Giants versus Mets, Blue Jays versus Orioles in wildcard games

Sun Oct 2, 2016 9:48pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The San Francisco Giants are back in the playoffs and seeking to add to their magic in even numbered years after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 to clinch a National League (NL) wildcard berth on Sunday. On the final day of the Major League Baseball regular season, contending teams made their final push to crystallize the playoff picture.

When the dust settled, the Giants, with their victory, finished with an 87-75 record, one game better than the St. Louis Cardinals, whose victory over Pittsburgh was in vain.

San Francisco needed closing dramatics to make it happen, winning its last four games and sweeping the Dodgers in the series finale.

"It would have been easy to pack it in," said Giants catcher Buster Posey, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs on Sunday. "We didn't play that well (in the second half of the season). But now we've picked up some momentum, so let's see what happens."

The Giants, who seized World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 to create a strong omen for 2016, will face fellow NL wildcard winner New York Mets in a one-game playoff in New York on Wednesday.

Right-hander Noah Syndergaard is expected to start for the Mets, while the Giants will send left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series most valuable player, to the mound.

The winner of the Mets-Giants game advances to the best-of-five NL Division Series starting on Friday against the Major League-best Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs concluded their stellar campaign with a 7-4 triumph over Cincinnati for their 103rd victory of the season.

“It’s a nice, round number. We’ll take it,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon who has helped the franchise to their highest win total since 1910.   Continued...

Oct 2, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (8), left fielder Angel Pagan (16), shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) and center fielder Denard Span (2) celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports