NEW YORK – The Yankees are back in the postseason, though not the way they wanted.
Aaron Hicks doubled home the winning run in the 11th inning, and New York clinched an A.L. wild card with a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.
Rookie manager Aaron Boone will lead the Yankees into the winner-take-all Oct. 3 wild-card game, most likely against Oakland. The Yankees began the day 1 1/2 games ahead of the Athletics for home-field advantage and are 53-27 at home this season.
Hicks and Luke Voit homered in the second inning, but the Orioles tied the score with runs in the third and the fifth off Lance Lynn.
Tampa Bay, third in the wild-card chase, lost at Toronto as the ninth inning was about to start in the Bronx. The Yankees finally broke through after Didi Gregorius singled off Paul Fry (0-1) starting the 11th.
Giancarlo Stanton struck out. Hicks fouled a pitch off his left foot, then took a ball. He lined a low, inside slider down the left-field line, and Gregorius sped home, sliding in headfirst ahead of shortstop Jonathan Villar’s relay throw. Gregorius spread his arms wide, and the Yankees poured out of the dugout to celebrate.
New York sprinted to a 54-27 record at this season’s halfway point and was ahead of Boston by percentage points in the quest for its first A.L. East title since 2012, but the Yankees slowed in the second half as Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gregorius and Aroldis Chapman got hurt. The Red Sox clinched their third straight division crown by beating New York on Thursday.
Still, at 95-59 the Yankees matched their most wins since 2012 and equaled their season high of 36 games over .500. They will make their 54th postseason appearance – 21 more than any other team.
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