(The Sports Xchange) - The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-8 on Saturday, bolstered by two home runs from Jose Bautista.
Russell Martin also homered for the Blue Jays (89-65), who won their third in a row after entering Saturday with a four-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the American League East.
The Blue Jays learned Saturday that they had clinched the second American League wild-card spot even though the Los Angeles Angels won Friday.
It will be the Blue Jays’ first appearance in the postseason since 1993, when they won their second successive World Series.
The Blue Jays celebrated more than planned after the game.
”We had a little talk before the game that we weren’t going to do this, do a big celebration,“ Bautista said, ”even though getting into the playoffs means a whole lot, especially for our fan base, which has been waiting for so long.
“We want to win the division and that’s still the goal. But we just got in here and ... the emotion, the excitement, everything took over, and we just started celebrating.”
Pitcher David Price said, “Any time you put yourself in the postseason like these guys have, you’ve gotta celebrate.”
The Blue Jays struck for five runs in the first inning -- on a three-run home run by Bautista, the 38th of the season by the right fielder, and a two-run blast by Martin, the career-best 22nd for the Toronto catcher.
The Rays scored four runs in third, three earned.
A leadoff double by Kevin Kiermaier, a walk by catcher Rene Rivera and a single by left fielder Brandon Guyer loaded the bases.
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. hit a long single to right that scored Kiermaier. Rivera scored and Souza took second when second baseman Cliff Pennington was charged with a throwing error on the relay.
Second baseman Logan Forsythe delivered a sacrifice fly and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera hit an RBI single.
The Blue Jays scored two in their half of the third on doubles by shortstop Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar, a walk to Pennington and an RBI double by left fielder Ben Revere.
Kiermaier hit his 10th homer of the season to cut the lead to 7-5.
The Blue Jays extended the lead to 9-5 in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Goins and an RBI double by Pillar, who had three hits in the game.
Bautista greeted right-hander Kirby Yates with his 39th homer of the season to lead off the eighth.
Editing by Julian Linden