Royals cut Mariners’ lead for last AL wild card to 3 games

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Brady Singer pitched seven strong innings to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 5-1 victory over Seattle on Friday night, cutting the Mariners’ lead for the final AL wild-card spot to three games.

Playing without All-Star rookie center fielder Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners lost for the sixth time in eight games. Rodriguez was placed on the 10-day IL with a lower back strain shortly before the game.

With the Orioles’ 6-0 win over Houston, Seattle’s lead over Baltimore for the third wild-card spot shrank to three games. Both clubs have 12 games remaining in the regular season.

The Mariners managed their lone run on Cal Raleigh‘s 24th homer in the second. They have scored exactly one run in five of their last seven games, all losses.

Singer (10-4), who allowed five hits and struck out eight, has won his last six decisions, and Kansas City has won each of his nine starts dating to Aug. 9.

Aided by two Seattle errors, the Royals grabbed a 2-1 lead with a pair of third-inning RBI singles by Nate Eaton and MJ Melendez.

Kansas City tacked on two more in the fifth, highlighted by Bobby Witt Jr.‘s RBI double. Witt leads all major league rookies with 56 extra-base hits.

Marco Gonzales (10-15) allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits over five innings. He has lost three straight decisions.

Vinnie Pasquantino had two hits and drove in two for the Royals, who have won four straight, their longest winning streak of the season.

TRANSACTIONS

Seattle recalled OF Taylor Trammell from Class AAA Tacoma.

UP NEXT

Mariners RHP Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.13 ERA) takes on Royals LHP Kris Bubic (2-13, 5.81).

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

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Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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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.