Indians bang out 14 runs in first two innings against Astros

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We knew that the 5-11 Astros, with a -20 run differential, were bad — but not this bad. The 5-10 Indians, with a -21 run differential themselves, bashed Astros starter Phil Humber for eight runs while recording only one out in the first inning. Dallas Keuchel relieved Humber after ten batters and recorded the final two outs of the first inning without any further damage, but it was only the beginning.

The first inning went: fly out, single, single, RBI double, two-RBI double, walk, three-run home run, double, single, two-RBI double, ground out, ground out.

The Indians weren’t done, though. Keuchel returned to the hill for the second inning and received a beating himself as the Tribe posted a six spot.

The second inning went: single, walk, error, RBI single, strikeout, RBI single, RBI walk, RBI ground out, RBI single, RBI double, pop out.

To the Astros’ credit, their offense didn’t quit at the sight of a 14-run deficit, as they took three runs back in the bottom half of the second inning on an RBI ground out by Ronny Cendeno and a two-run home run by Brandon Barnes.

Carlos Santana immediately homered to lead off the third, so it looks like there’s no end in sight for the Indians’ offense.

Of the 2,430 regular season games played last year, a team scored 15 runs in 24 one of them (1%). In 2011, the feat occurred 34 times, and 32 times in 2010.

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.