-run fourth inning. The A’s only added to Texas’ troubles the rest of the way.
“You can have all the experience as you want but when you run into a team that’s hot, experience has nothing to do with it,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.
“It shows how important Game 162 is,” Oakland’s Jonny Gomes said. “I don’t think it took 162 to games to check the character of this ballclub.”
Oakland pulled off another remarkable performance in a season defined by thrilling walkoffs, rallies and whipped-cream pie celebrations by a team that was never supposed to be here.
A club that trailed Texas by 13 games on June 30. A club with a $59.5 million payroll, lowest in baseball.
General manager Billy Beane found ways to get a blue-collar franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since being swept by Detroit in the 2006 AL championship series.
Yankees 14, Red Sox 2: In New York, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson each hit a pair of homers, powering the Yankees to their 13th AL East title in 17 years.
Cano tied a career high with six RBIs as New York secured home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
Rays 4, Orioles 1: In St. Petersburg, Fla., Evan Longoria homered three times for the Tampa Bay Rays.
The loss left the Orioles as a wild-card team. They’ll play Friday at Texas, with the winner advancing to the division series.