Bryce Harper crushes first career grand slam for 100th career homer

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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper joined the 100-homer club in style, blasting his first career grand slam to right field off of Braves starter Julio Teheran in the bottom of the third inning on Thursday. The salami gave the Nationals a 4-1 lead.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: Harper hadn’t hit a grand slam in his 33 previous opportunities, though he still had a .912 OPS with the sacks full.

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Harper, at 23 years and 181 days old, is the eighth-youngest player to reach 100 career homers. He’s also only the third National to hit 100 homers, joining Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond.

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.