Grand Slam * Stats & News
Updated: September 22, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Oakland wins 2nd consecutive AL-West title; Special day for Rivera, Pettitte
OAKLAND, California / NEW YORK, New York (USA) - Oakland Athletics is the champion of the American League West Division for the second year in a row. On Sunday, the A's won 11-7 at home vs. Minnesota Twins, but became the champion in the sixth inning when Kansas City Royals defeated Texas Rangers, which therefore was eliminated for the AL West-title. That game ended spectacular, as Justin Maxwell hit a 2-out, walk-off grand slam homerun in the tenth inning, which gave the Royals a 4-0 win.

With the win, the Royals remained in the race for the Wild Card in the American League. And despite the loss, the Rangers also remain a contender for the AL-Wild Card.

In the Central Division of the American League, Detroit Tigers lost 6-3 to the Chicago White Sox, but is closing in on the title, which could come on Monday.

AL Wild Card
With one week to go in the regular season, there are currently six teams still in the race for the two Wild Cards in the American League. By winning 9-2 vs. Houston Astros on Sunday, Cleveland Indians not only won its eighth game in a row, it now also has the fourth best record. And with that, it would earn the Wild Card. Cleveland is closely followed by Tampa Bay Rays, which defeated Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Sunday and is in line for the second Wild Card-position. Following Tampa Bay is Texas, which has seven games remaining in the regular season. Kansas City, New York Yankees and Baltimore are also still in contention, but their distance to the Rays is bigger. Kansas City and Baltimore also have seven games remaining, while the Yankees have six games left.

NL Wild Card
In the National League, the suspense is also building for the Wild Cards in that league. Cincinnati Reds won 11-3 vs. rival Pittsburgh Pirates, meaning the two teams are now tied in second place in the Central Division behind St. Louis. With this position, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh both could earn a Wild Card, but they also are still in contention for the division-title. Coming weekend, the Reds and Pirates close the season against each other with a series in Pittsburgh. The only team that still has a minor chance of winning a Wild Card is Washington, which has seven games left, but is 5 1/2 games behind.

Ovations for Rivera & Pettitte
Like the Orioles, the Yankees lost on Sunday and therefore created a bigger gap with the second Wild Card-position. The Yankees lost 2-1 to the San Francisco Giants on what was a historic day in Yankee Stadium. Before the game, which was attended by almost 50.000 spectators, the Yankees honored closer Mariano Rivera, who will retire at the end of the season. The 43-year old Panamanian is the all-time save leader with 652 and initially was to retire after last season. But he then sustained an injury which ended his season and decided to come back this year. The last weeks, Rivera is honored at most fields where the Yankees are playing, including last week by rivals Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. Today, the Yankees officially retired Rivera's uniform number 42. Rivera is the last active player who wears this number, which was retired in the entire Major League in 1997 in honor of legendary Jackie Robinson. In 1947, Robinson became the first colored player to play in the Major League.

Besides the honoring of Rivera, the game had another emotional moment, as Andy Pettitte made his last regular season-start in Yankee Stadium. Earlier in the week, Pettitte also announced that he would retire after the season. The 41-year old lefthander retired the first 14 batters he faced, before walking a batter with two outs in the fifth inning. Leading 1-0 after a homerun by Mark Reynolds in the third inning, Pettitte gave up his first basehit in the sixth inning. That was an one-out homerun by Ehire Adrianza, his first in the big league.

Pettitte then retired the side again in the seventh. In the eighth, he gave up a lead-off double to Pablo Sandoval and was relieved. On his way to the dug-out, Pettitte received a standing ovation.

(September 22)

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