Aces wild: Playoffs open with Astros-Yankees, Cubs-Pirates

Beltre’s two-run, opposite-field homer in the fifth inning gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead, their first of the game.


Hamels, who joined the Rangers when they were seven games out of first place, delivered the title Sunday.

The Rangers will begin a five-game AL Division Series at Toronto on Thursday, which means the bullpen will get a few much-needed rest and manager Jeff Banister can set up the rotation he wants. The same day, AL West champion Texas visits Toronto. It was the opener of the final four game series against the Los Angeles Angels Their season started with the ace of their staff, Yu Darvish out for the season with the Tommy John surgery.

The Rangers uncorked champagne in celebration inside the home club house, and the usually stoic Choo, smiling and soaking in the bubbly party, said he’s been waiting for this moment for a long time.

Adding salt to the Angels’ wounds: Houston lost to Arizona on Sunday.

Reds 3, Pirates 1: Cincinnati prevented Pittsburgh from clinching home-field advantage in the N.L. wild-card game by snapping a 13-game skid.

Seattle left fielder Seth Smith hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Mariners to a 3-2 win over the Oakland A’s. If not for Hamels, the Rangers don’t reach the post-season.

The Rangers entered the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead and piled on six runs to seal the victory, capped off by an Elvis Andrus two-run double. He went 2-for-3 with two runs scored Sunday.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw became the first major league pitcher in 15 years to strike out 300 batters in a season during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres. With that loss, the Angels were bounced out of postseason play as the Houston Astros took the last American League wildcard position.

But those visions of a momentum-fueled run through October were dashed amid a flurry of walks, fielding miscues and hits during a 37-minute seventh inning in which the Texas Rangers scored six runs against five Angels relievers en route to a 9-2 victory in Globe Life Park. From September 1, the Angels won 20 of their final 31 games, pushing the very brink of the postseason.

The Angels have been staying alive with wins in the past two ball games, but Sunday, they couldn’t quite finish it off falling one game short of the playoffs.

All they did was go 33-17 in their last 50 games.

I felt comfortable and confident”, said Hamels, who struck out eight with two walks.

You can now make the argument that the Rangers acquiring Cole Hamels is as big as the Blue Jays acquiring Troy Tulowitzki and David Price and the Mets acquiring Yoenis Cespedes. “It didn’t matter how many runs an opposing team was up”.

Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella hit a two-out single to score the tying run and the go-ahead run in the ninth inning.


“Everybody was just doing whatever they could to win”, Fielder said.

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