Buster Posey gets Giants on the board with solo shot

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The Giants’ offense was dormant through the first five innings of this NLDS Game 1 despite the early exit of one Johnny Cueto. But it woke up in the sixth.

MVP candidate Buster Posey hit a leadoff homer over the left field wall, then Hunter Pence smoked a Mat Latos pitch that was caught by Drew Stubbs on the warning track in dead center. Brandon Belt followed with what would have been a bloop single had Ryan Ludwick not made a full-extension diving catch. Gregor Blanco then reached on a bunt single before Brandon Crawford flew out to shallow left.

The Giants only got one run out of the active frame, but they finally made Latos work a bit. And that feels like progress in this particular game. The Reds lead 3-1 as we move to the top of the seventh inning.

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

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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.