After a non-stop second day of Wild Card action, the postseason boil was brought down to a simmer on day three, especially with an early postponement taking Marlins-Cubs off the board.
There was still plenty to unpack — and history made — in Thursday’s slate of clashes, however.
Here are the key takeaways from the third day of the MLB postseason.
Braves silence Reds to advance
Following Wednesday’s 13-inning, 1-0 victory for Atlanta in their Game 1 matchup against the Reds, it looked as though the dearth of runs would carry over to Thursday.
For one team, that happened to be the case. Atlanta’s pitching staff continued to bamboozle the Reds hitters, holding Cincinnati scoreless for the second consecutive game in Atlanta’s 5-0 win.
Combined with Wednesday’s shutout, Cincinnati set a bleak postseason record with 22 scoreless frames.
Rookie starter Ian Anderson made an impressive postseason debut before handing off to the bullpen, which continued to keep the Reds’ bats on ice.
Ronald Acuna Jr. ended the deadlock with a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the fifth inning off Reds starter Luis Castillo, who finished the day with one earned run, six hits and seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
For the Braves, the moment was 19 years in the making, marking Atlanta’s first postseason series win since the 2001 NLDS.
The Braves await the winner of the Marlins-Cubs series, which was postponed a day due to inclement weather in Chicago.
A’s get over the elimination-game hump
Recent history hadn’t been kind to the A’s coming into Game 3 of their Wild Card series against the Chicago White Sox. Oakland had lost nine consecutive winner-take-all games and six consecutive postseason series, but Thursday’s back-and-forth contest ended with the A’s winning 6-4 to advance.
It’s also the first time since Game 7 of the 1973 World Series that the A’s won a do-or-die game.
Both teams ran through a litany of pitchers — nine for Chicago and eight for Oakland, setting a new record for pitchers used in a nine-inning postseason game.
At the dish, Chad Pinder and Sean Murphy delivered a pair of RBIs apiece for Oakland, with Murphy’s coming via the long ball in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The White Sox can take a bit of consolation in Luis Robert producing one of the highlights of the nascent postseason, smoking a 487-foot home run deep to left-center in the top of the second.
The rookie sensation’s moonshot clocked in as the longest homer hit at the Oakland Coliseum since Statcast began tracking distances in 2015.
Up next for the A’s are the Astros in the AL Divisional Series, with Game 1 set for Monday in Los Angeles.
Padres pound the Cardinals
The San Diego Padres defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 11-9 in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card round, and they made sure to send a message in doing so.
October is where stars become legends, and Fernando Tatis Jr. is putting his bid in early, in only his first career playoff series.
Tatis Jr. homered twice on Thursday, the first time coming in the sixth inning to bring the Padres within one run, and then again in the seventh inning to give San Diego a 9-6 lead.
The two bombs produced five RBIs for the Padres’ electric shortstop.
He wasn’t the only player to get in on the long ball action either for the Padres, with Manny Machado and Will Myers both going deep.
Myers, like Tatis, went yard twice, with his second home run coming in the eighth inning to give the Padres an 11-8 lead and seal the victory.
The Padres lineup put on a performance that rarely has been seen in MLB history, and one that had never occurred in franchise history.
The Padres and Cardinals will play a winner-take-all game Friday, with a trip to the NLDS on the line.
Kershaw is untouchable
Clayton Kershaw is one of the greatest pitchers of his generation, but the playoffs have been somewhat of a house of horrors for the Los Angeles Dodgers legend, with his ERA jumping two full runs to 4.85 from his career regular season average of 2.43.
However, against the Brewers on Thursday, vintage Kershaw was in full effect.
Kershaw dominated the Brewers lineup over the course of eight innings, posting a career playoff-high 13 strikeouts, while allowing no runs on the night.
For a pitcher who has had his postseason struggles, Kershaw has still managed to produce a few dominant performances in October, with Thursday representing the sixth time in his career he’s posted at least 10 strikeouts in the playoffs.
On the back of the dominant performance from Kershaw, the Dodgers are headed to the NLDS for the eighth consecutive season.
LA will face the winner of the Cardinals and Padres series.
Get more from Major League Baseball Add to your favorites to get information about games, news and more.