The Wild Card round, the first of its kind in Major League Baseball, got underway on Friday with four games. In the American League, the Cleveland Guardians took their first win in nine tries in the playoffs, coming back from an early 1-0 deficit at home to the Tampa Bay Rays to win 2-1 in game 1.
Jose Siri had homered in the top of the sixth to give the visitors the lead, but a two-run homer from Jose Ramirez and an inspired 7 2/3 innings from Shane Bieber led the hosts to a huge victory that has them just a game away from advancing to the ALDS. Elsewhere, the Seattle Mariners returned to the postseason for the first time in two decades and won Game 1 in Toronto by a score of 4-0. Luis Castillo was fantastic on the mound for the visiting team, going into the eighth while giving up no runs as they took advantage of a three-run first inning, capped by a two-run homer from Cal Raleigh, in his first-ever playoff at-bat, to give them a 1-0 edge. That will put all the pressure on the home team for the second and potentially decisive game to come on Saturday as the M’s will look to close it out and prepare for a possible ALDS spot.