O’s, Rays clinch playoff berths with Rangers’ loss

MLB

The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays clinched postseason berths Sunday during the ninth inning of their game when the Texas Rangers lost at the Cleveland Guardians.

Texas’ 9-2 loss ensured Baltimore and Tampa Bay would each gain at least a wild card in the American League.

The Orioles edged the Rays 5-4 in an 11-inning thriller in Baltimore, touching off an on-field celebration in which the O’s players wore orange shirts that read “TAKE OCTOBER.”

The winner of the game would have wrapped up a playoff spot regardless. However, the Orioles salvaged a split in this four-game series at Camden Yards and took a two-game lead over Tampa Bay atop the AL East. Baltimore also holds the tiebreaker over the Rays.

The Orioles are postseason bound for the first time since 2016, another benchmark for a successful rebuild fueled by their excellent minor league system. Baltimore lost 110 games just two seasons ago before improving to 83-79 in 2022 and taking another big step forward this year, currently sitting at 93-56.

Tampa Bay (92-59) is in the postseason for the fifth straight year. A playoff berth seemed likely all the way back in April, when the Rays looked dominant in winning their first 13 games. They were eventually passed by Baltimore, but they’ve been able to keep winning despite losing ace Shane McClanahan to Tommy John surgery. Wander Franco, Tampa Bay’s star shortstop, has been on administrative leave while authorities in the Dominican Republic investigate him for alleged relationships with minors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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