By JOHN DORN
We're getting to the point in the season where the loss column matters more than anything, and entering Tuesday with three more losses than the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees are essentially playing for their season. They lead the AL Wild Card, but since the new playoff format was installed in 2012, that position is anything but a safe bet.
Following a loss in Toronto on Monday, the Yankees sent rookie Luis Severino to the mound to stop the bleeding. And despite allowing just two runs over his six innings, typically reliable closer Andrew Miller wasn't able to shut the door -- blowing a save for just the second time this year.
Boy do I miss Mariano Rivera. Some Yankee Non-Closer just gave up a solo shot in the bottom of the night, allowing the Blue Jays to tie 3-3.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 23, 2015
So to extra innings they went. New York had lost eight of its 11 extra-inning games entering the contest, and if it wasn't for rookie Greg Bird, that clip might have gotten worse. Bird stepped up to bat in the 10th with two men on and nobody out, fired a shot over the right field fence, instantly giving the Yanks a three-run cushion -- one they needed, as Edwin Encarnacion blasted a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning to make it 6-4.
But that'd wind up being the final score, and by the end of the night, New York cut their deficit in the loss column to just two.
Yankees 6, Blue Jays 4
Around the League
BAL 4, WSH 1
Despite their recent hot streak, the Nationals still have work to do to catch the Mets in the East. And losing to the sub-.500 Orioles isn't helping. The Mets lost, too, but Washington's defeat lowered New York's magic number to six.
ATL 6, NYM 2
It was a rough night for New York on what would have been Jacob deGrom's start if he hadn't been skipped, but spot starter Logan Verrett wasn't able to man the fort. He allowed four runs over five innings, and after Tyler Clippard allowed two more in the ninth, the game was out of reach for New York.
CHC 4, MIL 0
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 23, 2015
The Central Division title may be out of reach for Chicago, now six games back, but home field advantage in the NL Wild Card Game is just two games away. Only problem: The Pirates can't stop winning. The story of the night, though, was Jake Arrieta, who became 2015's first 20-game winner.
MIN 3, CLE 1
The Indians sit surprisingly on the verge of Wild Card contention, but a few more losses to the Twins and they could see their hopes die. Now 74-75, they're 4.5 games back of Houston for the last Wild Card spot.
LAA 4, HOU 3
After a fun and exciting season, the Astros are falling fast. After spending 127 days in first place in the AL West, and holding a 5.5-game lead on Aug. 26, they're two games back of the Rangers. They currently sit in the second Wild Card position, two games up on Minnesota.
STL 3, CIN 1
Already at 95 wins on the season, St. Louis is baseball's powerhouse. Tommy Pham and Kolten Wong were responsible for the scoring on Tuesday, keeping their division lead at four games.
PIT 6, COL 3
A post shared by Pittsburgh Pirates (@pittsburghpirates) on Sep 22, 2015 at 9:41pm PDT
They may not get there, but the Pirates are keeping the heat on St. Louis in the Central. They're four back of the Cardinals, but sit two games up on Chicago for home field in the Wild Card matchup.
TEX 8, OAK 6
Texas' hot stretch continues, Mitch Moreland, Adrian Beltre and Delino DeShields drove in a pair each, turning a poor Martin Perez start into a victory.
SF 4, SD 2
ARI 8, LAD 0
SEA 11, KC 2
DET 2, CWS 1
PHI 6, MIA 2
TB 5, BOS 2