Boston Red Sox 3 (92-66)
New York Yankees 5 (82-76)
WP: James Pazos (1-0, 6.75 ERA)
LP: Craig Kimbrel (2-5, 3.35 ERA)
Kings of the AL East
There you have it folks! After two last place finishes, the Boston Red Sox have resurfaced atop the AL East. It wasn’t pretty, as Mark Teixeira blasted a walk-off grand slam to beat the Red Sox 5-3, but thanks to the Baltimore Orioles beating the Toronto Blue Jays with a home run in the ninth inning, the Red Sox are the champions of the AL East.
It’s the first time that they’ve won the AL East since 2013, when this team won the World Series. Sure, the Red Sox have a long way to go before they declare themselves the best team in 2016, but there is a lot to like here.
The Sox came into this series, flying high, as they were winners in 11-straight games before falling in last night’s game. They have now lost two straight but will still be fighting over the next four games to try and clinch home-field advantage. It’s an uphill battle as the Texas Rangers still hold a one game lead
Clay Buchholz Great Start Wasted
Even before the blown save by Craig Kimbrel, Clay Buchholz was not in line to get the win. He lasted six innings while allowing just one hit. The issue was that the Sox offense could not get it going early on in the game.
This was Buchholz’ third straight quality start and fourth quality start over five games. He’s really been impressive since returning to the rotation. David Price and Rick Porcello are expected to be the number one and number two starters in the postseason. After that, there is still a debate as to whether or not Buchholz or Eduardo Rodriguez will get the nod in the third game of the post season.
There’s still a lot to be figured out before the postseason arrives, but this start has to be extremely promising for the Red Sox starting rotation.
Bullpen 1-2-What Happened?
Buchholz passed the torch to Brad Ziegler, who put together a 1-2-3 inning. After Ziegler, Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless inning as well.
As Craig Kimbrel trotted in to notch another save, news broke that the Blue Jays loss, giving the division to the Red Sox. That’s when it all went wrong for the Red Sox.
Kimbrel entered with a 3-0 victory and could not get anyone out. Brett Gardner started things off with a single. Kimbrel then basically lost all control, starting things off with a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury on a 3-2 pitch.
With Gary Sanchez at the plate, Kimbrel sailed a wild pitch to put runners at second and third. He then promptly walked Sanchez to load the bases.
After quickly getting ahead of Brian McCann 0-2, Kimbrel eventually walked McCann as well. McCann ended up fouling off four balls after the count went 2-2. On the bases loaded walk, McCann picked up his 57th RBI of the year, as the Yankees scored their first run of the game.
Joe Kelly replaced Kimbrel after his meltdown. Kelly was able to strike out Starlin Castro and got Didi Gregorius to foul out.
However, with one out away from winning the game, Kelly gave up a grand slam to Teixeira on an 0-1 pitch.
Mookie Betts Shines Again
Bryan Mitchell shut down the Sox for seven strong innings. He gave way to Adam Warren who started the eighth inning to face Sandy Leon.
Leon grounded the ball towards the second baseman Castro, who promptly misplayed the ball, as he was too preoccupied with blowing a bubble while fielding the ball. The replay did show that the ball took a bad bounce, but it was no denying that Castro was in the process of blowing a bubble with his gum.
Dustin Pedroia followed that up with a ground rule double to start things off with a second and third with no outs situation.
The Yankees chose to pitch to the next batter Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts continued his struggles as he lined out to the third baseman.
David Ortiz reached base on an intentional walk, and set the stage for Mookie Betts. Betts took the first pitch from Warren and pulled a high chopper over the third base bag to score two runs as Betts took second base.
To add insult to injury, Sanchez allowed a pass ball with the bases loaded, which saw Ortiz barreling towards home plate to score the Red Sox’ third run on the night.
It was all a moot point as the Yankees came back to win the game in grand fashion.
Now that the Red Sox have everything all clinched, they can take it easy, as they play the rubber game match against the Yankees on Thursday. Henry Owens (0-1, 7.79 ERA) will face off against C.C. Sabathia (8-12, 4.02 ERA)