For the first time since 2007, the Boston Red Sox have won the American League East after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays last at Fenway Park 6-3.
John Lester pitched 7 innings of one-run ball holding the last place Jays to 5 hits while striking out 8. Lester picked up his 15th win of the season and the 100th of his career.
Entering the bottom of the 7th inning, the Sox were clinging to a 2-1 lead. That’s when David Ortiz knocked in Jackie Bradley Jr. to make it 3-1, and Mike Carp followed by knocking in 2 more with a bases loaded single to extend Boston’s lead to 5-1.
Toronto responded in the top of the 8th when Adam Lind drilled a pinch-hit 2-run home-run to bring the Jays right back in it.
Dustin Pedroia made sure that was as close as Toronto would get though. In the bottom of the 8th, Pedroia singled in Will Middlebrooks to make the score 6-3. Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth inning striking out Brett Lawrie to end it.
Winning the division is quite the turnaround for the Sox, who finished dead last in the AL East last season with a 69-93 record. It’s also the first time in 4 seasons that Boston is heading to the playoffs.
This season should help Boston fans forget the epic collapse in 2011 when the Red Sox blew a 9-game September Wild-Card lead to miss the playoffs on the last day of the season.
All Boston has left to play for now is clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Sox currently have a 2.5 game lead over Oakland for the right to make the path to the World Series travel through Fenway Park with 7 games remaining.