It's complicated, but Blue Jays finally end playoff drought
TORONTO (AP) Confusion, yes. Champagne, no.
The Toronto Blue Jays ended baseball's longest playoff drought Friday night without even knowing about it.
Toronto entered play Friday believing it could clinch a wild card by beating the Tampa Bay Rays, and with losses by Minnesota and the Los Angeles Angels.
Not long after the Blue Jays beat the Rays 5-3, Minnesota lost 6-4 at Detroit. But when the Angels defeated Seattle 8-4, it looked as if Toronto would need one more victory Saturday to halt its 22-year postseason absence.
It turned out, however, that because of the remaining schedules of the Rangers, Astros and Angels, the Blue Jays had clinched at least a wild-card spot, no matter what. With the AL West trio all to face one another before the end of the season, only two of the three can finish with as many wins as Toronto's current total of 88.
If that happens, one would win the AL West after a tiebreaker while the other would claim the wild card along with the Blue Jays or New York Yankees.
The Blue Jays haven't been to the postseason since winning their second straight World Series in 1993. Seattle, which last went to the playoffs in 2001, now holds the distinction of the team with the longest postseason drought.
As of Saturday morning, the Blue Jays' official Twitter feed was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
''With a win today, we will officially clinch a 2015 playoff berth!'' the club tweeted.
Even MLB.com initially said the Jays were still ''on cusp'' of the playoffs, along with the Mets and Dodgers. It changed its headline to ''Jays in'' shortly after.
The Blue Jays finally got on board, tweeting a message that read ''Playoff bound! The Blue Jays are heading to the postseason.''
Manager John Gibbons learned about the wild-card berth only after arriving at the stadium Saturday.
''Everybody's gratified,'' Gibbons said. ''It's been so long and the guys have played great. They really turned it on the last two months. So it's a good feeling. But we're trying for much more than that.''
Toronto extended its AL East lead to four games after the White Sox beat the Yankees Friday.
''The wild-card game is not something that we as a unit would celebrate,'' pitcher R.A. Dickey said. ''We're after the division championship.''
Catcher Russell Martin found out about the wild card from reporters.
''It's nice to know that we're in the playoffs for sure,'' he said. ''That's great. But our goal is to win every game until it's over.''