The New York Yankees stumbled into home-field advantage in the AL wild-card game, falling to the Baltimore Orioles 9-4 Sunday after a loss by Houston made the outcome meaningless.
New York will enter Tuesday's winner-take-all game against the Astros with little positive momentum after being swept in three games by Baltimore and losing six of their final seven regular-season games. the Yankees fell behind 7-1 in the fifth inning and stranded 11 runners.
New York was 4 for 31 with runners in scoring position in closing series, including 1 for 12 Sunday.
After clinching a playoff berth on Thursday, New York needed just one win at Camden Yards to assure itself a game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. That victory never came, but that's partly because manager Joe Girardi tried to balance the importance of winning against resting his starters and relievers.
"It's tricky," Girardi said before the game. "I need to think about certain people."
Fortunately for the Yankees, Arizona's 5-3 victory over Houston ended the Astros' bid to host on Tuesday. Had New York (87-75) and the Astros (86-76) finished tied, Houston would have won the tiebreaker for home field based on head-to-head record.