It's back-to-back for the Boston Red Sox, returning to the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1915 and 1916.
"We're happy, but not content," shortstop Nomar Garciaparra said last night after a 6-2 victory in Chicago over the White Sox in a doubleheader opener clinched a postseason berth.
Pedro Martinez, the 23-game winner, didn't pitch, but he came out of the dugout and did a nifty cartwheel near the mound after Chicago's Mike Caruso lined into a game-ending double play.
The Red Sox high-fived their way off the field, but later, Chicago won the second game, 4-2, to earn a split.
In the second game, Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Tom Gordon (0-2), making his first appearance since coming off the disabled list two days ago.
"We have attained something and it's very special. We haven't lost sight of where we are. The team ahead of us is outstanding," Boston Manager Jimy Williams said.
"We know what lies ahead. But we want to relish the moment. We are a playoff team, one of four [in the AL]. It's a good feeling."
Despite losing their top power hitter, Mo Vaughn, to the Anaheim Angels through free agency, the Red Sox (91-67) managed to not only reach the playoffs but also might win the AL East. They still have an outside shot to overtake the New York Yankees (95-62), who were rained out in Baltimore.
MARINERS 7, RANGERS 3: Edgar Martinez and Charles Gipson drove in two runs each to end host Texas's five-game winning streak. Juan Gonzalez hit his 38th homer and Royce Clayton got his 1,000th career hit for the Rangers, one victory shy of a franchise record 95-win season.
BLUE JAYS 6, DEVIL RAYS 2: Kelvim Escobar tied a season high with nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings, and Tony Fernandez had a pair of RBI singles in St. Petersburg, Fla.
ROYALS 5, INDIANS 2: Jose Rosado (10-14) pitched a four-hitter to end Cleveland's four-game winning streak and slow the visiting Indians' bid for the best record in the AL. The Indians are 96-62, a half-game ahead of the Yankees for the best mark in the AL and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
ANGELS 7, ATHLETICS 4: Oakland, eliminated from the AL wild-card race earlier in the night, gave up three runs in the eighth inning and lost on the road.
TIGERS 6, TWINS 3: Dave Mlicki (14-12) pitched seven innings, and Karim Garcia and Frank Catalanotto homered in Minneapolis.