Eight teams started Saturday still in the 2022 postseason. After today's league division series games, that number shrank considerably.
The Seattle Mariners played their first home playoff game in more than 20 years, but they couldn't avert a sweep by the Houston Astros. And the San Diego Padres knocked out the 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers after rallying for a 5-3 victory in Game 4.
The American League Division Series matchup between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians was split after the first two games in the Bronx. But the Guardians pushed the 99-win Yankees to the brink of elimination with a walk-off win in Game 3.
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Padres win series 3-1
The Padres have slayed the "dragon up the freeway," to borrow a phrase from their owner, Peter Seidler. They won three consecutive NLDS games to eliminate a star-studded Dodgers team that dominated them throughout the regular season, and they seem to be operating at a completely different level at this juncture. They're getting solid-to-great starting pitching and playing stellar defense behind it. The back end of their bullpen is dominating. And they're stringing together timely hits, never more so than in the five-run seventh inning that produced an epic comeback on Saturday night.
Perhaps just as important, they're playing with an extreme level of confidence. Eliminating the Mets and Dodgers, two teams that combined to win 212 games during the regular season, will do that. Now they'll have home-field advantage in an NLCS showdown against the similarly hot Phillies. And given the energy at Petco Park these past two nights, that could be a major lift. -- Alden Gonzalez
San Diego's first lead of the game
Padres tie things up
Trayce Thompson flashes the leather
TRAYCE THOMPSON! pic.twitter.com/u4jNsnu5mL— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 16, 2022
Dodgers strike first
Freddie clutch! pic.twitter.com/Lk6PZKQ8wJ— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 16, 2022
Some pregame news
Congratulations to Cara and Will Smith on the birth of their beautiful baby girl who was born this morning. Both mom and baby are doing well.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 16, 2022
Guardians lead series 2-1
Game 3 takeaways
It might seem impossible to win without going big on offense in the postseason, but don't tell that to the plucky Guardians. The Yankees hit three homers, including a 449-foot moon shot by struggling slugger Aaron Judge. But the Guardians kept blooping pitches into the outfield and looping little liners to the opposite field -- and before you knew, it added up to some real offense. The Yankees tried to close it out with a combination of Wandy Peralta and Clarke Schmidt, but Cleveland kept blooping and looping until the bases were loaded for frequent postseason hero Oscar Gonzalez, who singled softly through the middle, scoring two runs for a walk-off win in the ninth inning as a sellout crowd at Progressive Field set the grandstand shuddering. It turns out a slingshot offense actually can get it done in October, and when it does, it's awfully fun to watch. -- Bradford Doolittle
Cleveland walks it off
Guardians' lead is short-lived
He done did it again. pic.twitter.com/ySJbwH6Azk— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 16, 2022
Yankees add to the lead
Cabrera CRUSH 💥 pic.twitter.com/NlmUTFuqcW— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 16, 2022
All rise ... finally
Brand new ballgame 👨⚖️ pic.twitter.com/Kd3NoEjVqp— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 16, 2022
Aaron Judge's first hit of the postseason is a game-tying two-run homer. Prior to that, Judge had been 0-9, with eight strikeouts this postseason. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that was Judge's 12th career postseason home run, which broke a tie with Bernie Williams for the third most by a Yankee through the age-30 season. Judge trails only Mickey Mantle (14 home runs in 54 games) and Derek Jeter (14 HRs in 110 games).
Guardians strike first (and second)
Cleveland is ready to rock
Astros win series 3-0
The game that felt like it might never end finally did, at 7:31 p.m. local time -- 6 hours, 22 minutes after it started, 18 innings deep, on account of one bad pitch.
Jeremy Pena, the rookie shortstop for the Houston Astros, hammered a hanging slider from Seattle Mariners rookie Penn Murfee to center field, breaking the longest scoreless tie in playoff history and leading the Astros to a 1-0 victory.
In a game that had as many pitchers as hits (18), with a postseason-record 42 strikeouts, no errors and incredibly clean baseball, the Astros advanced to their sixth consecutive AL Championship Series, sweeping their division rivals and illustrating again that whether it's a slugfest or a pitching duel, they're as equipped as any team to triumph. -- Jeff Passan
Houston completes the sweep
FINAL in 18: Astros 1, Mariners 0— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 16, 2022
Jeremy Peña's solo home run to lead off the top of the 18th sends Houston to its sixth straight ALCS.
Seattle's first home playoff game in 21 years goes as long as any in postseason history. Amazing atmosphere. Wonderful season. Tough ending.
Astros (finally) get on the board first
They're still scoreless in Seattle
FIVE-TOOL PLAYER JULIO RODRIGUEZ pic.twitter.com/r09OGHJML1— Joon Lee (@joonlee) October 16, 2022
Astros-Mariners is going to the 16th inning. Here are the numbers so far.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 16, 2022
- Hitters are 14 for 101
- Of those 14 hits, 12 were singles and two doubles
- Pitchers have struck out 37 hitters and issued three walks
- There have been 425 pitches thrown
- Total runs scored: zero
Wait, what just happened?
Hail to the king
Forever our King 👑 pic.twitter.com/PO1Jlz0Sen— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 15, 2022
✨ that light tho ✨ pic.twitter.com/5gNSFlwbzO— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 15, 2022
Phillies win series 3-1
Once again, Major League Baseball will not have a repeat World Series champion after the Phillies bounced the Braves from the postseason with a resounding 8-3 victory in Game 4 of their NLDS.
Just as they did in all three of their wins in the series, the Phillies jumped to an early lead that had Atlanta playing chase pretty much from the beginning. And for the second day in a row, it was a party from start to finish at a raucous Citizens Bank Park.
Instead of a bat-spike home run celebration providing the signature moment like it did in Game 3, the highlight on Saturday was a spring around the bases. In the third inning, J.T. Realmuto became the first catcher in postseason history to hit an inside-the-park home run, one inning after Brandon Marsh ignited the crowd with a three-run blast.
Two things are clear no matter who Philly faces in the NLCS: This team that found new life earlier in the season when manager Rob Thomson took over won't be an easy out for anyone; and when the Phillies take the field at home in an NLCS for the first time since 2010 on Friday, it's going to be quite a scene in Philadelphia. -- Jesse Rogers
Bryce adds the exclamation point
Phillies piling on
Rhys Hoskins drives in another run!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 15, 2022
📺: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/C6yF1UfXfL
The Phillies are pouring it on! Philadelphia fans can feel it!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 15, 2022
📺: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/T2hReNtECD
J.T. Realmuto has wheels
According to ESPN Stats & Information, that is the first inside-the-park home run by a catcher in the postseason and the first time any Phillies player has done it in the playoffs.
Braves get one back
Phillies strike big first blow
Charlie Morton stayed in the game after being hit in the elbow by a comebacker— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 15, 2022
📺: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/VMvRR3KiIc
Dawn Staley is hyped
The Philadelphia native knows a bit about winning when it counts.
Is Blooper nervous?
positive vibes only— Blooper (@BlooperBraves) October 15, 2022
day game in the city that spawned the Day Man, we're gonna have to fire on all cylinders— Blooper (@BlooperBraves) October 15, 2022
The fellas pic.twitter.com/RrNSBWkmD6— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 15, 2022