ST. LOUIS (USA TODAY) -- The American League
East remains undecided entering the final day of the regular season, but
Raul Ibanez's heroics Tuesday brought the New York Yankees to the brink
of the division title.
The Yankees, who had been winless in 58
games this season when trailing in the ninth inning, were saved when
Ibanez hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to tie the score and a
run-scoring single in the 12th to win it 4-3 against the Boston Red Sox,
preserving New York's one-game lead on the Baltimore Orioles.
Earlier Tuesday, the Orioles shut out the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0, with Chris Davis hitting a homer for the sixth consecutive game.
the Yankees beat the Red Sox again today or the Orioles lose at Tampa
Bay, the Yankees will win the AL East, forcing the Orioles to play the
one-game wild-card playoff against the Oakland Athletics or Texas
Rangers on Friday for a spot in the division series.
If the Orioles win and the Yankees lose today, they will meet in a one-game playoff for the AL East title Thursday in Baltimore.
important that winning the division matters," Yankees general manager
Brian Cashman said. "The addition of the wild card (in 1995) was
tremendous, but it evolved that the division championship became
irrelevant. It's good the way it is. But I'm hoping not to be the wild
The AL West will be decided today when the Rangers and Athletics, who are both tied for first, play at 3:35 p.m. ET.
race is over in the National League, with the St. Louis Cardinals
getting the final wild-card spot, thanks to a Los Angeles Dodgers loss
to the San Francisco Giants.
Yet even the NL Central champion
Cincinnati Reds, battling the Washington Nationals for home-field
advantage, have no idea who or where they'll be playing in the first
"It's really unsettling," said Reds manager Dusty Baker,
whose team beat the Cardinals 3-1 on Tuesday, keeping St. Louis'
wild-card magic number at one with the Dodgers playing late against the
visiting San Francisco Giants. "We're a team without a destination."
Detroit Tigers, winners of the AL Central, and the Giants, winners of
the NL West, know they will open the playoffs at home Saturday. They
just have no idea who they're playing.