CHICAGO – Norichika Aoki tripled in the first run of the game on Friday for the Kansas City Royals, who clinched their first postseason berth in 29 years with a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
The win clinched at least a spot in the American League wild card playoff and moved the Royals to within one game of the AL Central lead following the Detroit Tigers’ 11-4 loss to Minnesota. Both the Royals and Tigers have two games left to play in the regular season.
After the game, before 27,416 at the White Sox’s U.S. Cellular Field, the Royals celebrated in big league style, by dousing and spraying each other with champagne.
“I’m so happy,” Aoki said. “The champagne fight made me feel like a kid again.
“We’ve only just clinched a playoff spot, but we have a way to go. We want to aim higher than this.”
Kansas City won the World Series title in 1985 in its last postseason appearance.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (13-11) allowed four hits and a walk, while striking out six in seven scoreless innings to earn the win.
Mariners 4, Angels 3
In Seattle, Kendrys Morales, Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley homered against Jered Weaver, and the Mariners stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Seattle right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (15-9) pitched 6⅓ innings. He allowed four hits and two runs, striking out four. He didn’t issue a walk.
Yankees 3, Red Sox 2
In Boston, Derek Jeter took the night off after his emotional final home game and watched a bunch of New York rookies beat a group of Red Sox rookies.
Athletics 6, Rangers 2
In Arlington, Texas, Josh Reddick drove in three runs, Scott Kazmir won for the first time in seven starts and Oakland moved ever so close to its third consecutive playoff appearance.
Twins 11, Tigers 4
In Detroit, Rick Porcello allowed six runs in fewer than four innings, and the Tigers lost to the Twins on a night they had hoped to clinch the AL Central title.
Indians 1, Rays 0
In Cleveland, Corey Kluber struck out 11 in eight innings, and the Indians beat Tampa Bay.
Blue Jays 4, Orioles 2
In Toronto, rookie Dalton Pompey had three extra-base hits to spark the hosts.
Toronto’s Munenori Kawasaki was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.