New York (AFP) – Mark Teixeira’s walk-off grand slam lifted the New York Yankees to a 5-3 win over Boston, but didn’t stop the Red Sox from clinching the American League East division title.
The Red Sox were assured of their eighth division crown when the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 3-2 in Toronto.
That was before Red Sox closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel took the mound in the ninth with Boston up 3-0.
Kimbrel loaded the bases, allowing a hit and three walks — one of which scored a run — before he was pulled for Joe Kelly, who recorded two outs.
Red Sox fans in the crowd were already anticipating the win when Teixeira drove an 0-1 pitch over the center field fence for his 15th home run of the season and the win that kept the Yankees’ slender playoff hopes alive.
“That ending doesn’t take away from the year-long work our guys put in,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “So it might not be as you draw it up, but to say that (losing) takes away from the work would be shortsighted.”
In Toronto, Baltimore pinch-hitter Kim Hyun-Soo of South Korea hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning off Roberto Osuna to lift the Orioles to victory, moving them within one game of the American League wild card-leading Blue Jays.
Baltimore are one game ahead of the Detroit Tigers for the second AL wild-card berth with four games to play.
It was the sixth homer of the season for Kim.
“You knew they were going to come at him,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’re lucky to have a guy hitting .300 come off the bench. We felt like he’d give us a good at bat.”
The Orioles victory had further repercussions, officially eliminating the reigning World Series champion Kansas City Royals from playoff contention.
The Royals’ title defense ended despite a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.