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:
The @Yankees walk it off into the postseason! #CLINCHED pic.twitter.com/uz2yfV0q9O
— MLB (@MLB) October 3, 2021
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.
[MLB on Twitter]