MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (FOX19) - Exhale, Cincinnati. Your Reds are playoff-bound for the first time since 2013.
Coming into the day, the club needed a win over the Twins in Minnesota as well as a Phillies loss to the Rays and a Brewers loss to the Cardinals to secure an NL wildcard.
It all fell into place Friday night.
The Rays rallied in Tampa. The Cardinals poured it on in Milwuakee. The Reds rode the long ball and stellar pitching to a 7-2 victory over the Twins.
An improbable night for a team whose playoff chances appeared just as unlikely at the beginning of September.
The Reds were 19-25 after losing two of three against the Cubs on Sept. 10. According to FanGraphs, they had just a 19 percent chance to make the playoffs. It was a grim moment for a club who came into the season, pandemic or not, with high aspirations.
Then the Reds got hot, winning 11 of their next 14 and consecutive series against the Cardinals, Pirates, White Sox and Brewers.
On Friday, starting pitcher Tyler Mahle battled through a 27-pitch first inning with two bases-loaded strikeouts. Jared Lorenzen replaced him in the third and pitched three strong innings in long relief.
Meanwhile, the Reds offense continued its streaky productivity, benefitting from a Mike Moustakas two-run homer in the fourth, a Freddy Galvis solo shot in the fifth and a Nick Castellanos RBI single in the same inning.
Amir Garret and Lucas Sims brought the Reds into the eighth, where Raisel Iglesias took over. The Twins threatened, placing two runners in scoring position with one out, but a strikeout and a fly-out put the inning to a dramatic end.
That opened the floodgates. The Reds went on to plate three insurance runs in the top of the ninth, and Wade Miley came in to close it out.
Next up? Red October.
The Reds will likely be a seventh seed in the playoffs and could face the Braves in a three-game series in Atlanta.