The Baltimore Orioles’ improbable ride continued on Friday when they hammered the two-time defending American League (AL) champion Texas Rangers 5-1 in the first ever one-game AL wildcard showdown.
For Texas, sluggers Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre were a combined 0-for-8 in the middle of the order and Japanese starter Yu Darvish went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out seven.
Fast-pitching Koji Uehara entered the game in the 8th inning and struck out all three batters he faced to retire the side.
It was a crushing end to their 2012 campaign for the Rangers who lost the AL West crown after dropping nine of their last 13 regular-season games.
Back in the playoffs for the first time since 1997, Wei-yin Chen and Baltimore now head home to host the AL East champion New York Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki in the opening game of the best-of-five divisional series on Sunday.