The Boston Red Sox may have had the champagne on ice Monday, but they finally got to break it open on Tuesday night. Boston bested AL Cy Young favorite Cliff Lee to ensure their trip to the postseason for the fifth time in six years. Thanks to a Jason Bay RBI single in the fifth and a dominating four-out save from Jonathan Papelbon, the Sox punched their ticket for the postseason.
The Sox started it off with a two run homer by Kevin Youkilis in the fourth inning. Cliff Lee managed to get out of the inning without any further damage. The Indians fired right back in the next inning, with a Grady Sizemore RBI single, a run on a Jamey Carroll fielder’s choice, and two RBI doubles from Shin-Soo Choo and Jhonny Peralta.
Boston battled right back. In the bottom of the inning Dustin Pedrioa hit a long double that scored Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury. Jason Bay (who has never been to the postseason) drove in the go-ahead run with a single up the middle.
“Not that you need any incentive, but sometimes somebody gets walked in front of you, you want it a little extra,” Bay told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “It was nice to get it, and to have it hold up. The bullpen came through huge, and it held up. My hit at that point put us ahead, but you look at David [Ortiz], you look at Youk, you look at [Pedroia]. Everybody pitched in today, and that’s kind of the way it’s been since I’ve been here.”
The Sox bullpen served up three scoreless innings split between Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson, Javier Lopez, and Papelbon’s dramatic save. Despite his recent troubles with innherited runners, Papelbon got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 8th then returned to retire the side. He needed only 9 pitches to strike out two and induce the game-ending flyout.
The Sox celebrated emphatically, with Papelbon literally stealing bases off the field and handing them to fans. Ortiz was in his trademark swim-goggles, and the entire team did the customary jumping up and down celebration in the middle of the field before retiring to the clubhouse for the champagne.
Boston Red Sox playoff tickets are now onsale for all potential games including the World Series. If you purchase tickets for a game that is never played you will get a full refund. As of right now all Red Sox playoff game dates and times are subject to change depending on opponent and series type. See possible scenarios below.
The Sox lie 3 games behind the Rays with six games left; Boston is likely looking at a Wild Card berth and a match-up against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. There are two possible schedules for the American League Division Series, which will be chosen by the team with the best record.
ALDS A Game 1 Thurs., Oct. 2
ALDS A Game 2 Fri., Oct. 3
ALDS A Game 3 Sun., Oct. 5
ALDS A Game 4 Mon., Oct. 6
ALDS A Game 5 Wed., Oct. 8
ALDS B Game 1 Wed., Oct. 1
ALDS B Game 2 Fri., Oct. 3
ALDS B Game 3 Sun., Oct. 5
ALDS B Game 4 Mon., Oct. 6
ALDS B Game 5 Wed., Oct. 8