Clinches, The Captain, and even a no-hitter -- there was plenty of drama on the final day of the regular season.
Throughout the 162-game Major League Baseball marathon, the numbers keep piling up -- the hits, the strikeouts and everything else between the lines. For some, the sums make history, from setting yearly league standards to lofty career milestones.
In the season finale, in what was arguably the most important start of Felix Hernandez's career, he retired 16 of 17 hitters before exiting after just 68 pitches and taking the AL ERA crown with him.
Relief swept over the visitors' clubhouse at Globe Life Park on Sunday afternoon following the A's playoff-clenching victory over the Rangers, and it was none more apparent than on the face of Adam Dunn, who is in the postseason for the first time in his 14-year career.
First baseman Justin Morneau clinched his first National League batting title on Sunday. It is the ninth batting title in Colorado history, by the seventh different player. Morneau gave the Rockies their third batting champ in the last five years.
It was no accident when the A's plotted their rotation for the final two weeks of regular-season play that Jon Lester lined up for a potential start in a one-game playoff.
Clayton Kershaw threw 32 pitches in a simulated game Sunday, and the left-hander said he's on pace to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals on Friday.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said finding a manager is his first order of business this offseason. Interim manager Tim Bogar, Triple-A manager Steve Buechele and pitching coach Mike Maddux will be interviewed, as well as a handful of candidates from the outside the organization.
With the A's needing a win or a Mariners loss to punch their ticket to the American League Wild Card Game, Sonny Gray delivered a shutout of the Rangers for a 4-0 victory on Sunday at Globe Life Park.
On the last afternoon of his big league career, Derek Jeter received one more sendoff from the Red Sox and several fellow captains of the Boston sports scene, paying their "RE2PECT" prior to the last game of the regular season.
The Cardinals beat the D-backs, 1-0, Sunday behind a handful of plug-in players that were a part of manager Mike Matheny's last-minute switcheroo once a Pirates loss eliminated any meaning from the outcome of Game 162. Win or lose in their regular-season finale, the title of National League Central champs could not be plucked away from the Cardinals.
It ended on a high chopper to the left side of the infield, and Derek Jeter ran hard down the first-base line, just as he has done countless times before. He reached safely, without a throw, and then motioned to the dugout that it was time to go. The Yankees' captain legged out an RBI infield single in his final at-bat on Sunday afternoon in the third inning. Jeter completes his career with 3,465 hits, sixth all time, and with a lifetime batting average of .310.
Hunter Pence led the crowd in the team's "YES" celebration, in which the dugout celebrates home runs by moving up and down and pointing one finger to the sky. With Pence as their leader, the sellout crowd at AT&T Park did the chant in unison.
The NL Central-winning Cardinals will renew their fall rivalry with Dodgers, this time in an NL Division Series that starts Friday in Los Angeles with Adam Wainwright opposing Clayton Kershaw.
Less than a week ago, Nationals rookie slugger Steven Souza Jr. said he would like to improve his skills in the outfield. He put that into action on Sunday, making a diving catch in left-center for the final out of Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter against the Marlins.
Derek Jeter said goodbye the way we always figured he might. That is, he did his job. Isn't that the thing that defined him for 20 seasons? When he takes a deep breath and reflects on all of it, he's sure to look back and take pride in always being part of a great whole, a team.
Sunday was a captivating capper to a Major League season that kept us guessing all the way until the final outs were registered.