ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – Masahiro Tanaka had another poor outing in his final start before the playoffs.
Tanaka gave up four runs and six hits over four-plus innings in the New York Yankees’ 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
“It just comes down to the mechanics,” Tanaka said through a translator. “I wasn’t able to locate my pitches the way I wanted to.”
New York’s lead over Oakland for home-field advantage in the AL wild-card game on Oct. 3 was cut to 1½ games, with the Yankees holding the tiebreaker.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone hasn’t decided whether Tanaka, J.A. Happ or Luis Severino will start against the A’s.
“A lot of people ask me that, friends, family, all that, and honestly I have no idea,” Boone said before the game.
New York rallied for four runs in the ninth against Sergio Romo, who struggled to get four outs for his 24th save.
“They’re tough. They’re talented,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Aaron Judge hit a bases-loaded RBI single before Luke Voit hit a two-run off the center-field wall that Mallex Smith nearly caught. Judge held up, forcing Voit to only reach first. After Giancarlo Stanton had a run-scoring infield single, Romo retired Tyler Wade on a flyout and Miguel Andujar on a popout.
“I’m proud of the way the guys were fighting,” Judge said. “Games like that will help us down the stretch and the postseason.”
Tanaka (12-6) was coming off a four-inning start last Thursday in which he allowed five runs and eight hits during an 11-6 loss to Boston.
“Regardless of how I pitched the last two games, it’s something that’s out of my control, so I guess I don’t really have an opinion on that,” Tanaka said of the wild-card game.
Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier was hit by Tanaka’s pitch in the first and left two innings later with what X-rays determined was a hairline fracture of the right foot. The center fielder made a running catch on Brett Gardner’s drive during the second.
Kiermaier missed 57 games this season with a torn right thumb ligament.
“What a way for my year to end,” Kiermaier said. “That’s my 2018 in a nutshell.”
Angels 3, Rangers 2
In Anaheim, Shohei Ohtani delivered a tiebreaking homer in the eighth, sending Los Angeles to a victory and a three-game sweep of Texas.
Ohtani had an early RBI single before he connected off Rangers reliever Chris Martin (1-5), his former teammate with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. The rookie went the opposite way for his 22nd homer of the season, matching his career high from the 2016 season, bouncing it off the top of the left-field wall. He finished 2-for-4.
“A lot of my at-bats have been good. I’ve been learning a lot,” Ohtani said.
“(Martin) takes command (on the mound). I saw him pitch in a game (in the majors) for the first time. It won’t happen this year but if I have another chance to face him next year I’ll do my very best.”
Taylor Ward also homered for the Angels (78-81), who need three more victories in their season-ending series with Oakland to avoid having three consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1992-94.
Athletics 9, Mariners 3
In Seattle, Matt Olson hit a grand slam that capped a six-run fifth, Khris Davis added his major league-leading 47th home run and Oakland routed the hosts.
With the score 3-3, Nick Martini hit an RBI single that chased Felix Hernandez (8-14), who made his first appearance since gaining American citizenship this week. Marcus Semien added a run-scoring single against Chasen Bradford before Olson’s drive to right-center.
Padres 3, Giants 2
In San Francisco, Travis Jankowski had three hits, including his fourth home run, and San Diego edged the Giants.
Freddy Galvis added two hits, and Wil Myers had a sacrifice fly to help the Padres win their final road game of the season. San Diego finished 35-46 away from Petco Park and is 29-49 at home.
Cubs 7, Pirates 6 (10)
In Chicago, shortly after their playoff spot was assured, the Cubs topped Pittsburgh on Albert Almora Jr.’s single with two outs in the 10th.
NL Central-leading Chicago clinched its fourth straight postseason appearance when Milwaukee beat St. Louis.
Brewers 2, Cardinals 1
In St. Louis, Milwaukee booked its first playoff spot since 2011 by ensuring at least a spot in the NL wild-card game, helped when a rookie Cardinals pinch runner fell on his way to the plate.
Jhoulys Chacin pitched five shutout innings and Travis Shaw hit a pair of RBI singles to help the Brewers completed a three-game sweep.
Red Sox 19, Orioles 3 (1st)
Orioles 10, Red Sox 3 (2nd)
In Boston, Red Sox starter Chris Sale struck out eight over 4⅔ innings in his final tuneup for an expected start in the AL Division Series opener before Baltimore salvaged a split of the day-night doubleheader.
In the opener, Boston handed the Orioles a franchise-record 112th loss. Sale left after giving up Adam Jones’ go-ahead, RBI double that made it 3-2 in the fifth. He threw 92 pitches, allowing three runs and four hits.
In the opener, J.D. Martinez had three of Boston’s season-high 22 hits, including a three-run homer that brought his major league-leading RBIs total to 127. The Orioles (46-112) broke the franchise loss mark set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns, who went 43-111.
David Price (16-7) settled down after an early stumble in his final tuneup before the playoffs. He allowed three runs — all in the second inning — six hits and three walks, striking out six before leaving with a 10-3 lead after five. Price is expected to start Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the New York Yankees or Oakland.
Rafael Devers had four hits and six RBIs, including two homers, and Mookie Betts had two hits to raise his major league-best batting average to .346.
Nationals 9, Marlins 3 (7)
In Washington, Bryce Harper was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the rain-shortened game that many expect was his last at Nationals Park as a Washington player.
Harper can become a free agent at season’s end. The storm arrived as Harper stood in the on-deck circle while the last out of the seventh was recorded.
Rockies 14, Phillies 0
In Denver, hard-throwing German Marquez started with eight straight strikeouts to match a modern-era big league record, and Colorado routed Philadelphia to pad its lead for final NL final wild-card spot.
David Dahl homered for the third straight game, and the Rockies went deep four times in all as they extending their winning streak to six.
Blue Jays 3, Astros 1
In Toronto, the Blue Jays gave outgoing manager John Gibbons a winning home sendoff against Houston.
After getting the final out, closer Ken Giles gave the ball to Gibbons and the crowd rose for a standing ovation.
Mets 3, Braves 0
In New York, Jacob deGrom was dominant in what likely was his final pitch for the NL Cy Young Award, throwing eight stellar innings for the Mets and leaving with a major league-best 1.70 ERA.
DeGrom (10-9) made his final regular-season start, striking out 10 and allowing just two singles against NL East champion Atlanta. He retired the final 20 hitters after allowing a single to Johan Camargo.
Indians 10, White Sox 2
In Chicago, Shane Bieber remained perfect on the road with six scoreless innings, Francisco Lindor led off the game with a home run and Cleveland pounced the White Sox.
Bieber (11-5) improved to 7-0 on the road, setting a single-season record with most road wins without a loss by an Indians pitcher. The 23-year-old rookie has yet to lose a road game in 11 career starts.
Royals 6, Reds 1
In Cincinnati, rookie Heath Fillmyer struck out a career-high nine, Adalberto Mondesi tripled, stole two bases and scored twice, and Kansas City beat the Reds to wrap up its road schedule.
Whit Merrifield, who went into the game tied for the American League lead in hits and leading in stolen bases, extended his season-high hitting streak to 16 games with a third-inning single. He also stole two bases. Alex Gordon tacked on a solo home run.
Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 2
In Phoenix, A.J. Pollock slugged a three-run homer and Arizona dropped Los Angeles to second place in the NL West.
The Diamondbacks chased Ross Stripling (8-6) with three runs in the second inning and Pollock hit his three-run homer in the fifth for a 6-2 lead.
Zack Greinke (15-11) overcame a shaky start to allow two runs and strike out six in six innings. Socrates Brito belted his first big league homer in two years and David Peralta hit his 30th of the season in Arizona’s final home game.
Twins 11, Tigers 4
In Minneapolis, Johnny Field homered twice, Jorge Polanco hit a bases-loaded triple and Minnesota beat Detroit.
Tyler Austin also homered and Willians Astudillo had three hits for the Twins. Christin Stewart tripled and drove in two runs for the Tigers.