Justin Upton, Paul Maholm an unbeatable combination for Braves

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Justin Upton went 4-for-4 and homered yet again while Paul Maholm pitched one-hit ball for seven innings in the Braves’ 2-0 defeat of the Marlins on Monday.

Upton leads the majors six homers, one more than Seattle’s Mike Morse, and he also chipped in with his second double tonight. He scored both runs for the 6-1 Braves.

Maholm, meanwhile, was Upton’s equivalent on the mound, pitching shutout ball for his second straight start. He struck out seven Marlins tonight, giving him 13 K’s in 12 2/3 innings on the season. Since arriving in Atlanta in a trade with the Cubs last summer, he’s struck out 72 batters in 81 1/3 innings, a rate that dwarfs anything he did previously with the Pirates. Before joining the Braves, he averaged 5.6 K/9 IP. Since, he’s at 8.0.

In all, the Braves allowed just two hits tonight, singles from Placido Polanco and Rob Brantly. Giancarlo Stanton walked three times and struck out once in his four plate appearances. He’s hitting .174 and has yet to drive in a run this season.

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.