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Red Sox Claim AL’s Top Wild Card Spot With Dramatic 7-5 Win Over Nationals; Will Host Yankees On Tuesday Night

CBS Boston
CBS Boston
 2021-10-03

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BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox needed all 162 games of the regular season to claim the top AL Wild Card spot, but they did so in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon.

For much of the day on Sunday, it looked like Boston would need to play a 163rd game to have a shot at the postseason. But the team rallied from a 5-1 deficit against the Washington Nationals to earn a 7-5 victory and series sweep, thanks to the big bat of third baseman Rafael Devers.

Devers broke up a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth with a monster 447-foot two-run homer to center, his second blast of the day. He drove in four of Boston’s seven runs on the afternoon to send the Red Sox to the postseason.

Boston will now host the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card game Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Both teams finished the regular season with 92-70 records, but Boston owned the tie-breaker over the Yankees after winning the season series 10-9.

The Red Sox trailed 5-2 in the top of the seventh but rallied to tie the game. Devers slapped an RBI single to make it 5-3, and a few batters later, Alex Verdugo ripped a two-run double to knot things at 5-5.

Devers also mashed a solo homer in the top of the fourth that traveled 432 feet. He finishes the season with a career-high 38 homers to go with 113 RBIs on the season.

Boston starter Chris Sale lasted just 2.1 innings on Sunday, and got the hook from Alex Cora after walking in a run in the bottom of the third to give Washington a 2-0 lead. The Nationals added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth off Garrett Richards, two of which came off a double by Alex Avila, who is set to retire after Sunday’s game.

Boston’s win capped off a wild final day of the regular season in the American League. The Yankees walked off for a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, clinching their spot in the postseason, while the Toronto Blue Jays kept pace with a 12-4 win over the Orioles. Had Boston lost, the Red Sox would have had to play a play-in game against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Monday night for the right to face the Yankees on Tuesday.

But thanks to a some big swings by Devers on Sunday, Boston is now preparing for a home playoff game. Nathan Eovaldi will start for the Red Sox, opposed by Gerrit Cole for the Yankees.

The winner of Tuesday’s Wild Card game will advance to the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays.

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