Red Sox use Xander Bogaerts lead-off triple to cut their deficit to 2-1 in the fifth inning

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Red Sox rookie phenom Xander Bogaerts helped the Red Sox finally get to Cardinals starter Joe Kelly in the fifth inning of Game 3. The 21-year-old hit a slicing liner to right-center, tailing away from center fielder Jon Jay. Right fielder Carlos Beltran gave chase and attempted to cut it off after it landed, but the ball skipped under his glove to the wall. Bogaerts raced around to third base with ease for a lead-off triple. Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a walk to set up runners on the corners with no outs.

As quickly as they had set themselves up with a golden opportunity, the Red Sox appeared just as eager to see it disappear. Stephen Drew struck out, meaning the Cardinals were one ground ball double play from escaping danger. They almost got it, as Mike Carp hit a slow chopper to second base, but Matt Carpenter could only get the out at second base as Bogaerts scored to make it 2-1 in favor of the Cardinals. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out on a 96 MPH fastball to end the 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.