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Most amazing American League games of 2016

December 28, 2016

The Indians came thisclose to bringing a World Series title home to their fans and to the American League after an amazing 2016 season. Taking the Chicago Cubs to the 10th inning of the seventh game of the Fall Classic was just about as memorable as it gets.But the Indians

The Indians came thisclose to bringing a World Series title home to their fans and to the American League after an amazing 2016 season. Taking the Chicago Cubs to the 10th inning of the seventh game of the Fall Classic was just about as memorable as it gets.
But the Indians were one of 15 teams in the AL, and each one had its own Game of the Year. In consultation with the beat reporters for every team, here are the best individual games for each AL club during another fantastic year in Major League Baseball:
• Most amazing National League games of 2016
Angels: 10-3 win on Sept. 3 at Seattle
In a banged-up, otherwise-down year for the Angels, there were still great moments, and the ongoing highlight reel that is Albert Pujols' career provided many of them. The stately slugger seemingly made history with every big hit, and on this night, that was the case. Pujols hit two home runs, giving him 588 for his career to move past Frank Robinson (586) for ninth on the all-time list. Pujols had already passed Reggie Jackson, Rafael Palmeiro, Harmon Killebrew and Mark McGwire earlier in the year and finished 2016 with 591 career homers, which puts him in position to eclipse 600 in '17. Full recap >

Astros: 5-3 win on May 11 vs. Indians
The Astros didn't reach the postseason in 2016, but their young, exciting core of players had them battling in contention until the final weeks of the season. That spirit was evident throughout 2016 and in this particular game. The Astros had a lead in the ninth when the eventual AL champions tied it up. The game lasted seven more innings, into the 16th, when Astros infielder Marwin Gonzalez ended the five-hour-plus nail-biter with a walk-off two-run homer that sent the Minute Maid Park crowd home happy. Full recap >

A's: 8-5 win on May 17 vs. Rangers
A's slugger Khris Davis had a breakout season at the plate, with 42 homers, and three of those came in this game, including a grand slam that walked it off in the ninth after Texas had taken the lead. Davis had six RBIs in the game, which the slugger punctuated in true Bay Area style with a Steph Curry jump-shot re-enactment while rounding third base. Full recap >

Blue Jays: 7-6 win on Oct. 9 vs. Rangers in Game 3 of the AL Division Series
This ALDS rematch was as emotionally charged as the previous version, in 2015. Game 3 was a big part of that, and it went all the way to the 10th inning. With the game tied at 6, Josh Donaldson led off with a double and moved to second base when the Rangers elected to intentionally walk Edwin Encarnacion. With one out, Russell Martin hit a bouncer to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who flipped to second baseman Rougned Odor for one out. Odor's throw to first was in the dirt and was not handled cleanly by Mitch Moreland. That was all Donaldson needed to let it ride by rounding third and diving home with the series-sweeping run. Full recap >

Indians: 3-0 win on Oct. 19 at Toronto in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series
The Indians were working with a short-staffed starting rotation because of injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, so they turned to rookie left-hander Ryan Merritt in Game 5 of the ALCS, and the kid delivered. Merritt, a 24-year-old with a previous total of 11 Major League innings under his belt, pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up only two singles. The tough Cleveland bullpen took it from there and closed out the victory to send the team to its first World Series since 1997. Full recap >

Orioles: 3-2 win on Sept. 28 at Toronto
One of the best stories for the 2016 Orioles was the emergence of Mark Trumbo as the Major League home run champion. Trumbo got the O's rally started in this game in the eighth inning with a solo shot, trimming the Blue Jays' lead to 2-1, and Hyun Soo Kim put a wrapper on it with a two-run homer in the ninth as the Orioles stayed in the race for the AL Wild Card. Full recap >

Mariners: 16-13 win on June 2 at San Diego
It was rally time in San Diego, and the Mariners were ready. Things started out, well, quite poorly, to say the least, as Seattle was losing, 12-2 after five innings. But two innings later, the entire picture had changed. The Mariners scored nine times in the seventh to take the lead and became the first team since 2009 to rally from 10 runs down and win a game, winning one of the craziest games of the MLB season in the process. Full recap >

Rangers: 7-6 win on May 15 vs. Blue Jays
These teams had scuffled, literally and figuratively, during a charged 2015 ALDS, and in the finale of their second series in 2016, things got heated again. With the Blue Jays leading, 6-3, the Rangers scored four times in the seventh, taking the lead on Ian Desmond's three-run homer. In the eighth, José Bautista's hard slide into Odor at second base sparked a confrontation between the two, which led to a benches-clearing incident that highlighted the competitive rivalry between the two clubs. Full recap >

Rays: 3-2 win on April 5 vs. Blue Jays
The Rays won their first game of 2016 in bizarre fashion. After second baseman Logan Forsythe hit a two-run homer in the eighth to give Tampa Bay the lead, things got weird in the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the final inning, the game ended on a controversial call when the umpiring crew ruled that Bautista was out at second base on the new slide rule, giving the Rays the victory with a double play. Full recap >

Red Sox: 6-5 win on May 14 vs. Astros
When it came to the Red Sox in 2016, much of the talk centered around the final season of the great David Ortiz, and Big Papi factored into this one in a big way. Ortiz homered in the third inning for his 513th career round-tripper, which broke a tie with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 22nd place in MLB history. Then he tied the game with a rare triple with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and hit a walk-off double in the 11th. The two-base hit was the 600th double of Ortiz's career. Full recap >

Royals: 8-7 win on May 28 vs. White Sox
The Royals showed the grit that helped them win the previous year's World Series with one unforgettable never-say-die ninth inning. Down 7-1 vs. White Sox closer David Robertson, the Royals rallied, and after Tommy Kahnle replaced Robertson, they continued, with Drew Butera tying the game and Brett Eibner winning it. That's a seven-run comeback in the ninth if you're scoring at home, a rarity even for the rallyin' Royals. Full recap >

Tigers: 10-7 win on June 30 at Tampa Bay
As if borrowing a page from the Royals' handbook, the Tigers orchestrated a dramatic ninth-inning comeback of their own at Tropicana Field. Down, 7-2, Detroit put up an eight-spot in the top of the ninth, with outfielder Cameron Maybin's three-run double putting them ahead for good. Full recap >

Twins: 12-5 win on Aug. 1 at Cleveland
The Twins were rebuilding in 2016 and never got into the pennant race, but they were capable of some offensive fireworks and occasional dominant outings by talented young pitchers. They put both facets of that potential together in this game against the eventual AL champs. Rookie slugger Max Kepler went 4-for-6 with three homers and six RBIs, stalwart first baseman Joe Mauer had four hits and a homer of his own, and Minnesota racked up 19 hits to back rookie right-hander José Berríos, who earned his second Major League win. Full recap >

White Sox: 2-1 win on June 1 at New York Mets
It took 13 innings, but the White Sox gutted out a quality Interleague victory in the home park of the defending National League champions with some timely hitting by an unexpected source and some good old-fashioned small ball. Chicago reliever Matt Albers led off the top of the 13th with an opposite-field double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on José Abreu's sacrifice fly. Albers pitched the bottom of the 13th to make his big hit and run stand up. Full recap >

Yankees: 5-3 win on Sept. 28 vs. Red Sox
One of the most long-standing and heated rivalries in sports had one of its signature games of the 2016 season in the last week of New York first baseman Mark Teixeira's career, and the big man rose to the occasion. Down, 3-0, the Yankees scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and in the fourth-to-last game of Teixeira's wonderful ride through the big leagues, he hit his first walk-off homer, a grand slam that sent Yankee Stadium into utter bedlam and clinched the club's 24th consecutive winning season. Full recap >

Doug Miller is a reporter for based in Seattle.