Blue Jays clinch 1st playoff berth since 2016

Ross Houston
September 26, 2020

Danny Jansen hit two solo homers as the Blue Jays used a 16-hit attack and eight-run sixth inning to bulldoze the New York Yankees 14-1 at Sahlen Field.

After four long years, the Toronto Blue Jays are back in the postseason. "But we've still got work to do".

Guerrero had three of Toronto's 10 hits. Starter Robbie Ray was effective over four-plus innings and A.J. Cole threw a scoreless fifth inning for the win.

Toronto's last playoff appearance came in 2016, when the club reached the American League Champion series, eventually losing to the Cleveland Indians. 1-3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.

The Los Angeles Angels, now ninth in the AL, kept their faint playoff hopes alive earlier Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres. He limited NY to a second-inning double by Gio Urshela, a third-inning single by DJ LeMahieu, singles in the sixth by Luke Voit and Aaron Hicks, and a single in the seventh by Clint Frazier.

Toronto survived a nervous eighth inning as NY scratched out a run off reliever Anthony Bass, who was pulled after loading the bases with his third walk of the frame. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez tried to pick the young slugger off first base but a wide throw went down the right-field line as Hernandez trotted home. But Ryu struck out Giancarlo Stanton, got Gleyber Torres to fly out and then retired Urshela on a groundout.

At one point in these pandemic days of disarray, barnstorming the entire 60-game schedule was a real possibility for the Blue Jays. "Saving that was huge for us". Back-to-back doubles from Biggio and Bo Bichette in the third made it a 2-0 game.

Toronto booked its ticket with a 4-1 victory against the New York Yankees on Thursday night.

The ear-to-ear smile of manager Charlie Montoyo could be seen beneath his mask as the players and donned t-shirts that blared "Respect Toronto".

NY can't catch first-place Tampa Bay in the East and has a magic number of one to secure second place in the division.

Jansen hit his second homer of the game and the sixth of the season against catcher Erik Kratz, who pitched the eighth for the Yankees (32-24). The Blue Jays went on to reach the AL Championship Series for the second straight year. Ross Stripling allowed one hit and no runs in the final four innings to pick up his first save. "He always does the three stars of the game, and he was awesome".

Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed the biggest free-agent contract in club history, was superb in his team-leading 12th start. The Yankees will also start a left-hander in Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 5.12).

"It's incredibly valuable when you have an ace like that you can run out in the first game of a series", said swingman Ross Stripling, his teammate with the Dodgers previous year and now, "and just know he's going to work his tail off for 100 pitches, keep guys off balance and give us a good chance to win Game 1, which in a three-game series is a huge deal".

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