Game 163 is in the books and the Rays are still alive.
David Price went the distance in tonight’s tiebreaker game against the Rangers to secure a 5-2 victory. The Rays will advance to the AL Wild Card game on Wednesday against the Indians in Cleveland.
Price hurled 118 pitches in the complete game victory. The southpaw didn’t have his best stuff, inducing just four swinging strikes on the night, but he issued only one walk and had two key pickoffs in the first three innings of the ballgame. While he struggled with his command early on, he retired 11 out of the final 12 batters he faced. Evan Longoria did most of the heavy lifting for the offense, going 3-for-4 with an opposite-field two-run homer, a walk, and two runs scored. And fortunately, the blown call in the seventh inning didn’t end up having an impact on the result of the game.
The Rays will send Alex Cobb to the mound in Wednesday’s Wild Card game while the Indians are going with rookie Danny Salazar. The winner of the game will advance to face the Red Sox in the ALDS on Friday.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.