Mets to host NL Wild Card Game, Blach damages Dodgers
New York Mets on Saturday sealed home advantage for the National League Wild Card Game as Toronto Blue Jays closed in on the 2016 MLB postseason.
James Loney's go-ahead homer in the top of the sixth sent the Mets on their way to a 5-3 win over the Phillies, the reigning NL champions booking a showdown with either the Giants or the Cardinals.
San Francisco, who occupy the second NL Wild Card berth, defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0, Ty Blach throwing eight shutout innings on just his second Major League start.
The Giants will retain a Wild Card spot with a victory on Sunday or a loss for St. Louis, who needed Jedd Gyorko's two-out solo shot in the bottom of the eighth to snatch a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ezequiel Carrera's sacrifice fly helped Toronto secure a narrow 4-3 win over American League East winners the Boston Red Sox, who could yet give up home advantage to Cleveland in the AL Division Series following that loss.
The Indians went a half-game ahead in that race after a three-run eighth saw them beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3.
The Blue Jays can secure the top AL Wild Card berth by winning on Sunday and are guaranteed at least a tiebreaker game.
Baltimore Orioles missed a chance to secure one of the two AL Wild Card spots, Brad Bach giving up a go-ahead two-run single to Austin Romine to break an eighth-inning tie in a 7-3 loss to New York Yankees.
Should the Jays and Orioles finish level, Toronto will host the Wild Card Game courtesy of their victory in the season series between the teams.
Detroit went down 5-3 at Atlanta Braves and another loss for the Tigers on Sunday would end their AL Wild Card hopes.
Seattle Mariners are out of the running after going down 9-8 in a thrilling extra-inning loss to Oakland Athletics.
Washington Nationals overcame Miami Marlins 2-1 to book home-field advantage for the NL Division Series against the Dodgers.
Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays were among the other winners, as Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Brewers and Houston Astros also enjoyed victories.
Late inclusion goes long
The Mets' match-winner Loney, a short-notice replacement for the sore Lucas Duda, seized his chance with a go-ahead homer projected to have landed 426 feet away, his biggest for two years.
Dodgers fail to crash the Blach party
After rookie Blach comprehensively out-duelled Clayton Kershaw on just his second start, Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts admitted his team "just couldn't figure him out". This kid could have a bright future ahead.
Dodgers (91-70) at Giants (86-75). This is it - after 67 seasons in the broadcast booth for the Dodgers, Vin Scully will call one final game.
Plenty of baseball fans will tune in for the MLB Network broadcast, and don't be surprised if ESPN goes live to Scully's final call in the booth.
Fittingly, the Dodgers are facing their greatest rivals, the Giants.