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Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette cheers from the dugout in the ninth inning of an 11-4 win over the Rays on Friday night in Toronto. Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP

TORONTO — Alejandro Kirk homered and drove in three runs, Bo Bichette had four hits and the Toronto Blue Jays put themselves on the brink of a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 11-4 on Friday night.

A loss by Seattle against Texas later would give the Blue Jays an AL wild card. Losses by the Mariners and Astros would guarantee Toronto the second of three wild-card spots, setting up a best-of-three postseason series at Tampa Bay.

Brandon Belt and Matt Chapman each hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays. Bichette went 4 for 5 with an RBI and scored three times as Toronto pounded out 16 hits to win for the ninth time in 13 games.

Yandy Díaz returned as the Rays’ designated hitter after missing two games because of a sore right hamstring and hit a two-run homer, his 22nd. Díaz went 2 for 2 with a walk before being replaced by Jonathan Aranda in the seventh inning.

Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (11-6) allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings, improving to 4-0 in four career home starts against the Rays. Kikuchi walked two and struck out four.

INDIANS 7, TIGERS 5: Miguel Cabrera had three hits, including two doubles, but Cleveland spoiled the first day of his final weekend, winning at Detroit.


MARLINS 4, PIRATES 3: Josh Bell’s two-run double keyed a four-run, eighth-inning rally and Miami won at Pittsburgh to move closer to a playoff berth.


GIANTS: San Francisco fired Manager Gabe Kapler, the first managerial change of 2023 with three days left in the season and the club eliminated from the playoffs.

San Francisco is 78-81 going into a season-ending series against the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Kapler, 48, had a 295-248 record over four seasons guiding the Giants, but his only year with a winning record was 2021, when San Francisco won a franchise-record 107 games and the NL West title.

THERE WERE just 2,459 errors entering the final weekend of the regular season, on track to finish as the fewest in a non-shortened year since 1960 – when there were just 16 teams. The per-game average of 0.52 will set a record low for the third straight season.
“I believe some balls that are called hits are clear errors,” YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay said. “I’ve seen it to an extent this year I’ve ever never seen before. … It’s really insulting to real baseball fans.”

ANGELS: Shohei Ohtani had the best-selling jersey in the majors this season, the first time a Japanese player finished in the top spot. The league and Players Association released its top-20 list, with rankings based on sales of Nike jerseys since opening day on MLBShop.com.
Ohtani beat out Ronald Acuña Jr. of Atlanta, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, Fernando Tatis Jr. of San Diego and Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

ROCKIES: Charlie Blackmon and Colorado agreed to a $13 million, one-year contract for 2024 that prevents the outfielder from becoming a free agent.
The 37-year-old is in the final season of a six-year contract guaranteeing $108 million, a deal Blackmon agreed to after winning the NL batting title with a .331 average.

BREWERS: Pitcher Julio Teheran was designated for assignment, just over a week after the two-time All-Star right-hander had returned from the injured list.
The Brewers also optioned left-hander Ethan Small to Nashville while recalling left-hander Clayton Andrews and right-hander Caleb Boushley from the Triple-A farm team.

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