Outfielder Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers trail the St. Louis Cardinals by two games and the Cincinnati Reds by 1 1/2 games for the second playoff berth from the NL Central and are one game behind for the final playoff spot after a loss Thursday in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The Toronto Blue Jays became the 11th MLB team to clinch a spot in the 2020 postseason with a win over the New York Yankees. The St. Louis Cardinals also kept pace in the National League race with a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Toronto's 4-1 win over the Yankees Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y., clinched the franchise's first appearance in the playoffs since 2016.
The Blue Jays had to play their home games this season in Buffalo because officials didn't approve for MLB games to be played in Toronto due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic-shortened, 60-game regular season ends Sunday.
"I'm just so proud of my club and everything we've gone through all year," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters.
"We kept believing in ourselves. I'm so proud of this group. I'm the happiest guy right now."
Five spots remain in the 16-team field for the playoffs, with one spot left in the American League and four vacancies in the National League. The 2020 MLB postseason begins Monday.
The Blue Jays join the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Yankees as the American League teams to clinch spots in the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres have clinched playoff berths in the National League.
Blue Jays pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu had a sensational start in Thursday's victory. Ryu allowed just five hits in seven shutout innings to earn his fifth win of the season.
First baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. paced the Blue Jays with a 3 for 4 line at the plate. Guerrero hit his eighth home run of the season in the second inning.
Blue Jays center fielder Randal Grichuk had two hits in the win. Designated hitter Alejandro Kirk drove in two runs for Toronto.
Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery allowed six hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings. First baseman Luke Voit and third baseman Gio Urshela had two hits apiece in the loss.
The Yankees (32-25) clinched a wild card spot in the playoffs on Sunday. The Blue Jays (30-27) won four of their last five games to clinch their wildcard berth.
The Blue Jays are on track to play the Rays in the wild card round. The Yankees are on track to face the White Sox to open the postseason.
Cardinals, Brewers stay tight
The St. Louis Cardinals strengthened their grasp on a playoff spot with a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The Cardinals (28-26) hold the No. 5 seed in the National League. The Brewers (27-29) are two games behind the Cardinals and 1 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the National League Central's second playoff spot.
The Brewers also trail the San Francisco Giants by one game for the final playoff spot in the National League.
Cardinals starter Kwang Hyun Kim allowed five hits and one run in five innings to spark St. Louis' latest win. Dylan Carlson also hit a two-run, go-ahead homer in the fourth inning of the victory Thursday in St. Louis.
Carlson and veteran catcher Yadier Molina each had two hits in the win.
The Cardinals are on pace to face the Padres in the wild card round. They battle the Brewers in a doubleheader at 5:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. EDT Friday at Busch Stadium.
Miami Marlins players celebrate with a team photo on the mound after defeating the New York Yankees 4-3 and clinching a playoff birth in New York City on Friday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo