By Barry M. Bloom and Brittany Ghiroli
BALTIMORE -- The Yankees secured home-field advantage against the Astros in the American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, which will be played Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN) at Yankee Stadium.
They did so despite losing, 9-4, to the Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards because the Astros also dropped a 5-3 decision to the D-backs in Phoenix.
"I've played on teams that have struggled going into the playoffs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after his team limped in by losing six of its last seven, including three games here to the Orioles this weekend. "I've played on teams that have played extremely well and you don't get it done. Tuesday's a new day and we're where we want to be. We're in the playoffs and I think the guys feel good about that."
Slugger Chris Davis, one of six pending O's free agents, homered twice in what may have been his final game as an Oriole, the second one during the eighth inning in his last at-bat. He finished with a Major League-leading 47 home runs.
"I was pretty fired up after I hit the first one. The second one, I felt like I was in shock running around the bases," said Davis, who brought the crowd to its feet multiple times and spurred "Re-sign Davis" chants.
"I can't express how much I appreciate the support of our fans. Really the last month, I've heard people when I go into the on-deck circle, go up to the plate, today was pretty awesome after the postgame interview hearing everyone cheer. And hearing the fans cheer down the first-base line today, meant a lot to me."
The Yankees have right-hander Masahiro Tanaka slated to start on Tuesday night against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel, who will be pitching on three days' rest. The winner of Tuesday's game will travel to Kansas City to open an AL Division Series against the defending AL champion Royals on Thursday.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Offensive woes continue: Brian McCann popped out to end a bases-loaded situation during the Yankees' loss in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader. In the first inning on Sunday, with two outs and runners on first and third, McCann popped out again, this time to short right, to end the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded weakly down to first with runners on the corners to end the fourth.
Davis, Wieters shine in Camden Yards finale: The pair of big names -- both entering free agency for the first time -- made sure that if Sunday is their last game with the Orioles, it was memorable. Davis homered twice, ending with a Major League-best 47, and he received an ovation as he stepped in for his final at-bat in the eighth. Matt Wieters went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Reliever Darren O'Day, another pending free agent, also tossed a scoreless eighth inning. More >
"That's a little too apropos, the last one. As it left the ballpark, I just went, 'Really?'" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Davis. "To put an exclamation point on the quality of contributions he's had. It's been fun to have a great seat to watch him. He's been very good for our city. He's really established himself here in Baltimore. I felt very honored to be part of that. It's never goodbye, it's see you later. That's the way I always approach the end of the year."
No pitching: The Yankees lost six of their last seven games, and none of the starters lasted longer than seven innings in that span. On Sunday, Michael Pineda couldn't make it through the fourth, allowing four runs on six hits.
O's end with a bang: Despite being eliminated from the postseason during their previous series, the Orioles completed the three-game sweep over the Yankees and did their best to play the part of spoiler.
"We're not giving in. It's not good enough, though. It's not good enough," Showalter said of the season. "[Finishing the season] 81-81 isn't good enough. We're trying to win. We want to be the last team standing, the last city standing, and our city deserves that."
"Every offseason, for the most part, if you're not a free agent, you think you'll be back ... but this is the first offseason where it could be anyone. I loved every second I've spent here and I loved everybody in this clubhouse, and I loved all the fans. If it ends today, it was a great time." -- Wieters
AN EMOTIONAL DAY
Showalter's mother, Lina Carrie Spires Showalter, passed away late Saturday night. She was 87.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Tanaka will look to pitch the Yankees into the ALDS when he takes on the Astros on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. The righty has faced Houston once in his career, allowing six runs on seven hits over five innings during a no-decision on June 27 at Minute Maid Park.