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Orioles snatch first playoff spot in 15 years with victory over Red Sox

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles clinched their first playoff berth since 1997, extending their winning streak to four by beating the Boston Red Sox 6-3 Sunday as Nate McLouth, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis hit solo homers.

With three games left, the Orioles (92-67) are equal with the New York Yankees for the AL East lead and already have 23 more wins than a year ago. Baltimore and New York both clinched no worse than a wild card when the Los Angeles Angels lost to Texas 8-7 Sunday night.

New York begins a season-ending series against visiting Boston on Monday night, and the Orioles are at Tampa Bay

Joe Saunders (3-3) allowed three runs, eight hits and no walks in 7 1-3 innings, and Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his 50th save.

Boston (69-90) has lost 90 games for the first time since 1966. Zach Stewart (0-2) gave up five runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings.

Yankees 9, Blue Jays 6 In Toronto, Eduardo Nunez drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly, and the Yankees overcame a 5-1 deficit and clinched their 17th playoff berth in 18 years.

Toronto took a 5-1 lead in the fifth against Phil Hughes, but the Yankees closed in the sixth on a run-scoring pitch by Henderson Alvarez and tied it an inning later on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice fly, Robinson Cano's RBI double against Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup's run-scoring wild pitch.

Boone Logan (7-2) got the final two outs of the seventh. Darren Oliver (3-4) was the loser.

Angels 5, Rangers 4

Rangers 8, Angels 7 In Texas, Mike Napoli homered twice and drove in six runs as Texas clinched its third straight playoff berth. Napoli's second homer in the nightcap was a go-ahead three-run shot in the third.

Two-time defending AL champion Texas (93-66) can be no worse than a wild card. Los Angeles (88-71) trails Oakland (91-68) by three games for the AL's second wild card with three games left.

After blowing a save in the opener by allowing Torii Hunter's two-run double with two outs in the ninth, Joe Nathan worked the ninth in the nightcap for his 37th save. Derek Holland (12-6) got the win.

Los Angeles took a quick 4-0 lead in the nightcap that Ervin Santana (9-13) quickly squandered.

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 McIlroy makes mad dash for Ryder tee-off 
Nate McLouth #9, of the Baltimore Orioles, celebrates with J.J. Hardy #2 after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday, Sept. 30. (AFP)

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