MLB Playoff Action: Braves, A’s Finally Advance
(AP) — The Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics have ended long postseason droughts, thanks in part to the watered-down, best-of-three Wild Card Series. The Braves picked up their first postseason series victory since 2001, and the A’s picked up a series win for the first time in 14 years.
Rookie Ian Anderson was sharp in his postseason debut before the Braves completed their second straight shutout of the Reds, 5-0. Anderson struck out nine while holding Cincinnati to two hits over six innings.
Ronald Acuña Jr. had three hits for the NL East champions, including a run-scoring double in the fifth. The Braves eventually broke it open in the eighth with two-run homers by Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall.
Reds starting pitchers allowed just one run over 13 innings in the two-game sweep by the Braves, but Cincinnati failed to score in 22 innings.
The A’s were staring at a 3-0 deficit and another opening-round elimination before scoring four times in the fourth inning of a 6-4 victory against the Chicago White Sox in Game 3. Mark Canha and Matt Olson walked with the bases loaded to put the Athletics ahead after Sean Murphy smacked a two-run homer earlier in the fourth. Chad Pinder snapped a 4-4 deadlock with a two-run single in the fifth.
Oakland will take on AL West rival Houston in the Division Series.
The Dodgers also finished up their Wild Card Series.
Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 while allowing three hits over eight innings of the Dodgers' 3-0 shutout of the Brewers. Kershaw’s strikeouts were a playoff career high and the most by a Dodgers pitcher in the postseason since his mentor Sandy Koufax had 15 in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series against the Yankees.
Each run came in the fifth inning. Austin Barnes broke up the scoreless tie with an RBI single and scored on a two-run double by Mookie Betts, chasing losing pitcher Brandon Woodruff.
— Game 2 of the Cubs-Marlins game in Chicago was postponed until Friday due to the threat of rain. Miami took the opener, 5-1 on Wednesday.