The American League may be in danger of having two teams drop out of the race for a Wild Card spot. Both the Royals and Yankees lost on Tuesday night, pushing them 3½ games out. With multiple teams ahead of them and just two weeks remaining in the season, it could be a tough, but not impossible, climb for either team to make it back into contention.
The Royals lost to another October hopeful, the Indians, who now sit just a half-game out of a playoff spot. Kansas City took an early lead, scoring three runs off Corey Kluber in the first three innings. Rookie starter Yordano Ventura kept Cleveland off the board for five innings in his major-league debut before allowing a run in the sixth.
Then the Royals' bullpen came in. Kelvin Herrera allowed two runs in the seventh to tie the game at three apiece. Wade Davis gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth. Finally, Michael Bourn hit a solo homer in the ninth off Luke Hochevar to wrap up the win.
The Yankees are also close to falling out of postseason discussions. Their offense managed just five hits as they were shut out by the Blue Jays. R.A. Dickey did the most damage, twirling seven innings of four-hit ball and striking out eight. Colby Rasmus and Rajai Davis each hit a solo home run to score the only two Toronto runs. Andy Pettitte pitched wonderfully, but that is never enough if he gets no run support.
Meanwhile, Texas picked up a 7-1 win over the Rays to pull even in the Wild Card standings. Ian Kinsler launched the first pitch of the game for a home run, and the Rangers didn't slow down. Texas scored four runs in the third inning, including a two-run homer off the bat of Elvis Andrus. Texas added on a run in each the fifth and ninth innings.
It turns out all that run support wasn't desperately needed. The Rays managed just four hits altogether, as Alexi Ogando pitched five innings and gave up only a lone run on two of those hits. The Rangers bullpen did the rest.
The Orioles kept pace with a late victory over the AL East-leading Red Sox. Boston took the lead early with a Dustin Pedroia homer in the first inning. Xander Bogaerts brought home Jarrod Saltalamacchia with help from a Nate McLouth error to push the lead to two after four innings.
The Orioles cut the lead to one on a Brian Roberts' RBI groundout in the fifth, then tied it up on Chris Davis's 51st home run of the season. With the game looking destined to go into extras, Danny Valencia tripled to lead off the top of the ninth, ending Koji Uehara's streak of perfection. Baltimore took advantage, bringing in the run with a sacrifice fly. Jim Johnson closed out the game to finish the come-from-behind win.