During MLB’s busy wild-card series, we’ll keep you updated right here on results, must-see moments and what’s next in each matchup.
Game 2: New York Yankees 10, Cleveland Indians 9
What happened? In a heart-pounding postseason marathon, the New York Yankees outlasted the Cleveland Indians to win Game 2 of the wild-card series. With the dramatic 10-9 win, New York completes the series sweep and advances to the ALDS where they will face the Tampa Bay Rays.
There were many big moments in Game 2. The biggest was provided by American League batting champion DJ LeMahieu, who ripped a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning. How we got to that point was quite a rollercoaster ride.
New York first overcame a clunky, weather-related start and a four-run first-inning deficit. Starter Masahiro Tanaka allowed four hits in the inning, including RBI doubles by Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor. The veteran right-hander bounced back to throw three scoreless innings before Cleveland plated two more in the fifth.
As was the case in Game 1, the Yankees offense was locked in. Giancarlo Stanton got New York on the board with a second-inning home run — his second is as many games. In the fourth inning, the Yankees loaded the bases against Carlos Carrasco with nobody out. Sandy Alomar Jr., who's filling in for Cleveland manager Terry Francona, summoned James Karinchak from the bullpen to limit the damage. Instead, he immediately served up a go-ahead grand slam to Gio Urshela.
After Cleveland tied the game in the fifth, Gary Sanchez belted a two-run home run to give New York the lead again. That lead held until the seventh, when pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow laced a game-tying two-run double. Cleveland retook the lead on Cesar Hernandez’s eighth-inning single, which set the stage for New York’s ninth-inning rally.
What’s next?: One of baseball's best current rivalries will be on the big stage.
For the past three seasons, bad blood has been brewing between the Yankees and Rays. It boiled over once already this season, during a game at Tropicana Field. The intensity should increase another level — maybe 10 — with a trip to the ALCS on the line.
Tampa Bay dominated the season series, winning eight of 10 games. But none of that matters in October. It's a new ballgame in a new location, as the entire series will play out at MLB's neutral site postseason in Southern California. Game 1 is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 5.
Game 1: Los Angeles Dodgers 4, Milwaukee Brewers 2
What happened? The Dodgers, the best team in baseball this season, took the first step toward the only goal that matters for them this series — a World Series win.
Game 1 went pretty well, all things considered. It was close for a couple of innings there, but the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Wednesday night to stake a 1-0 series lead in the NL wild-card series.
The Dodgers jumped on the Brewers early, and of course, Mookie Betts was in the middle of it. He doubled in the first and scored the first run of the game. The Dodgers added another when A.J. Pollock walked.
Betts doubled in another run in the second. The Brewers made it closer with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Corey Seager gave the Dodgers a little room to breathe with a solo homer in the seventh.
What’s next? The Dodgers head to Game 2 looking to advance to the NLDS and the Brewers are just trying to live to fight another day.
For the Dodgers it’s a pretty typical scenario: They’ve got Clayton Kershaw going in a potential clincher. At least it’s not a potential elimination game, eh? The Brewers counter with Brandon Woodruff, who is their best starter at this point.
Game time is 7:08 p.m. ET with TV coverage on ESPN.
Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals 7, San Diego Padres 4
What happened? The St. Louis Cardinals are prone to postseason magic — and they made sure the San Diego Padres knew right away in Game 1 of their NL wild-card series.
The Cardinals took control of the series with a 7-4 win Wednesday, putting the Padres’ backs against the wall and amplifying the pitching injuries that followed them into this short series. Now the Padres, who entered the postseason as one of baseball’s best stories, are one game away from elimination.
The Cardinals pounced on Padres starter Chris Paddack for four runs in the top of the first inning and while the Padres put up a good fight, St. Louis controlled the entire game. Paul Goldschmidt launched a two-run homer as the third batter of the game and the Cardinals scored two more on a single from Yadier Molina and a Matt Carpenter sac fly.
The Padres chipped away — a sac fly in their half of the first, another in the second, a Tommy Pham RBI single in the third, and another sac fly in the sixth, but never got any closer than 6-4.
They had a chance to pull even in the eighth. They had runners at first and third with one out, and even got MVP candidate Fernando Tatis Jr. to the plate as the tying run, but he grounded out. Afterward, the Cardinals tacked on another insurance run in the ninth.
The Cardinals got a stellar day from rookie Dylan Carlson, who was on base four times from the clean-up spot. He had two hits and two walks, scoring twice.
What’s next? The series continues with Game 2 on Thursday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 5:08 p.m. ET and the game will air on ESPN 2.
It's do-or-die for the Padres, who are without their top two starters after Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet were ruled out of the wild-card series due to injury. They will turn to veteran right-hander Zach Davies, who is coming off an excellent season of his own. Davies went 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA over 12 starts.
St. Louis is countering with franchise stalwart Adam Wainwright. Now in his 15th MLB season, Wainwright will be making his 28th postseason appearance. This will be his 15th postseason start. The 39-year-old right-hander has been dynamite this season, posting a 5-3 record and 3.15 ERA in 10 starts.
You see this? Since Dylan Carlson is getting a lot of attention for his strong Game 1 performance, here’s an impressive catch to steal a hit from Manny Machado.
The guy who made this catch was born in 1998. pic.twitter.com/jUQINpAcMT— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 1, 2020
Game 2: Houston Astros 3, Minnesota Twins 1
What happened? The Minnesota Twins’ postseason misery continues. After losing 3-1 to the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the AL wild-card series, the Twins season has ended and their record postseason losing streak has been extended to 18 games.
Houston's Carlos Correa delivered the decisive blow in Game 2, smashing a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning. It was the first home run in the series featuring two of MLB's top five homer-hitting teams over the last two seasons.
Minnesota's offense could only muster one run against Astros starter Jose Urquidy and three relievers. The Twins scored just two runs total in what may go down as their most disappointing postseason exit in a series of heart-wrenching outcomes.
What’s next? For the fifth time in six seasons, the Astros have advanced to the ALDS. It's a little different this time, of course. Rather than traveling to Chicago or Oakland for an ALDS matchup with the White Sox or A's, they will advance to MLB's postseason neutral site. That means a trip to Southern California for them.
Another noted difference: Houston will be the first team in MLB history to advance to the LDS with a losing regular season record. Of all teams to pull that off, and of all seasons for it to happen, this is what baseball has given us. We can't imagine baseball fans will in any way be thrilled considering everything that's happened with the Astros sign-stealing scandal. But sometimes baseball is going to baseball.
You see this? Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff made history Wednesday, becoming the first player ever to make his MLB debut in a postseason game. Fittingly, he was the first Twins player to get a hit in Game 2 when he delivered a fourth-inning single.
Game 2: Tampa Bay Rays 8, Toronto Blue Jays 2
What happened? The Tampa Bay Rays made quick work of the Toronto Blue Jays, winning Game 2 of the AL wild-card series 8-2 to complete the sweep and advance to the ALDS.
The Rays took control of Game 2 early on by taking advantage of two Bo Bichette throwing errors. Hunter Renfroe delivered the decisive blow, launching a grand slam to cap Tampa Bay's six-run second inning right after Bichette's second error extended the inning. The slam ended the afternoon for Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu, who was charged with seven runs — three earned — over 1 2/3 innings.
Offensively, the Blue Jays had no answer for Rays starter Tyler Glasnow The 27-year-old right-hander allowed two runs — both on Danny Jansen home runs — over six innings while striking out eight. As in Game 1, Tampa Bay’s bullpen finished the job, throwing three scoreless innings.
What’s next? The Rays will move on to the ALDS for the sixth time in franchise history. They've lost each of their last four ALDS appearances after advancing all the way to the World Series in 2008.
The No. 1 seeded Rays will be the "home team" when they meet either the Cleveland Indians or New York Yankees in the next round. The entire series will be played at MLB's neutral postseason site in Southern California. The ALDS begins on Monday, Oct. 5.
You see this? Hunter Renfroe’s grand slam was Tampa Bay’s first ever in the postseason.
Game 2: Oakland A’s 5, Chicago White Sox 3
What happened? The Oakland A’s aren’t going quietly. After dropping Game 1 of their series with the Chicago White Sox, the A’s came out swinging in Game 2.
They won 5-3 after a dramatic ninth-inning — knotting the series 1-1 and sending this AL wild-card series into a winner-take-all Game 3 on Thursday.
Facing former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, the A’s scored four runs in the first two innings and added another in the fourth. Marcus Semien delivered a two-run homer in the second inning and Khris Davis hit a solo dinger in the fourth.
It was the opposite of Game 1, where Sox ace Lucas Giolito took a no-hitter into the seventh and dominated Oakland. It was the White Sox offense that struck often in Game 1, but they were quieted Wednesday by A’s starter Chris Bassitt, who scattered six hits across seven innings and allowed only one run.
The White Sox made things interesting in the eighth when Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer off A’s closer Liam Hendriks. Hendriks had a rough eighth and almost looked ready to shut the door in the ninth, but with two outs the White Sox loaded the bases against Hendricks and the A’s turned to Jake Diekman to save the day.
Next it was Grandal again, who had also homered in Game 1. He worked a walk to make the score 5-3 and bring Jose Abreu to the plate with the bases still loaded. The drama was high, but Abreu grounded out to second base and the A’s bullpen escaped.
What’s next? Winner-take-all Game 3 doesn't have the same ring as winner-take-all Game 7, but they have the same effect. On Thursday, the White Sox and A's will meet again to determine which team advances to the postseason neutral site to face either the Astros or Twins, and which team's outstanding season ends with immediate disappointment.
The Game 3 pitching matchup has not yet been determined. The game will air on ESPN with a 3:10 p.m. ET scheduled first pitch.
Game 1: Miami Marlins 5, Chicago Cubs 1
What happened? The Miami Marlins have taken Game 1 of the NL wild-card series, defeating the Chicago Cubs, 5-1, at Wrigley Field.
In a postseason that's been dominated by pitching duels, this was shaping up as another classic until the Marlins' bats erupted in the seventh inning. Corey Dickerson slugged a three-run home run against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks to get Miami on the board. Two batters later, Jesus Aguilar provided some insurance by ripping a two-run homer to right.
Until that point, Miami starter Sandy Alcantara did an excellent job keeping his team in the game. The 25-year-old right-hander limited Chicago to one run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four, walked three and forced seven ground-ball outs.
Dating back to the infamous 2003 NLCS, the Marlins have now won four straight postseason games against the Cubs. The last three have come in Chicago.
What’s next? The NL Central champion Cubs are already on the brink of elimination. They will fight to stay alive on Thursday afternoon in Game 2, which is scheduled to begin at 2:08 p.m. ET and will air again on ABC.
Chicago has the right guy on the hill to extend the series. Cy Young candidate Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 ERA) will finally make his postseason debut for the Cubs after missing most of the 2018 season. Miami will counter with impressive rookie Sixto Sanchez (3-2, 3.46 ERA).
The Marlins are also waiting to determine the status of outfielder Starling Marte, who according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left pinky finger following a ninth-inning hit-by-pitch.
You see this? Corey Dickerson's first career postseason home run was an absolute missile, measured at 105.4 MPH off the bat.
Game 1: Atlanta Braves 1, Cincinnati Reds 0
What happened? It was a pitcher’s duel between the Reds and Braves — until it became a historic match of zeroes. After 12 scoreless innings, the Braves finally scored in the 13th when Freddie Freeman walked it off and gave Atlanta a 1-0 win and a matching series lead.
In a matchup where the pitchers had been a top storyline, Trevor Bauer was as good as advertised and Max Fried gave the much-maligned Braves staff everything it could have hoped for in Game 1.
As the game got through 11 innings at 0-0, it made history as the longest scoreless playoff game ever. Neither team scored in the 12th either. In the 13th, the Reds blew a chance with the bases loaded and one out. The Braves then started the bottom of the 13th with two singles and a fielder’s choice, setting up Freeman’s walk-off single.
Early on, pitching was the story. Fried threw six shutout innings, striking out five, while Bauer was magnificent through 7 2/3 innings. He struck out 12 and allowed only two hits. It was the kind of postseason pitching duel we haven’t seen since 2016:
Trevor Bauer and Max Fried are the first opposing postseason starters to both pitch 7+ scoreless innings since Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game— David Adler (@_dadler) September 30, 2020
What’s next? With the Braves taking a 1-0 lead in the series, the two teams will meet again Thursday in Atlanta — with the Reds looking to even it up and Braves looking to move on to the next round.
The Reds have to think the pitching matchup leans in their favor. They’ll send Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.21 ERA) to the mound while the Braves counter with Ian Anderson (3-2, 1.95). Anderson, 22, has been impressive since getting called up in August, but this will be just his seventh career start. Bullpens could play a factor too, as the Braves used seven relievers in Game 1.
First pitch is at 12:08 p.m. ET with TV coverage on ESPN.
You see this? Show the kids this great execution from the Braves on cutting down a runner at third base.
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