Game 161 was wild -- everything you need to know for Sunday's final games
Everything you need to know for Sunday's final games
No matter how the standings may look in June, July or even early September, the baseball season always promises more drama on the season finale than an episode of Grey's Anatomy. On Sunday's last day of the regular season, the AL Wild Card is up for grabs between the Mariners and A's, while the AL Central and NL Central titles have yet to be decided. How did Saturday's action go down?
Needing only a victory or a Mariners loss to secure an AL Wild Card spot, the Athletics got neither. A's starter Jeff Samardzija did his best, striking out nine in 7 innings, including his 200th of the season, but two Rangers home runs helped put the A's in a 5-2 hole.
In the top of the 8th, the A's rallied, pushing across two runs. With runners on the corners and two outs, Alberto Callaspo came up and drove one back to the wall:
Only a few more feet and the A's could have been postseason bound. Instead they go into Sunday hoping to avoid having to play a Game 163 on Monday. Oakland's loss helped another team out, too:
For folks asking: If Oakland loses, the Royals are guaranteed to at least host Tuesday's Wild Card game. The division is still in play, too.- Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) September 28, 2014
As for Jonny Gomes, this year hasn't been as kind to the the men in green and gold:
Gomes: "I think I had a couple quotes in 2012 that whoever made the baseball season 162 games were A's fans. That said, here we go again."- Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 28, 2014
Gifted with life following the A's loss, the Mariners were in danger against the Angels. Trailing, 1-0, in the bottom of the 7th, Logan Morrison came to the plate and doubled in the tying run. He was a little excited.
After leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, the Mariners took advantage of their second chance when Austin Jackson barely beat out the back-end of a double play in the 11th to give the Mariners the victory.
Even Ian Desmond was into a game that had no impact on his October plans:
This Angels-Ms game.- Ian Desmond (@IanDesmond20) September 28, 2014
The Mariners will pin all their hopes on Sunday's starter, ace Felix Hernandez. Does he feel any pressure?
Me to Felix as he walked by in the clubhouse: "You ready?" Felix stone faced: "Hell yeah" and he kept on walking.- Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) September 28, 2014
Meanwhile in the AL Central, the Tigers still hold a one-game lead over the Royals after both teams lost on Saturday. Facing the Twins, Detroit led, 1-0, until the Twins exploded for six runs in the 5th on eight singles.
On Paul Konerko Day in Chicago, the Royals didn't fare much better. Down 4-1, the Royals cut the lead the to two with Salvador Perez's 17th home run of the season in the top of the seventh.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, Josh Phegley would respond in the bottom half with his second home run of the game:
The Royals kept clawing back, though. Lorenzo Cain singled in a run in the 8th and Mike Moustakas singled in another with two outs in the 9th to cut the lead to 5-4. But Alcides Escobar grounded out to end the game, leaving everything up for grabs in Game 162.
Finally, in the NL Central, the Pirates were looking to tie the Cardinals for the division lead. The Bucs and Reds traded runs all game, going into extra innings tied at six. Unfortunately for the Pirates, Ramon Santiago hit a grand slam in the10th to give the Reds a walk-off win:
Needing the Cardinals to lose to keep their NL Central hopes alive, the Pirates surely broke into a cheer when Mark Trumbo hit a tie-breaking three-run shot (his second homer of the game) in the bottom of the 7th:
One big mistake is the difference so far in this game--Maness got way too much of the plate against #Dbacks Trumbo. Trumbo didn't miss it.- Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) September 28, 2014
Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez was definitely psyched:
So you're telling me there's a chance. pic.twitter.com/unruTjl2Vg- Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) September 28, 2014
And that brings us to today: With time running out there are still six teams jostling for postseason position -- half hoping for a game on Monday, the other half hoping to wrap things up this afternoon.
Be sure to head over to our live blog that we'll be updating all day long, supplying you with the freshest highlights, GIFs and news that you'll need for this action-packed finale.