Video: Alex Blandino delivers walk-off two-run double for Nicaragua in the WBC qualifier

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
2 Comments

Nicaragua entered the 10th inning of Thursday’s World Baseball Classic qualifier game trailing 4-3, but Reds prospect Alex Blandino sent his team home happy with a walk-off two-run double against pitcher Enorbel Marquez.

Darrel Campbell started the rally with a leadoff single, and Jairo Beras singled up the middle to set the table for Blandino. Blandino drove a 1-1 offering from Marquez to deep center field, hitting the warning track just past the outstretched glove of Dominique Taylor. Campbell scored easily, and Beras slid in headfirst just ahead of the relay throw home.

[mlbvideo id=”556840583″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

On Friday, Nicaragua will play the winner of Thursday’s game between the Czech Republic and Mexico.

Blandino, 23, was rated the Reds’ eighth-best prospect heading into this season according to MLB Pipeline. He got his first taste of Double-A competition last year, batting .235/.350/.374 in 138 plate appearances with Pensacola.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.