USA Today Sports

Red Sox clinch postseason berth for 3rd straight season

Rob Bradford
September 11, 2018 - 10:20 pm

Brock Holt made sure the Red Sox were going to clinch a postseason berth on their terms.

With two outs in the seventh inning, and the Sox trailing Toronto by a run, Holt lofted his second pinch-hit homer of the season into the right-field seats, propelling Alex Cora's club to a 7-2 win and entrance into this season's postseason. (For a complete recap of the Red Sox' 99th win, click here.)

Coming into Tuesday night the Red Sox needed either a victory over the Blue Jays or both Tampa Bay and Seattle to lose in order to lock down the assurance they would at least be playing in the Wild Card Game. They managed the former.

With the Yankees' loss Tuesday night the Red Sox Magic Number to win the American League East stands at nine. (Any combination of Red Sox wins and Yankees losses adding up to nine clinches the division for the Sox.)

The third straight season of making the postseason matches a franchise record, with the Red Sox equaling the run of success from 2003-05 and 2007-09.

"We’ve got a shot now, we’re in, we have the elimination game now," said Cora, who led a toast with the team after the win. "We know we’re in a great position to win the division and to accomplish other things. Credit to them. I just told them, I told the group I’m very proud of them regardless of what’s going on around us, the winning streaks, the losing streaks, we stay together. They’ve been very consistent as far as showing up every day and preparing for the game and playing the game. I'm very proud of that."

After being shut down by Toronto starter Ryan Borucki for six innings, the Red Sox finally got on the board with one out in the seventh thanks to Steve Pearce's one-out, RBI triple. After an Ian Kinsler strikeout, Eduardo Nunez put runners on first and third with a rare walk.

Cora originally sent Mitch Moreland to the on-deck circle to face Toronto righty Ryan Tepera, serving as a possible pinch-hitter for Sandy Leon. But before Moreland was officially announced he walked back to the dugout, paving the way for Holt's appearance.

"I was downstairs. I thought Mitch would hit," Holt said. "They said, ‘Brock, you’re hitting.’ I went up, put my helmet on, put my shinguard on and tried to do something good. Pinch-hitting is hard. You go up there and try to put together a good at-bat and I was able to do that. Get a good pitch and put a good swing on it and fortunately be able to hit one out."

From there the Red Sox bullpen finished things off with Hector Velazquez, Bobby Poyner and Joe Kelly combining to pitch a scoreless eighth inning before Heath Hembree locked down the ninth.

After Chris Sale's scoreless inning to start the game, the Sox pieced things together starting with a perfect second inning from Brandon Workman. Nathan Eovaldi came on to pitch a solid three innings before ultimately allowing the Blue Jays only two runs in the sixth.

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