Yordano Ventura ejected for hitting Brett Lawrie with a pitch

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On Friday night, Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base in an attempt to break up a double play. In doing so, he injured Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar’s knee. It was, it appears, a dirty slide even if Lawrie didn’t intend to cause an injury.

Lawrie attempted to apologize to Escobar after the game, but there were some crossed wires there.

Lawrie received a lusty booing from the home crowd in Kansas City prior to his first at-bat in the top of the third inning in Saturday night’s game. He and catcher Salvador Perez had a brief chat at home plate before the at-bat began. Lawrie grounded out to third base for the first out.

In the fourth, the Athletics broke out for five runs, capped by a Josh Reddick three-run home run off of Ventura. Reddick bats directly in front of Lawrie. Ventura started off with an 85 MPH curve out of the zone, then hit Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball. Ventura was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce. Lawrie walked directly to first base.

Yohan Pino came in to relieve Ventura.

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.