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MLB PLAYOFFS: Astros sweep as Twins lose 18th straight

MINNEAPOLIS — Carlos Correa hit a two-out, tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning for the Houston Astros, who produced another stifling pitching performance and swept Minnesota with a 3-1 victory Wednesday that sent the Twins to a record 18th straight postseason loss.

Nine months after Houston’s rules-breaking, sign-stealing system was revealed, the Astros advanced to the Division Series in Los Angeles. As the sixth seed, they’ll face the Oakland Athletics or Chicago White Sox in a best-of-five matchup starting Monday at Dodger Stadium.

The Twins are 0-18 in the playoffs since winning Game 1 of their Division Series at the New York Yankees on Oct. 5, 2004, a total of seven rounds lost. Since that date, the Astros are 43-35 in postseason play, winning 10 of 15 rounds with three trips to the World Series.

Kyle Tucker hit two RBI singles for the Astros and made a key throw from left field for the inning-ending out in the fifth.

The Houston bullpen totaled 9 2/3 scoreless innings in this wild card series with three hits allowed.

BRAVES 1, REDS 0, 13 INNINGS

ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman singled home the winning run in the 13th inning, finally ending the longest scoreless duel in postseason history as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the opener of their NL wild-card series on Wednesday.

The teams combined for a postseason record 37 Ks — 21 by the Braves. After a couple of hits in the 13th against Archie Bradley, Freeman drove one into center field off Amir Garrett against a five-man infield with one out to end a game that dragged on for more than 4 1/2 hours.

CARDINALS 7, PADRES 4

SAN DIEGO — Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run during a four-run first inning, St. Louis’ bullpen held strong after starter Kwang Hyun Kim stumbled in his playoff debut and the Cardinals ruined San Diego’s long-awaited return to the playoffs in the opener of their NL wild-card series.

RAYS 8, BLUE JAYS 2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam and top-seeded Tampa Bay completed a two-game sweep to win a postseason series for the first time in 12 years. The East champion Rays advanced to an AL Division Series against the New York Yankees or Cleveland Indians beginning Monday in San Diego.

ATHLETICS 5, WHITE SOX 3

OAKLAND, Calif. — Marcus Semien and Khris Davis homered early off Dallas Keuchel, and Mark Canha made a game-saving catch against the wall as West champion Oakland tied the series 1-1.

MARLINS 5, CUBS 1

CHICAGO — Corey Dickerson hit a three-run homer off a fading Kyle Hendricks in the seventh inning, and Miami beat Chicago in Game 1 of their NL wild-card series.

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