Aaron Judge celebrating a Game 162 win. Oct 3, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) is doused with water after his game winning RBI single to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 and clinch a wildcard playoff spot at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Through eight innings in Game 162 Sunday, the New York Yankees only recorded one hit and no runs against the Tampa Bay Rays, and the chances of a Yankees’ loss and a bunch of AL wild card tiebreaker scenarios seemed high. But in the bottom of the ninth, that changed. The Rays brought in new pitcher Josh Fleming, and Rougned Odor hit a lead-off single off him. Tyler Wade came in to pinch-run for Odor, and he advanced to second on a fly to center from Gleyber Torres.

An Anthony Rizzo single then led to Wade taking third (and Rizzo going to second after the throw to hold Wade went slightly wide), and the Rays surprisingly chose not to walk the bases full. Andrew Kittredge came into pitch, and Aaron Judge hit a grounder that Kittredge deflected before second baseman Brandon Lowe hauled it in and threw home. But while that throw might have been in time for a force out, it wasn’t in time for catcher Mike Zunino to make the tag on Wade:

That RBI single from Judge (seen above getting an ice shower afterwards) means the Yankees are now into the playoffs without having to play an extra game. If the Red Sox win against the Nationals, the Yankees will go on the road to face the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card game Tuesday. If the Red Sox fall, then there will be a Boston-Toronto tiebreaker Monday.

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About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.