Blue Jays clinch playoffs The Canadian Press
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., homered and ace Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 4-1 on Thursday night to wrap up their first post-season berth in four years.
Toronto survived a nervous eighth inning as New York scratched out a run off reliever Anthony Bass, who was pulled after loading the bases with his third walk of the frame.
Rafael Dolis came on and got pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez to fly out on a ball that Randal Grichuk caught against the wall in left-centre field for the third out.
Dolis returned for the ninth and when he fanned Aaron Hicks for his third strikeout of the inning, the party was on at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field.
The Blue Jays celebrated near their dugout, with many players putting on T-shirts that read “Respect Toronto.”
“We keep believing in ourselves,” said manager Charlie Montoyo. “It’s awesome. I’m so proud of this group. I’m the happiest guy right now.”
The Blue Jays (30-27) were in control of their playoff destiny after entering play with a magic number of one. The two teams that had a chance of catching Toronto — the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners — were idle.
Regular-season play continues through Sunday and the playoffs will begin Tuesday. All first-round series will be bestof-three matchups.
It’s possible that the Blue Jays could still move up in the seeding order, but they are good bets to stay in the No. 8 position. If the season ended Thursday night, Toronto would meet the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.
Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the playoffs. Division winners will be seeded Nos. 1-3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.
Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scores as New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka reaches to make a tag, on a double by Alejandro Kirk during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday.