Sox Clinch Home Field Despite Series Loss
The Boston Red Sox were in Baltimore for the final series of the regular season, clinching home field advantage throughout the 2013 postseason on Saturday when the Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics.
Despite scoring 23 runs in the three-game set, the Red Sox still dropped two games to the Orioles, finishing the season tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in baseball, 97-65.
Boston routed the O’s in the first game on Friday by a score of 12-3. Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz tossed seven innings, allowing three runs and moving to 12-1 on the season. Both Daniel Nava and David Ortiz had three-run home runs for Boston, and second baseman Dustin Pedroia also added three hits.
On Saturday, Baltimore bested the Sox by a score of 6-5. Boston starter Jon Lester gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings. Orioles’ outfielder Steve Pearce drove in the go-ahead runs in the eighth inning, which proved to be the decisive blow.
The Red Sox sent young Allen Webster to the mound for the last game of the season, giving John Lackey some needed rest. Boston’s bats got off to a hot start Sunday, as the Red Sox jumped out to a 5-0 lead early on.
Jacoby Ellsbury started Sunday’s game with a lead-off home run, the tenth of his career, which broke the club record held by Dom DiMaggio and Tommy Haper.
Webster tossed three hitless innings before being relieved by Felix Doubront in the fourth. Doubront fell apart in the fifth, and the Orioles came all the way back to eventually best the Red Sox, 7-6.
Baltimore closer Jim Johnson secured his second straight 50-save season, only the second pitcher in MLB to do so. Eric Gagne had back-to-back seasons with 50+ saves in 2002 and 2003.
With the series win, the Orioles became the only team in the AL East to win their season series with Boston.
The Red Sox also ended the season with 39 consecutive successful stolen base attempts. Boston was 123 for 142 (86.6 percent) for the season, which, according to ESPN, is the best by an AL team since the statistic has been tracked in the league, beginning in 1920.
Boston will host the first game of the ALDS on Friday at Fenway Park against the winner of the AL Wild Card game—either the Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians or Texas Rangers.