The Boston Red Sox on Monday walked off the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays for a second straight game to win their American League division series with a thrilling 6-5 home victory at Fenway Park.
Enrique Hernandez’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning brought home Danny Santana to score the winning run, as the Red Sox clinched a 3-1 series victory over last year’s World Series runners-up.
It was a bitter finale for the Rays, who had battled back from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game at 5-5 in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox had roared into the lead in the bottom of the third inning, with Rafael Devers blasting a two-out three-run homer off Shane McClanahan.
Alex Verdugo then smashed a double off Fenway’s famous Green Monster to score Xander Bogaerts for 4-0 before J.D. Martinez singled to send Verdugo home for a five-run lead.
The Rays’ finally got on the board in the fifth inning, when Austin Meadows ground out to score Jordan Luplow and Wander Franco’s two-run homer cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth.
The Rays leveled it in the eighth with hits from Kevin Kiermaier and Randy Arozarena.
The Red Sox will play either the Houston Astros or the Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series for a place in the World Series.
The Astros lead that series 2-1 and could punch their ticket with victory over the White Sox yesterday in game four, which was postponed earlier on Monday due to inclement weather in Chicago.
In other playoff action on Monday, Joc Pederson blasted a three-run homer as the Atlanta Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 to take a 2-1 lead in their National League division series.
Pederson’s fifth-inning shot deep into right field off Brewers’ reliever Adrian Houser means that Atlanta could wrap up the series yesterday with a home victory in game four at Truist Park.
Braves pitcher Ian Anderson laid the foundation for the win, restricting the Brewers to three hits through five scoreless innings with six strikeouts.
The Braves bullpen then finished the job, shutting down the Brewers bats over the final four innings to seal victory.
It was another clutch home run for Pederson, who was traded to the Braves from the Chicago Cubs in July.
The winner of the Braves-Brewers series next faces either the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers and Giants were playing in Los Angeles on Monday with the series tied at 1-1.
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