New York could still lock up the division title if Tampa Bay loses to the Los Angeles Dodgers later Wednesday night. The Yankees would have been assured a playoff spot if Cleveland had lost, but the Indians beat Detroit 3-2 in 10 innings.
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton stung the ball in his return from injury and CC Sabathia got an emotional send-off in his final regular-season start in the Bronx, yet New York dropped to 99-54 after entering the night tied with Houston for the majors’ best record.
New York hasn’t won the AL East since 2012, the third-longest drought for the club since divisions were formed in 1969.
David Fletcher loaded the bases in the sixth on an infield single when Voit hesitated at first base on a slow roller, and Ottavino (6-5) blundered two batters later. Pujols hit a big one-hopper toward the mound, and Ottavino missed high and wide trying to toss the ball home. Michael Hermosillo scored to make it 3-2.
The reliever has been mostly praised for his first year in the Bronx, but a string of poor outings and continued control problems threatens to be derail the Yankee bullpen in October.
Ottavino has now allowed a run in four straight appearances and has issued a career-high 39 walks this season.
Aaron Judge hit a tying, two-run homer for New York in the third, his 24th during an injury-shortened season.
Stanton played just his 10th game this year and first since straining the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee June 25. The 29-year-old slugger lined a double into the left-center gap leading off the second inning, socked a 114.3 mph groundout in the fourth and struck out in the sixth before being replaced in the seventh to manage his workload.
Giancarlo ropes a double in his first AB
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