Two MLB playoff berths undecided as Rays rip Yankees

New York (AFP) –


Brandon Lowe smashed three home runs to power the Tampa Bay Rays over the New York Yankees 12-2 on Saturday, keeping Major League Baseball's last playoff spots up for grabs.

On the penultimate day of the six-month regular season, New York's home loss kept the Yankees from clinching one of two undecided American League wildcard playoff berths.

The Boston Red Sox hoped to clinch a wildcard spot but needed a victory at Washington and losses by Seattle and Toronto.

The Canadian club ensured that wouldn't happen by thrashing visiting Baltimore 10-1, keeping Toronto in the playoff chase to the final day.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Atlanta and St. Louis have already sealed National League playoff berths while Tampa Bay, Houston and the Chicago White Sox have grabbed AL playoff spots.

The Giants-Dodgers race for top spot in the NL West Division will come down to the final day of the season.

A Los Angeles loss Saturday night would have clinched the title for the Giants, but the Dodgers routed Milwaukee 8-3 to get within a game of San Francisco.

The Giants now control their own destiny. A win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday at Oracle Park and the Giants will finish with a franchise record 107 wins and win the NL West.

The Yankees missed a chance when the Rays delivered a blowout defeat at Yankee Stadium.

Lowe's three-run homer to right field gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead over the Yankees in the first inning.

Anthony Rizzo answered for New York with a solo homer in the first.

But Lowe blasted another three-run homer off Yankees starting left-hander Jordan Montgomery in the third inning and Mike Zunino followed with a solo homer for a 7-1 Rays lead and New York replaced Montgomery with lefty reliever Lucas Luetge.

Gio Urshela's triple in the fourth drove in Joey Gallo to pull the Yankees within 7-2 but the Rays answered in the sixth on Wander Franco's single that scored Randy Arozarena from third base.

Lowe belted a solo homer to open the seventh inning and Austin Meadows sent a three-run homer into the rightfield stands to give Tampa Bay a 12-2 lead.

At Toronto, the Blue Jays got homers from Vladimir Guerrero, Teoscar Hernandez, George Springer, Bo Bichette and Danny Jackson to rout the Orioles.