Clinches, milestones and a even no-hitter: Let's relive the minute-by-minute excitement of an epic Day 162
Game 162 excitement unfolds coast to coast
As we lick our chops for win-or-go-home Wild Cards on Tuesday and Wednesday, let's take a quick trip through a Game 162 Sunday for the ages. The best part is, the baseball only gets better from here ...
6:14 ET - The Mariners have something they'd like to say to the Rangers regarding their postseason chances:
6:03 ET - King Felix retains his crown, exiting after the sixth inning with a sparkling 2.14 ERA:
5:47 ET - Sonny Gray pitches his second complete game shutout of the year, and the A's are headed to postseason:
Make sure your saxophones are ready for outdoor use, A's fans:
5:38 ET - At just 88 pitches, Sonny Gray comes back out to the mound at the bottom of the ninth. The A's are just three outs away from clinching the last postseaon berth:
It's Gray on the mound to get the final three outs to clinch a postseason berth.- Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 28, 2014
4:36 ET - With two innings in the books, Felix Hernandez has just edged past Chris Sale for the ERA title:
Hernandez with two scoreless innings now has the AL ERA lead at 2.166. CWS lefty Chris Sale at 2.172. Now, all Felix had to do is hold it.- Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) September 28, 2014
4:24 ET - As the East Coast games have wrapped up, our dreams of three separate playoffs have been dashed.
Behind the strength of 7.1 shutout innings from David Price and Ian Kinsler's three hits, the Detroit Tigers have won their fourth consecutive AL Central title and will play the Orioles in Baltimore on Thursday.
Unfortunately, while the Tigers won, Victor Martinez won't be taking home the batting title. Martinez went 0-for-3 on the day to drop his average to .335. After asking into the lineup, Altuve went 2-for-4 with an RBI to raise his average to .341. He also becomes the first Astros batting champion in the history of the franchise.
The Kansas City Royals will now wait to see if they will play the Athletics or Mariners on Tuesday.
Meanwhile in the National League, the Reds defeated the Pirates 4-1 behind 8 strong innings from Johnny Cueto who lowered his ERA to 2.25 and picked up his 20th win of the season. Oh yeah, he also singled in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth.
Josh Harrison was also unable to get a hit off of Johnny Cueto, going 0-for-4 and lowering his average to .315, so the NL batting title will go to Justin Morneau who sat out Sunday's game.
The Pirates loss also let the Cardinals relax during their afternoon hilt against the Diamondbacks as they the NL Central champions for the second straight season. They will face the Dodgers in the NLDS on Friday.
4:10 ET - King Felix throws his first pitch. In Arlington, the A's are up 2-0:
Three up, three down for Sonny in the 2nd. #Athletics up 2-0.- Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) September 28, 2014
3:58 ET - Despite a leadoff single from Starling Marte, Aroldis Chapman fired in some 100 mph lasers to close out the game. The Cardinals can now sit back comfortably as the NL Central champs while the Pirates must now prepare to host the Giants on Wednesday.
3:50 ET - Guess who's back?
For the fourth consecutive year, your AL Central Champions are the Detroit Tigers!
3:40 ET - After Cueto's RBI single, Kristopher Negron promptly came up and hit a two-run home run into the left field seats to put the Reds up 4-1.
3:39 ET- Apparently no one informed Jordan Zimmermann that the Nationals were already playoff bound. Facing the Marlins, Zimmermann threw the first Nationals no-hitter. His line on the day: 9 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 10 SO.
Looks like Steven Souza is going to be getting a very nice meal on Zimmermann's dime, too:
Steven Souza Jr. with an UNBELIEVABLE diving catch in left field ends it! A NO-HITTER FOR JORDAN ZIMMERMANN!!- Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 28, 2014
3:33 ET - Ian Kinsler finds the gap with an RBI single to left, scoring Andrew Romine and padding the Tigers' lead against the Twins, and Torii Hunter's sac fly puts the Tigers ahead of the Twins 3-0 and 3 outs away from the division title:
Ian Kinsler strikes again, this time off Gibson's fastball, for a huge insurance run. Aggressive send by Dave Clark pays off. 2-0 Tigers.- Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 28, 2014
Sac fly for Torii Hunter. Carrera scores. #Tigers 3, Twins 0 in the 8th.- George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) September 28, 2014
3:30 ET - After Gerrit Cole was lifted after striking out 12 and surrendering only one run in seven innings, Reds left fielder Jason Bourgeois tripled off of Tony Watson to lead off the inning. After Josh Harrison made another fantastic grab:
Pitcher Johnny Cueto came up with the runner on third and one out. With everyone expecting Cueto to be lifted in place of a pinch-hitter, the pitcher with a career .099 batting average ... singled in the go-ahead run. Naturally, it was after he singled that he was taken out of the game.
3:14 ET - In Detroit, after 8 strikeouts and 7 1/3 innings, David Price is out. Joba Chamberlain's beard (and the rest of Joba Chamberlain) is in:
Standing ovation as David Price exits the game. Joba Chamberlain takes over.- George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) September 28, 2014
3:08 ET - The White Sox plan to make KC work for that win, as Marcus Semien knots the score with a two-run homer in the third:
Marcus Semien hits a two-run home run to tie the game at 2-2!- Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 28, 2014
2:35 ET - Jose Altuve beats out a single in the fifth against the Mets - meet your new AL batting title holder:
Jose Altuve singles, raises batting average to .341. Say hello to the AL batting champ.- Richard Justice (@richardjustice) September 28, 2014
2:34 ET - The Royals take a 1 - 0 lead over the White Sox, as Salvador Perez's sac fly scores Billy Butler:
2:27 ET - Derek Jeter gets an RBI single in his final career at-bat, because of course he does:
Derek Jeter hits an RBI single in his final at-bat! #FarewellCaptain- New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 28, 2014
2:21 ET - Victor Martinez grounded out in his second at-bat, going 0-for-2, all but guaranteeing Jose Altuve the AL Batting title:
2:14 ET - 1-0 deficit? What 1-0 deficit? Leading off the top of the 4th inning, Pirates second baseman Neil Walker tied the game with his 23rd home run of the season.
1:58 ET - Ian Kinsler opens up the scoring for the Tigers with a solo homer in the bottom of the third:
1:56 ET - In the top of the first, the Reds put runners at the corners against with no one out when HR Derby finalist Todd Frazier stepped to the plate. He smashed a hard grounder that could have scored two had it made it over the head of Josh Harrison. Fortunately for the Bucs, Harrison was up for the challenge even though a run would still cross the plate.
Unfortunately for Harrison's batting title hopes, he's 0-for-2 so far in the game as the Pirates trail 1-0 in the bottom of the third.
As we enter the bittersweet final day of the regular season, comfort yourself with this knowledge: Monday could see three, count 'em, three tiebreakers to decide the final postseason field.
So if your greatest desire is for more high-stakes baseball instead of less, these are the races you should be paying attention to:
AL Wild Card
Thanks to Austin Jackson beating the throw to first base in the 11th inning on Saturday, the Mariners playoff hopes stayed alive for one more day.
Still one game back of the Athletics for the final Wild Card spot, should the Mariners win and the Athletics lose, the two teams will have a one-game playoff on Monday in Seattle.
At 3:05 ET, Sonny Gray takes the mound for the Athletics, facing Nick Martinez of the Rangers. An Athletics win or Mariners loss will hand the A's the final Wild Card spot. Only problem? Despite a 3.00 ERA in the month of September, Gray's an unlucky 0-3. Perhaps he'll try to fool the Rangers batters with the ol' ball on a string trick.
And then at 4:10 ET, Felix Hernandez will be looking to not only give himself the ERA title, but push the Mariners to a 163rd game. He faces Cory Rasmus of the Angels and you better believe the M's will be doing a little scoreboard peeking during this one.
Though the Royals have guaranteed themselves their first postseason berth since 1985, leading to a joyous George Brett postseason hug:
They're still looking for the AL Central title. Coming into the last day of the season, the Royals are just one game back of the Detroit Tigers, who are hoping to clinch their fourth consecutive AL Central crown.
Kansas City will need a win coupled with a Tigers loss to force Game 163 at Comerica. It's a tall order, as midseason acquisition David Price and his 263 strikeouts take the mound for the Tigers against the Twins at 1:08 ET.
But the Royals should have plenty of reason to be optimistic, too. Yordano Ventura and his 97+ mph fastball take on the White Sox at 2:10 ET.
Thanks to a blistering 17-8 record in September, the Pirates were able to celebrate heartily for the second straight year after clinching a postseason berth.
They've found themselves still in the hunt for the NL Central crown despite being as many as five games back as late as September 3. Unfortunately for the Bucs, the Cards haven't been September pushovers either, going 16-9 in the final month.
Needing a victory and Cardinals loss to play on Monday, sophomore hurler Gerrit Cole takes the mound against the Reds.It won't be an easy battle, as the Bucs will be opposed by Johnny Cueto and his 19-9 record and 2.29 ERA. Rumor is that if the game goes into extra innings, it will be decided by a karaoke battle.
Should the Pirates succeed, there will be plenty of eyes on the Cardinals' matchup with the D-backs at 4:10 ET. Fortunately for the Cards, they have Adam Wainwright and his devastating curveball facing the axe-hurling Josh Collmenter of the Diamondbacks.
But the postseason races aren't the only things to be watching for today. In fact, there are a number of other exciting stories in progress. Like:
- Derek Jeter will play in his final Major League game when the Yankees take on the Red Sox in Fenway at 1:35 ET. He'll be batting second and playing DH while looking to get his 3,465th hit. Though it will certainly be hard to top his Yankee Stadium finale.
- Following the joyous celebration of Paul Konerko's career on Saturday, it will also be the final game of the White Sox slugger's career. Will he be able to add to his 439 career home runs?
- Jose Altuve and Victor Martinez have a batting title race on their hands. Altuve currently leads the league in hits (223), steals (56) and batting average (.340); Victor Martinez is on his tail at .337.
Jose Altuve is batting .3399. Victor Martinez would need to go 3-3 to pass him at .3404. #astros- Cory Hepola (@CoryHepolaCSN) September 28, 2014
It'll be a tough battle for Martinez, as Altuve can and will hit anything thrown in his general vicinity.
- The National League has a batting title on the line also. Going into the final day, Josh Harrison and his 15-game hitting streak are one point behind the Rockies' Justin Morneau, .319 to .318. Morneau is going to sit the final day out, so Harrison will need to extend that hitting streak if he wants to take home the silverware.
If Harrison loses the title by a single point, he can probably blame Andrelton Simmons for this:
So keep your eyes locked on this page as we'll be constantly updating all day with the latest news, highlights and final day drama that you can handle.