Clayton Kershaw got the best of nearly ever hitter on his first time through the lineup in Game 1, but by his second go-around, Alex Bregman was prepared. In the fourth inning, Bregman found a high fastball on a 1-1 count and crushed it over the left field fence, tying the game with the Astros’ first run of the night.
The 399-blast was Bregman’s third of the postseason following two knocks against Chris Sale in the ALDS. He’s just the fourth Astros player to collect a homer in the World Series, joining Jason Lane, Mike Lamb and Morgan Ensberg of the club’s 2005 World Series loss.
He also added to an unsavory postseason stat for Kershaw, who has now given up eight runs on seven dingers this month. That hardly tells the whole story, however: Kershaw has dealt 62 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, fanning 10 of 18 batters and handing out just one base hit in addition to the homer. The Astros are currently tied 1-1 with the Dodgers in the top of the sixth.
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.