Labor Day grill: Pirates take over first place in NL Central, A’s tie up AL West, Rays’ slide continues
NOTE: There is a full slate of games on Labor Day, including 13 afternoon start times, many of which will have major pennant race implications. Cliff Corcoran will have a look at how the day’s action impacted the races around baseball; updated standings are through today’s relevant action:
AL Wild Card
A’s/Rangers: 79-58 (.577), 5 1/2 games ahead of third-place Orioles, 3 1/2 games ahead of second-place Rays
Rays: 75-61 (.551)
Orioles: 73-63 (.537), 2 games behind
Yankees: 73-64 (.533), 2 1/2 games behind
The Rays’ tumble continued Monday night as they lost 11-2 to the Angels, shedding another game off their lead for the second American League wild-card spot in light of earlier wins by the Orioles and Yankees. The Rays have now lost eight of their last nine, three of them to the sub-.500 Angels, whom they play three more times this week, and their lead for the AL’s final playoff spot is down to just two games. The Rays will activate Matt Moore to start Tuesday night’s game, one night after they had to put outfielder Sam Fuld on the mound in the eighth inning despite having an expanded roster.
The Orioles’ win, meanwhile, came against the Indians, knocking Cleveland, which has now lost six of its last seven, into fifth place in the wild-card race, 3 1/2 games out.