ATLANTA — Ian Anderson dazzled in another shutout performance for Atlanta, and the Braves won a playoff series for the first time in almost two decades by sweeping the light-hitting Cincinnati Reds with a 5-0 victory Thursday.
Ronald Acuña Jr. had three hits for the NL East champions, including a run-scoring double in the fifth. After winning Wednesday’s series opener 1-0 in 13 innings, Atlanta broke open Game 2 on two-run homers by Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall off Raisel Iglesias in the eighth.
Anderson struck out nine in six innings as the Braves snapped their record-tying string of losses in 10 consecutive post-season rounds since their last playoff series win in 2001. Atlanta will face Miami or the Chicago Cubs in the NL Division Series in Houston.
The 22-year-old Anderson allowed two hits and walked two in his playoff debut after six regular-season starts. Will Smith, Chris Martin and Mark Melancon each threw one perfect inning.
Cincinnati wasted a solid performance by Luis Castillo, who struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings in his first post-season start.
The Reds were shut out in consecutive post-season games for the first time. The 22 innings without a run is the longest post-season scoreless streak in franchise history.
ATHLETICS 6, WHITE SOX 4
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Oakland ended 14 years of post-season futility, riding Chad Pinder’s go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning and repeated costly walks by Chicago’s relievers to rally in the decisive third game of the AL wild-card series.
The AL West champions lost the opener, then won on consecutive days and advanced to a Division Series against the rival Houston Astros starting Monday in Los Angeles. The winner of that matchup faces the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay for a spot in the World Series.
Sean Murphy hit a two-run homer in the fourth against Codi Heuer.
Oakland stopped a nine-game losing streak in winner-take-all post-season games, a major league record that dated to the 1973 World Series. The A’s had lost six straight playoff series since sweeping Minnesota in the 2006 Division Series.
Opening day starter in July, Frankie Montas pitched two innings for the win. Liam Hendriks closed out the game.
Luis Robert homered leading off the second then later added an RBI single for the White Sox. Loser Evan Marshall walked the bases loaded with a second straight free pass with two outs in the fifth to Marcus Semien before Pinder singled.
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The Associated Press