Wilson Ramos may not have gotten a grand slam on Tuesday night, but Andrew McCutchen did. The Pirates’ outfielder had come to the plate with the bases loaded 97 times over the course of his nine-year career and never hit the coveted four-run homer.
The Pirates loaded the bases with two outs against Orioles starter Kevin Gausman to bring McCutchen to the plate. After working the count 2-1, McCutchen drove a 95 MPH fastball out to center field for his first career grand slam, extending his team’s lead to 6-0.
McCutchen later hit a three-run home run to right field. He has boosted his slash line to .278/.362/.487 along with 28 home runs, 87 RBI, 92 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases in 635 plate appearances.
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.