The New York Yankees appeared headed to another devastating loss on Monday when they fell behind 5-0 early to the Minnesota Twins. But an Aaron Judge homer in the eighth inning tied the game, and Gary Sanchez knocked in the winning run in the 10th for a 6-5 victory that brought New York back into a virtual tie for the last AL wild-card spot.
The Yankees stand at 80-64 and are tied with the Boston Red Sox (81-65) for the second wild-card position.
Yankees win, Sox loss creates wild-card tie
Both teams are one game back of the surging Toronto Blue Jays (81-63), who hold the first AL wild-card position.
The Yankees went on a 13-game winning streak in late August, seemingly separating themselves from the competition. But New York then lost 12 of 15 games to erase those gains and end up in the thick of the wild-card race.
“You’ve got to enjoy the ride,” Judge said after Monday’s win. “When you’re on a roller coaster, you’ve got to enjoy it. This is the fun part of the year, so just keep riding it – and ride it through the playoffs.”
The Red Sox suffered a 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners last night, instantly eliminating their slim lead for the second AL wild card. The result also brought the Mariners (78-66) to within just two games of both the Yankees and Red Sox for the final playoff position.
“That’s a big one, especially given the standings and where we’re at,” Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger said of his seventh-inning home run.
Seattle still has faint hopes of catching the Houston Astros in the AL West, as it sits 6.5 games behind the leader. But the Mariners’ best hope lies in the wild-card race, especially now that they can make up ground directly on Boston.
The Red Sox could get a big boost this coming weekend. Boston is missing several players who are on the COVID-19 injured list. Those players are making their way back onto the roster, and there’s hope that starter Chris Sale could be back in time for a series against the Orioles that begins Friday.
Streaking Blue Jays move to top of pack
The Blue Jays have taken advantage of the struggles of their divisional foes. Toronto has put together a 12-1 record in September, seemingly able to score runs at will in recent days. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his MLB-leading 45th home run in an 8-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night — a win that sent the Blue Jays into sole possession of the first wild-card spot.
|AL Wild-Card Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Record||Odds to Make Playoffs|
|Toronto Blue Jays||81-63||-285|
|New York Yankees||80-64||-190|
|Boston Red Sox||81-65||-130|
“We know what’s at stake, we know what we’re playing for,” Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah, who tossed eight innings of shutout ball, told reporters. “Huge series right here, got to get as many as we can and keep it going.”
The Blue Jays streak has made them a -285 favorite to make the playoffs, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Red Sox (-130) and Yankees (-190) expect to duel for a wild-card spot as well, while the Mariners (+1500) remain a long shot to make up enough ground to qualify. DraftKings sees the Oakland Athletics (+1000) as a better hope to take an AL wild card, despite sitting a half-game behind the Mariners as of Tuesday.