BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox clinched their first postseason berth since 2009, beating the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 Thursday night behind John Lackey’s two-hitter.
Coming off a last-place finish and a 69-93 record — their most losses since 1965, the Red Sox have rebounded under first-year manager John Farrell and ensured at least a wild-card berth in the postseason. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching the AL East.
Just before Adam Jones’ game-ending flyout to right, the crowd chanted, “Lackey! Lackey!” And after Daniel Nava caught the ball, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia embraced Lackey in front of the mound as Red Sox players came out of the dugout for their usual postgame handshakes.
Boston scored all its runs in the second on Stephen Drew’s two-run homer and Dustin Pedroia’s RBI single.
Rangers 8, Rays 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Elvis Andrus drove in three runs and the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays for four-game series split that left the teams tied atop the AL wild-card race.
With a chance for either team to open a lead in the playoff race, the Rays and Rangers alternated victories for four nights. They each have 10 games left. The Indians, meanwhile, pulled within a half-game of the leaders by beating Houston 2-1 in 11 innings. Cleveland has nine remaining.
Mitch Moreland, Andrus and Alex Rios each homered off Matt Moore in the third inning to put the Rangers ahead to stay.
Craig Gentry had four of the Rangers’ 16 hits and three of their five stolen bases, the most against the Rays this season.
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 2
TORONTO — New York stumbled again in what appears to be an increasingly futile September, losing to Toronto for a fifth defeat in six games.
Hiroki Kuroda lost his fifth straight decision, allowing two runs in the third inning and a solo home run to Anthony Gose in the sixth. Adam Lind added a three-run homer in the seventh off Joba Chamberlain.
New York, which began the night 2½ games back for the second AL wild-card berth, lost two of three in Toronto while scoring just six runs and hitting .198 (19 for 96).
In danger of missing the playoffs for only the second time in 19 seasons, the Yankees return home for a six-game homestand against San Francisco and Tampa Bay — what could be Mariano Rivera’s final games in the Bronx — then close with a three-game interleague series at Houston.
Tigers 5, Mariners 4
DETROIT — Prince Fielder had three hits and scored the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning on a close play at the plate, leading Detroit over Seattle.
Detroit trailed 4-3 after Seattle’s Dustin Ackley hit a three-run homer in the fifth, but Fielder’s RBI single in the seventh tied it. Then he scored from first when Victor Martinez doubled off Charlie Furbush (2-6).
It was a busy day for Fielder, who appeared to take and eat a fan’s nacho after unsuccessfully chasing a fifth-inning foul ball near the stands.
Torii Hunter homered for the Tigers. Doug Fister (13-9) struck out 10 in 7 2-3 innings. Drew Smyly got one out, and Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 22 chances.
Indians 2, Astros 1, 11 innings
CLEVELAND — Matt Carson hit a winning single with two outs in the 11th inning, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Houston Astros to close within a half-game in the AL wild-card race.
Yan Gomes singled with one out off Rhiner Cruz (0-2), and Asdrubal Cabrera reached on an infield single, beating the throw after third baseman Marwin Gonzalez charged and barehanded his slow roller.
Trevor Crowe caught Michael Brantey’s liner to center and nearly doubled Gomes off second, and Mike Aviles loaded the bases with a walk.
Carson hit a grounder under the glove of seciond baseman Jose Altuve for Cleveland’s 10th walkoff win this season.