A’s bullpen finally has an off night

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Oakland’s bullpen entered Tuesday having gone nine straight games without allowing a run, dating back to Sept. 23. That streak snapped quickly in Game 4, with the bullpen surrendering five runs in two innings in the 8-6 loss.

Sean Doolittle allowed the first two runs, one coming on Victor Martinez’s disputed homer. He hadn’t allowed a run since Sept. 10. Ryan Cook and Brett Anderson combined to allow the other three in the eighth.

It was kind of a surprise to see Anderson in there in the eighth. Jerry Blevins pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings in September to finish the season with a 3.15 ERA, but he hasn’t made an appearance in the ALDS. Anderson, working in more of a long role, gave up seven runs in 12 2/3 innings in September.

The A’s will almost certainly need a bounce-back performance in Thursday’s Game 5. Bartolo Colon did pitch three shutouts in the season, but including his Game 1 loss to the TIgers, he’s pitched more than six innings just once in his last 11 starts.

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.