Rays stave off elimination with late rally

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Things appeared bleak when Ian Kinsler homered in the top of the seventh to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead and knock Matt Garza out of the game, but the Rays came back Saturday night and won Game 3 in Texas on the strength of some timely hitting and a fine performance from their bullpen.
Tampa Bay went on top in the eighth with a rally that started on a one-out double from Dan Johnson. Carlos Pena singled in pinch-runner Desmond Jennings to tie the game off Darren Oliver. The Rangers then went to Darren O’Day, who struck out B.J. Upton for the second out of the inning. Oddly, that was it for O’Day. Even though manager Ron Washington was already deep into his pen, he decided to go to Neftali Feliz in the tie game. Feliz, who was also shaky in Game 1, walked Jason Bartlett and then gave up a go-ahead single to John Jaso before getting out of the inning.
After that, there was more stellar work from the Tampa Bay bullpen and finally some power from the Rays. Joaquin Benoit, pitching against his former club, worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena homered in the top of the ninth to make it a 6-2 contest and sap the drama from the bottom of the ninth. The Rangers though did get a solo homer for Nelson Cruz before the game ended at 6-3.
The Rangers will again try to finish off the Rays on Sunday, when they’ll throw right-hander Tommy Hunter. The Rays are set to counter with rookie Wade Davis.

CC Sabathia wants to pitch beyond 2017

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
Rich Gagnon/Getty Images
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CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.

Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”

The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”

Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.

Red Sox lose on Mark Teixeira’s walkoff grand slam, but still clinch AL East

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Dustin Pedroia #15 and pinch runner Marco Hernandez #41 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after both scored in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 28, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.

A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.

For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.

This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.