The Boston Red Sox got to the AL divisional series by beating the New York Yankees in the wild card game. Both the Red Sox and the Yankees had up and down seasons leading them to have the same 92-70 record. However, with the Sox having a better season record over the Yanks, they got the home-field advantage. On Tuesday night, the Red Sox ended the Yankees season with a 6-2 win.
The Tampa Bay Rays, for other than a short time, have led the AL East all season and dominated all of its AL East opponents finishing the season eight games ahead of both the Yankees and the Red Sox. Nine ahead of the Blue Jays and 48 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles that lost 110 games this season.
In the first game of the divisional series, the Tampa Bay Rays blew out the Red Sox 5-0. Shane McClanahan was dominant, holding the Red Sox scoreless. The Rays hit two home runs in the win. Veteran Nelson Cruz homered in the third inning, and the incredible Randy Arozarena made history with his home run. He became the fifth player to hit a homer in 19 consecutive postseason games. He also is the first to hit a homer and steal home in the same postseason game.
Game two; the Red Sox bested the Rays by piling on the runs. At the end of the night, it was the Red Sox 14 and the Rays 6. The Sox knocked starting pitcher newbie Shane Baz out of the game. But that was better than the Sox ace Chris Sale; he was out of the game at the end of the first inning, giving up five earned runs. Tanner Houck for the Sox got the win with five innings of one-run ball. For the Sox, it was home run heaven. Bogaerts, Verdugo, Hernandez, Martinez, and Devers all hit long balls in the game.
Game three: The Red Sox won the game 6 to 4, giving them the one-run lead in the best of five. Nathan Eovaldi was on the mound for the Sox. The Rays got on the board first with a two-run homer by Austin Meadows in the first. The Red Sox answered with a solo shot by Kyle Schwarber. Eovaldi, in the top of the third, put down the side in order. In the bottom of the third, Kiki Hernandez drove in a run to tie it up. Then, Rafael Devers drove in another run to Boston’s first lead of the game.
In the fifth inning against the third, Tampa reliever Kiki Hernandez got a solo shot tacking on another Boston run. Red Sox 4-2. The sixth and seventh innings were scoreless. In the top of the eighth, Wandy Franco hit his first-ever postseason home run into the green monster seats, tieing up the game. The game remained tied into the 13th inning.
At the top of the 13th, Randy Arozarena hit a double; then you saw one of the most unusual plays in baseball Kevin Kiermairer hit what appeared to be a home run to right-center. But upon review, the ball hit the wall, bounced off the Red Sox Hunter Renfroe and into the seats, and was ruled a ground-rule double. Denino struck out, ending the inning scoreless for the Rays with the game still tied. Then, at the bottom, with one on, Christian Vazquez homered over the green monster, becoming the eighth catcher ever to hit a walk-off homer. The final score was The Red Sox 6 and Tampa Bay 4.
Game four; With the Red Sox up two games to one tonight, the Red Sox could get their ticket to the ALCS with a win. If the Rays won, it would force a game five back at Tropicana Field. The Red Sox sent Eduardo Rodriguez to secure the win. Tampa put Collin McHugh on the mound. The first inning was scoreless for both teams. The second inning was led off by the veteran Nelson Cruz who went down on strikes. E-Rod ended up putting down the side in order. At the bottom, McHugh did the same, no score.
In the third inning, Austin Meadows struck out on the 17th pitch. The rest went down 1-2. At the bottom, Shane McClanahan took over for the Rays. Rafael Devers hit a long one into the green monster seats for the 3-0 Red Sox lead with two on. Verdugo drove in a run with a double off the monster wall for the four-run lead. That was followed by J.T Martinez hitting off the same division for another run ending McCalahan’s night. JT Chargois replaced him. He did no better allowing another double off the monster. Still, with two outs, Valezquz struck out to finally end the inning, but the Red Sox picked up five runs. Boston 5 Tampa Bay 0.
In the fourth, with E-Rod still on the mound, he again put down the Rays. At the bottom, with Kittredge on the mound, he silenced the Sox putting them down in order. In the fifth, Austin Meadows got an RBI ground out to first to put the Rays on the board, but that’s all they would get. At the bottom, Kittredge pitched a 1-2-3 fifth. Red Sox 5 Tampa Bay Rays 1.
E-Rod was still on the mound for the Red Sox in the sixth, but Kevin Kiermaier doubled, and Rodriguez left the game to applause. Tanner Houck replaced him. Wander Franco, with one on, got a homer to the monster seats, and it was a two-run game, but that is all they would get. Then, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Rafael Dever singled, putting two on with one out ending Fleming’s night, who Pete Fairbanks replaced; Xander Bogaerts ground out into a double play that ended the inning. Red Sox 5 Tampa 3.
In the eighth inning, Mike Zunino led off with a double, Kiermaier doubled, driving in Zunino to make it a one-run game. Randy Arozarena doubled, scoring Kiermaier that tied the game at five apiece. At the bottom, with two outs, Nelson Cruz ground out to end the inning, keeping the game tied at 5. At the bottom of the inning, Verdugo hit single to short, but Franco overthrew first that went into the dugout for a double with no outs. But the Sox couldn’t score. Game tied at 5
The ninth with Gerret Whitlock on the mound for the Sox, Choi ground out. Diaz ground out. Meadows flew out for a seven-pitch inning. In the bottom with the ALCS on the line for the Red Sox, Christian Vazquez facing JP Feyereisen, led off with a single to left. Arroyo ground out with Vazquez moving to second. Travis Shaw pinch-hitting to Dalbec singled. Kiki Herandez, with men on the corners, hit one off the all for the walk-off win and trip to the ALCS.
The final score was the Boston Red Sox 6 and the Tampa Bay Rays 5. The winning pitcher was Gerret Whitlock, the loser was Feyereisen, and the Red Sox moved on to the American League Championship Series.
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