Triple Crown Watch: Albert Pujols vs. Joey Votto

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Last night Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 in a loss to the Pirates while Joey Votto went 4-for-7 with two homers and four RBIs in a wild extra-inning win over the Giants, so here’s how the Triple Crown picture looks right now:

BATTING AVERAGE
JOEY VOTTO        .326
Carlos Gonzalez   .320
ALBERT PUJOLS     .319
HOME RUNS
ALBERT PUJOLS      33
JOEY VOTTO         31
Adam Dunn          31
RUNS BATTED IN
ALBERT PUJOLS      92
JOEY VOTTO         90
Carlos Gonzalez    84

As noted earlier this week, Omar Infante still lurks as a possible roadblock to the batting title for Pujols or Votto. After going 1-for-5 with a homer last night Infante is now hitting .347 and he’s inching closer to the plate appearances needed to qualify.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.