The Wild Card games start the MLB postseason every October. The National League saw a matchup between the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals, while the American League saw the Tampa Bay Rays play the Oakland Athletics.
The Nationals mounted an eighth inning comeback to beat the Brewers 4-3, moving on to play the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rays were in control of the A’s all night, taking an early lead in the first and second innings that would never be relinquished. The Rays will face the Houston Astros, who are the betting favorites to win the World Series.
Throughout the entirety of the NL Wild Card, the Brewers were in complete control. Heading into the bottom of the third inning, the Brewers were leading the Nationals 3-0 behind quality hitting from catcher Yasmani Grandal and first baseman Eric Thames.
After Trea Turner of the Nationals homered in the bottom of the third inning to bring the score to 3-1, the game remained a pitching battle until the eighth inning, when the Nationals offense took control.
The Brewers were clinging to a 3-1 lead at that point, with momentum still on their side. Closer Josh Hader entered the game for the Brewers. Hader has been a top-tier closer for the Brewers the past few seasons, so a save here would be unsurprising.
The Nationals were able to get the bases loaded, allowing for Juan Soto to become the hero of the moment. Soto hit a single to right fielder Trent Grisham, whose fielding error allowed three runs to score, placing the Nationals in the lead 4-3. The Brewers were given hope, as Lorenzo Cain singled with one out in the top of the ninth inning. After two fly-outs, the Nationals won to advance to the NLDS.
Unlike the Nationals, the Rays held the lead for the full nine innings against the A’s. Yandy Diaz started the madness early, homering in the top of the first inning. In the top of the second inning, Avisail Garcia homered to score himself and Matt Duffy. Diaz decided to strike again, homering in the top of the third inning for his second homerun of the night. The only run scored by the A’s would come in the bottom of the third inning, when Ramon Laureano hit a sacrifice fly to score Marcus Semien. A Tommy Pham homerun in the top of the fifth would bring the final score to 5-1.
The Rays will move on the play the Astros, while the Nationals will play the Dodgers. The MLB division series games will start tonight with the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves starting their series, while the Nationals, on 24-hour rest, begin their series with the Dodgers.