Orioles down Blue Jays to bolster playoff pursuit


Washington (AFP)

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one hit in 6 2/3 scoreless innings as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Blue Jays 4-0 to tie Toronto for the first American League wild card berth.

The Orioles took the rubber match of the three-game series in Toronto after the Blue Jays took the opener. Baltimore's victory eliminated the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees from wild-card contention.

The Yankees' already dim hopes were extinguished despite a 5-1 victory over the Red Sox in New York.

"It's not what we wanted," said New York manager Joe Girardi, whose Yankees have missed the post-season for the third time in four seasons.

"It's difficult. There were some good things that happened but again we fell short and we didn't have a successful season."

CC Sabathia pitched 7 1/3 effective innings, finishing his eighth season with the Yankees by allowing one run and four hits. He struck out the first four hitters, eight overall and threw 105 pitches.

One of Sabathia's strikeouts came against David Ortiz, who was 0-for-1 with a walk in his final game against the Yankees.

Ortiz, retiring after this season, was lifted for pinch runner Brock Holt after drawing a walk in the fourth and exited to mild applause, mostly from the Red Sox fans in the crowd after getting a standing ovation before his first at-bat.

The Yankees had honored their longtime nemesis in a brief ceremony -- one that Ortiz said he appreciated, even if it felt strange to be feted at Yankee Stadium.

That was just one oddity on a night that saw the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates play to a rare tie.

They were level at 1-1 in Pittsburgh after 4 1/2 innings when rain washed out the remainder of the Pirates' final home game of the season.

Since the regular season ends Sunday, the suspended game will not be resumed and goes into the books as the first Major League Baseball tie since the Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds finished 2-2 on June 30, 2005.

The St. Louis Cardinals kept their bid for a National League wild card berth going in controversial fashion, rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Reds on Yadier Molina's two-out run-batted-in double in the bottom of the ninth inning.

With Matt Carpenter on base, Molina belted a 2-0 pitch to left field and the ball appeared to bounce off a sign behind the wall -- which would have made it a dead ball. But the ball was ruled in play and Carpenter scored from first.

The Cardinals pulled within two games of the idle New York Mets for the National League's first wild-card spot and within a half-game of San Francisco for the second wild card spot.