Tue, Oct 04, 2016 - Page 16 News List

Blue Jays beat Red Sox to host AL wild-card playoff

AP, BOSTON

Aaron Sanchez said he did not know — and did not care — that the Blue Jays had already clinched a spot in baseball’s post-season.

Toronto still had a chance to host the AL wild-card game, and Sanchez wanted the win.

“I wasn’t ready to go home,” he said after the Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 2-1 in the regular-season finale on Sunday to claim the AL’s top wild-card berth. “For it to come down to [game] 162, and me being out there ... there was a lot at stake in that game. And it was in my hands.”

Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh, and Troy Tulowitzki singled to break an eighth-inning tie.

Roberto Osuna retired David Ortiz on a weak nubber in front of the plate on the final regular season at-bat of his career, and then got Jackie Bradley Jr on a groundout with two on to finish the game.

The Blue Jays had a muted celebration on the field, then popped champagne in the visitor’s clubhouse at Fenway Park.

“I’m [usually] straight-faced, but that was fun out there,” Tulowitzki said.

Toronto clinched a spot in the post-season when Detroit lost to Atlanta 1-0 earlier on Sunday evening. With their win in Boston, the Blue Jays earned the right to host the Baltimore Orioles in a one-game playoff today.

The Red Sox are to start their AL Division Series against the Indians on Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio.

“We’ve been able to win on the road and that’s where our playoff journey begins,” manager John Farrell said.

Pitching with Jose Fernandez’s initials on his hat in tribute to the Marlins pitcher who died last week, Sanchez held Boston hitless until Hanley Ramirez’s disputed home run with two outs in the seventh. The ball sailed over the foul pole above the Green Monster.

Sanchez tried to wave the ball foul and then yelled to the umpire: “No way!” However, the replay upheld the original call.

“For me, it looked foul,” he said, but added that it did not matter as long as the Blue Jays won.

Xander Bogaerts followed with a single — the only other hit allowed by Sanchez, who lowered his ERA to 3.00 and clinched the AL title. In all, Sanchez (15-2) allowed one run, walking two, striking out six and hitting a batter.

“You have to give credit to Sanchez. He was [the] one today,” Ortiz said. “That’s the best I’ve ever seen him.”

The Blue Jays took the lead back in the eighth against Brad Ziegler (2-4) when Tulowitzki singled with runners on first and third. Toronto’s other run came on Devon Travis’ solo homer in the fifth.

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