Everything went right for the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night — as it has so often in the last two weeks — and they earned their first postseason berth since 2013.
The Reds (30-28) needed to beat the Minnesota Twins (35-23). They did that, winning the opener of the final series of the regular season 7-2 in Minneapolis.
The Reds needed the Philadelphia Phillies (28-30) to lose, and that happened, too. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Phillies 6-4.
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The Reds also needed the Milwaukee Brewers (28-30) to lose at least one game in doubleheader against the Cardinals. The Brewers won the first game 3-0 but lost the second game 9-1.
The Phillies and Brewers lost while the Reds were playing, so they knew they could clinch a postseason berth with a victory. When Wade Miley recorded the final out of a perfect ninth inning, the Reds celebrated in a mob on the mound. They then posed for a team photo with everyone wearing T-Shirts that read, “Respect Cincinnati.”
The only player in that mob who was with the team the last time they made the playoffs as the second wild-card team in 2013 was first baseman Joey Votto. This will be the first playoff appearance with the franchise for longtime Reds such as Tucker Barnhart, Eugenio Suarez and Raisel Iglesias.
Now the only questions for the Reds are: what seed will get get and who will they play. They can still finish second in the National League Central Division and climb as high as the No. 5 seed. They could also win one of the two wild cards.
No matter what happens, the Reds will play on the road against a higher seed — either the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves or San Diego Padres — in the best-of-three wild-card series. Their first game would be Wednesday.
As of now, the Reds are the No. 7 seed. They would play the No. 2 seed Braves (35-23) in the first round.
No team will enter the postseason with more momentum than the Reds. They were 20-26 on Sept. 12 and have since won 10 of 12 games. The victory against the Twins moved them two games over .500 for the first time this season.
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The Reds used a familiar formula to beat the Twins: dominant pitching and a home-run heavy offense.
A two-run home run by Mike Moustakas in the fourth inning gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth, Freddy Galvis homered in the fifth, and Nick Castellanos singled to drive in Shogo Akiyama. The Reds added three more insurance runs in the ninth.
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On the mound, Tyler Mahle, Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, Raisel Iglesias and Miley combined to strike out 14 batters. With the Reds leading 4-2 in the eighth, Iglesias got out of a jam by getting a strikeout and a fly out after runners advanced to second and third with one out.
The Reds and Twins play two more games this weekend: at 7:10 p.m. Saturday and 3:10 p.m. Sunday. Luis Castillo is the scheduled starter for Saturday. The Reds have not announced a starter for Sunday.