Blue Jays wrap up playoff berth with win over Yankees

Barred from playing in their own ballpark this year because of COVID-19, the vagabond Toronto Blue Jays have found a home in the playoffs.

The slumping New York Yankees, meanwhile, look likely to play on the road in the postseason, where they’ve struggled all year.

Hyun Jin Ryu pitched seven shutout innings and the Blue Jays clinched their first postseason spot since 2016, beating the Yankees 4-1 Thursday night and further damaging New York’s chances of hosting a first-round series.

New York lost for the fourth time in five games following a 10-game winning stretch and remained two games behind the slumping White Sox for the fourth seed. Chicago lost 5-4 at Cleveland, its fifth straight defeat.

“We’ve got to get it rolling again, obviously, if we’re going to get to where we want to go,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I’m confident we can do it.

New York went 21-7 at home this season but was 11-18 on the road. Boone said he’s not concerned about that split even as a potential road playoff series looms next week.

“We’ve got to get ourselves in order and start playing really good baseball if we’re going to give ourselves a chance,” Boone said.

Toronto secured at least an AL wild-card spot and ensured its eighth trip overall to the postseason. The Blue Jays had endured three losing campaigns since their previous playoff trip, going 67-95 last season.

“I’m just so proud of my club and everything we’ve gone through all year,” second-year manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Canada’s federal government refused to allow games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre this season, citing the closed Canada-U.S. border and the travel risk associated with the pandemic. Stuck on the road to start the season, the Blue Jays eventually ended up at their Triple-A ballpark, Sahlen Field in Buffalo, but didn’t gripe about their fate.

“They never complained,” Montoyo said. “They had their mind set on getting to this moment right now.”

Blue Jays players embraced after Rafael Dolis struck out Aaron Hicks to end it, donning blue T-shirts that said “Respect Toronto.”

“This is something we want to make an every year thing,” infielder Cavan Biggio said. “For us, we’re happy, we’re excited we’re able to put ourselves in this position, but this is only the start of hopefully something special for a long time.”

The Blue Jays trail the Yankees by two games for second place in the AL East. Both teams have three games remaining. Toronto hosts Baltimore in Buffalo this weekend while the Yankees host the Marlins.

New York failed to hit a homer for the fourth straight game, matching its longest streak since June 2016. It’s the first time the Yankees have failed to homer in a four-game series since doing so at Texas in July 2013.

“I’m concerned with the way we’ve played recently,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. “Any time you’re not playing your best baseball and the postseason is right around the corner, something needs to be corrected rather quickly.”

New York loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez flied out to deep center, where Randal Grichuk made a leaping catch at the wall.

“It’s good to see him get a really good swing off in a big spot,” Boone said of Sanchez. “Just unfortunately, that short.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered for Toronto, his eighth.

Ryu (5-2) scattered five hits, walked two and struck out four. Luke Voit and Hicks hit back-to-back singles to begin the sixth but Ryu struck out Giancarlo Stanton, got Gleyber Torres to fly out, and retired Gio Urshela on a groundball.

“He’s an ace and he did what an ace does,” Montoyo said.

The left-hander lowered his ERA from 3.00 to 2.69.

Dolis got four outs for his fifth save in six chances.

The Blue Jays finished 5-5 in their 10-game regular season series against the Yankees.

Cardinals 4, Brewers 2

Dylan Carlson hit a two-run homer and an RBI double to power host St. Louis past Milwaukee, allowing the Cardinals to take sole possession of second place in the National League Central, 2 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers lost for the third time in four games to fall 4 1/2 games off the division pace and one game out of the NL’s second wild-card slot. The Cardinals and Brewers will play four more games over the next three days.

Kwang Hyun Kim (3-0) held the Brewers to one run on five hits in five innings. Andrew Miller, the fifth Cardinals pitcher, closed out the game to earn his fourth save. St. Louis’ Yadier Molina hit two singles to reach the 2,000-hit plateau for his career.

Astros 12, Rangers 4

In Arlington, Texas, Alex Bregman finished a single shy of the cycle and Houston broke free of its recent offensive doldrums by bashing four home runs in a blowout win over Texas.

Bregman finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs. He delivered a run-scoring triple in the first inning, a two-run home run in the fifth and a double in the sixth. His fifth home run of the season, a 404-foot shot to left, drove in Michael Brantley and extended the Houston lead to 7-0.

The Astros reduced their magic number to clinch a postseason berth to one game. Texas starter Lance Lynn (6-3) allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 12 hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5⅔ innings. Houston’s Cristian Javier (5-2) gave up three runs and five hits in 5⅔ innings. He struck out six and walked one.

Marlins 4, Braves 2

In Atlanta, Starter Pablo Lopez and the Miami bullpen produced a win over the Braves as the Marlins trimmed their magic number to two to clinch a playoff berth.

Lopez (6-4) pitched five scoreless innings and allowed two hits and two walks while striking out six.

The Braves were limited to four additional hits by a parade of relievers — Yimi Garcia, James Hoyt, Richard Bleier, Brad Boxberger and Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler pitched the final two innings to earn his 11th save. The Braves committed four errors.

Rockies 5, Giants 4 (11)

In San Francisco, Raimel Tapia lofted a sacrifice fly in the top of the 11th inning, leading Colorado past San Francisco.

Daniel Bard (4-2) pitched 2⅔ scoreless innings to earn the win. Jairo Diaz pitched the 11th for his fourth save, getting Austin Slater to bounce into a game-ending double play with the tying run at third. Trevor Cahill (1-2) took the loss.

The Giants, who had their two-game win streak snapped, fell into the second National League wild-card position, a half-game behind the idle Cincinnati Reds.

Mets 3, Nationals 2

In Washington, David Peterson tossed a career-high seven innings and earned the win in the final start of his rookie season as New York staved off elimination from postseason contention by beating the Nationals.

Robinson Chirinos homered and collected all three RBIs for the Mets, who are three games behind the Marlins in the NL East and 2½ games behind the Giants for the second NL wild card.

Peterson (6-2) allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out four. He finished the season by going 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his final three starts. His six wins lead the Mets as well as all rookies.

Pirates 7, Cubs 0

Dodgers 5, Athletics 1

Orioles 13, Red Sox 1

Royals 8, Tigers 7

Indians 5, White Sox 4

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Source : Baseball – The Japan Times

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