The Texas Rangers became the first team to qualify for the 2023 Major League Baseball playoffs, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 on Wednesday to sweep the American League wild-card series.
Elsewhere in Wednesday’s quadrilateral matchups, the Minnesota Twins (vs. Toronto Blue Jays), Arizona Diamondbacks (vs. Milwaukee Brewers) and Philadelphia Phillies (vs. Marlins) can book their spot in the LDS with a win.
Follow today’s quadruple header with live updates from USA TODAY Sports:
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The Blue Jays fail to score with the bases loaded
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth, Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar grounded Matt Chapman into a 6-4-3 inning pitch.
This was the second straight inning in which the Blue Jays had two runners in scoring position and couldn’t run — after the fifth inning ended with a run.
Through six innings, Toronto left eight runners on base.
Leading 2-0 in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third, Twins pitcher Sonny Gray singled Vladimir Guerrero Jr. from second base to end the inning.
With Bo Bichette (who was 2-for-2) at the plate, center fielder Carlos Correa put the tag on Guerrero — with an instant replay review backing up the home run call.
Minnesota can win its first playoff series since 2002 with a win Wednesday next It snapped an 18-game postseason losing streak in Game 1
The Twins score after a questionable pitch change
In a move that will be heavily criticized, the Minnesota Twins took advantage when Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider removed starting pitcher Jose Berrios after 47 pitches in the fourth inning.
In came reliever Yusei Kikuchi, who promptly gave up a single, a walk, and an RBI single to Carlos Correa with the bases loaded. The Twins added a second run on a fielders choice to take a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.
The Texas Rangers eliminated the 99-win Tampa Bay Rays from the postseason in easy fashion.
Led by homers from outfielders Adelis Garcia and Evan Carter in the fourth inning, the Rangers eliminated the Rays with a 7-1 win in Game 2 of the American League wild-card series.
The Rays offense went silent in the postseason, being held scoreless in Game 1 and not making a run until the seventh inning of Game 2.
The attendance in the second match was not much better than the first match, as the official attendance for today’s elimination match reached 20,198. Up from 19,704 for the first match.
The Rangers will face the Orioles in the ALDS starting Saturday in Baltimore.
Toronto had four hits in the first three innings against Minnesota’s Sonny Gray but failed to score, leaving five runners on base. Shortstop Bo Bichette had two of those hits for the Blue Jays. Of those blows.
The Twins didn’t fare much better in the first third of Game 2, as they tallied three hits against Blue Jays right-hander Jose Berrios, without scoring a run.
Curtis Mead’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning snapped Tampa Bay’s 33-inning scoreless streak dating back to last October.
The MLB record is 34 scoreless innings, with the Los Angeles Dodgers going without a run in the postseason from 1966-74.
Heading into the top of the eighth, the Rangers are 7-1 and need just six more teams to eliminate the Rays and advance to the American League Division Series.
Texas got RBI doubles in the top of the sixth from Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, pushing their lead to 7-0 — just 12 points away from eliminating Tampa Bay in the AL Wild-Card Series.
The Rays offense has been put on probation heading into the postseason. Entering the sixth inning of Game 2 of their Wild Card matchup with the Texas Rangers, the Rays had been held scoreless in their last 32 postseason outings dating back to last October.
This is it Most consecutive scoreless innings in the playoffs Since 1991-92 the Pirates had a 29-inning scoreless streak.
Who is Evan Carter Rangers “The Complete Count”?
Evan Carter, who made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers on September 8, was a key factor in both wild card games against the Tampa Bay Rays.
In Game 1, he became the youngest player in MLB history to reach base safely four times in his first postseason appearance, according to the Rangers. At 21 years and 35 days old, Carter doubled twice, walked two, and scored one of Texas’ four runs.
In Game 2, he hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead.
The outfielder received praise for his ability to control the strike zone. In spring training, he drew seven runs in 18 plate appearances, earning the nickname “Full Count Carter” for his knack for working deep counts.
Carter had a rapid rise to the majors, spending just three years in the minors after being selected in the second round of the 2020 draft. In 23 games in the majors, he batted .307 and drew 12 walks in 75 plate appearances.
After three scoreless innings, the Rangers scored four in the top of the fourth, capped by Evan Carter’s homer off Zach Eflin with two outs.
Adolis Garcia led off the inning with a home run and Josh Jung hit an RBI triple with two out before the 21-year-old Carter lofted a single over the right field wall.
Carter played in 23 games as a starter in the regular season, impressing with five homers, 12 RBI and a .1058 OPS in 62 at-bats. In the first game on Tuesday, he went 2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks. Carter walked in his first trip to the plate on Wednesday and with the home run, he reached base in his first six games of the postseason.
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Rangers right fielder Adelis Garcia drilled a home run to leave Zach Eflin to open the scoring.
Garcia, an All-Star this season, unleashed an epic bat flip after giving Texas a 1-0 lead — hoping to clinch the wild-card series with a win in Game 2 on Wednesday.
It was the first career playoff game for Garcia, who set career highs with 39 homers and 107 RBI in 2023.
In the first game of the day, Rays starter Zach Eflin worked around a pair of doubles — Corey Seager in the first inning and Josh Jung in the third — to keep the Rangers off the board.
Texas is 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position through three innings — including Marcus Semien who scored on a double play with runners on first and second and no outs in the third. Evelyn hit Robbie Grossman with homers on first and third to end the frame.
Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi has five strikeouts through three innings.
Rangers at Rays
Blue Jays in Twins
Front row from last night The Wild Card Brewers-Diamondbacks game was full of recognizable characters.
Lawrence Levy, known as Marlins Man, was sitting between them M&M’s Sweater Guy — a well-known fixture at Chicago White Sox games — and Front Row Amy, an avid Brewers fan and season ticket holder who has been sitting in the front row at American Family Field at most games for more than a decade.
Amy is known for attending Brewers games, recording every pitch in her scorebook. She also became known for her game day attire and the fact that she stays put throughout the game and never seems to leave her seat.
Amy quickly became a sensation online and at Brewers games, where other fans would routinely approach her and ask for a photo of her. – Claire Reed
The Diamondbacks extend GM Mike Hazen through 2028
MILWAUKEE – The Diamondbacks, who are one win away from advancing to the NL Division Series, have extended Mike Hazen’s contract, Lock in their general manager on a guaranteed deal through 2028 with a club option for an additional year, according to sources.
Hazen was already under contract through next year with a team option for 2025. This five-year contract replaces his old one. The sources said that this was being worked on sometime during the past two weeks. -Nick Pecoro
Twins rookie Royce Lewis ‘made for this’
MINNEAPOLIS – When Royce Lewis walked to the plate Tuesday, listening to the thunderous applause, but he actually stopped before he stepped into the batter’s box. He looked around at Target Field at the sellout crowd of 38,450. He looked toward the crowd above the Twins dugout. He turned and looked toward the fans sitting on the third base side above the Toronto Blue Jays dugout. Lewis, 24, stepped in and, after six pitches, instantly made history as the youngest player in franchise history to hit a postseason homer. In 100 years.
He came to bat again in the third inning and returned again, this time to right field, becoming the third player in baseball history to hit home runs in his first two postseason plate appearances.
Just like that, Lewis will forever be known as the man who personally ended the longest postseason losing streak in North American sports, a one-man crew destroying in the Twins’ 3-1 win over the Blue Jays.
“I had to take it all in,” Lewis said, standing quietly in front of his locker after most of his colleagues had left. “I got this advice from [Twins Hall of Famer] Joe Mauer. In the first game, I had to do that. You never know when you’ll be in that situation.
“This is the moment I dreamed of. I thought of Kirk Gibson’s Homer. I thought of the line. I thought of everything.”
The Phillies lead the Marlins in the opener, a win with a ring-finger endorsement
PHILADELPHIA – One night, their bustling stadium at the base of South Broad Street officially became the toughest playoff field in baseball history, as the Philadelphia Phillies became both… Overshadowed by the Miami Marlins and also lost in the hysteria of Citizens Bank Park themselves.
You could see it when Nick Castellanos hit a game-winning two-run home run in the fourth inning off Miami Marlins outfielder Jesus Luzardo, stepped up to second and hit a pinch-hit home run.
Only for the middle finger to appear, fortunately for the FCC and parents watching at home, the ring finger.
“I just found myself doing it,” Castellanos said through the fog of the Phillies clubhouse, which was the scene of a postgame smoke show. “And I thought, ‘Did I just do that? It just showed up.’
In October of this year, they were just getting started. But Tuesday night, with Win 4-1 Over the Marlins in Game 1 of their NL Wild Card Series, they recorded the first of what they hope will be 13 homers en route to the championship.
– Gabe Luck
How does the MLB Wild Card Round work?
the The best-of-three wild card format is in its second season. The format was changed in 2022 from a single-game sudden-death format that had been in place since 2012 with the exception of the 2020 season affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Six teams from both the American League and the National League Qualified for the postseason, including the three winners in each league. The three wild card teams in each league are the teams with the best records that have not won their division.
The winners of the first two divisions and those with the best records in each league receive a bye and do not have to play in the wild card round. One big advantage of the higher seed in this wild card series is that it can host all three games.
The Rangers-Rays winner faces Baltimore in the Division Series, the Twins-Blue Jays winner plays Houston, the Phillies-Marlins winner starts in Atlanta, and the Brewers-Diamondbacks winner gets a matchup with the Dodgers. – Associated Press
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