Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Sept. 10, 2018 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox have officially done it! At 99-46, the Red Sox officially punched themselves a ticket for October baseball. With their win today, the Red Sox are guaranteed, at the very worst, to play in the one-game Wild Card. That said, they are still likely to clinch the AL East, as they currently hold an 8.5-game lead over the Yankees. There have been several heroes, but today the honor belonged to Brock Holt. Holt’s three-run pinch-hit homer led the way as the Boston Red Sox clinch playoffs.
Boston Red Sox Clinch Playoffs Behind Brock Holt’s Clutch Homer
While Holt stole the spotlight, this game also was the first Chris Sale day in a long time. The lefty has missed the past few weeks with left shoulder inflammation, but finally made his triumphant return to the mound.
The ace only pitched one inning, striking out two while allowing a leadoff double and hitting a batter. While he was removed after one inning and 26 pitches, this wasn’t due to injury. Brandon Workman took over in the second, but Sale continued throwing in the bullpen. In all, the lefty threw about 40 pitches on the day.
After Workman finished up the second, Nathan Eovaldi came out of the pen, tossing 3.2 innings and allowing two earned runs. However, there should be a big asterisk next to that. Toronto ran a double steal, and second baseman Ian Kinsler was in perfect position to throw out the runner at home. However, Kinsler made a poor throw, allowing the runner to score and the other runner to advance to third. Eovaldi then allowed a single to make it a 2-0 game.
Ryan Brasier took over, tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless ball. However, the Sox still trailed entering the bottom of the seventh. However, Brock Holt changed that with a swing of the bat. After Steve Pearce drove home Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Nunez drew a walk, manager Alex Cora sent Holt up to pinch hit. Holt rewarded that faith with a three-run shot over the right field fence to give the Sox a 4-2 lead they would not relinquish.
The Red Sox rode this momentum to close out the game. Boston added three more runs in the eighth while the bullpen closed the door. The Red Sox take on the Blue Jays again tomorrow, as David Price takes the mound against Anibal Sanchez.