Final, Orioles 7-6: The Red Sox made it very interesting in the ninth inning, but a double play with the tying run 90 feet away ended the game.
David Ortiz singled with one out in the ninth, and moved up to second base on a wild pitch. Mike Napoli drove him in with a base hit to cut Baltimore’s lead to 7-6.
Jackie Bradley Jr. pinch ran for Napoli, and went from first to third on Mike Carp’s single through the right side. Will Middlebrooks grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, though, and Jim Johnson earned his 50th save of the season.
The biggest story of Sunday’s series finale was the ineffectiveness of Felix Doubront out of the bullpen. Doubront gave up five earned runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings. He walked three and threw 55 pitches while allowing the Orioles to battle back from a 5-0 deficit.
The regular season is now officially in the books. The Red Sox will open up their postseason slate Friday at Fenway Park. They’ll face the winner of the wild card game.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Orioles 7-5: Nick Markakis doubled with two outs in the eighth inning. Koji Uehara otherwise took care of business.
Orioles closer Jim Johnson will now take over with a two-run lead. He’s seeking his 50th save of the season.
Mid 8th, Orioles 7-5: Jim Johnson might have a shot at his 50th save of the season.
The Red Sox went down in order in the eighth inning, and the Orioles will enter the ninth inning with a lead. It’s a matter of how big that lead will be, although with Koji Uehara coming on, there’s a good chance that the score will stay 7-5.
Jonny Gomes pinch hit for John McDonald in the eighth inning. He flied out to center field for the first out.
Quintin Berry and Jacoby Ellsbury represented the second and third outs, respectively.
End 7th, Orioles 7-5: Craig Breslow used a 6-4-3 double play to exit the seventh inning.
Breslow started his day by striking out Nate McLouth. McLouth took a big hack at a 2-2 fastball and foul tipped it into Ryan Lavarnway’s mitt.
Danny Valencia ripped a single into center field, but Breslow got Steve Clevenger to bounce to Xander Bogaerts at short.
4:34 p.m., Orioles 7-5: The Rays have defeated the Blue Jays 7-6.
The Indians lead the Twins 5-1 in the eighth inning, and the Rangers lead the Angels 2-1 in the fifth inning.
Mid 7th, Orioles 7-5: Steve Pearce almost made a terrific diving catch in the seventh inning. Instead, Mike Carp ended up with a double.
The Red Sox couldn’t cash in on Carp’s two-bagger.
Will Middlebrooks joined Mike Napoli in striking out in the seventh inning. Ryan Lavarnway grounded out to short to end the inning.
Craig Breslow will head to the mound with Boston still trailing by two runs.
End 6th, Orioles 7-5: Ryan Flaherty upped Baltimore’s lead to 7-5 with an RBI double down the right field line.
Ryan Dempster entered with Brian Roberts on third base and one out, and got J.J. Hardy to ground to short with the infield pulled in. Flaherty then delivered the double, and the Red Sox now face a two-run deficit.
Jason Hammel will be the new O’s pitcher in the seventh inning.
4:08 p.m., Orioles 6-5: The Orioles have grabbed a 6-5 lead.
Jonathan Schoop led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single against Rubby De La Rosa. John Farrell then turned to Matt Thornton, who is trying to earn himself a playoff roster spot.
Thornton didn’t impress in this one, though. Brian Roberts greeted Thornton with a double, and Schoop scored from third base when the left-hander delivered a wild pitch.
Thornton got Nick Markakis to ground to short with the infield in, but Farrell will now make another pitching change.
Ryan Dempster will take over with Roberts on third base and one out.
Mid 6th, 5-5: The Red Sox left ‘em loaded in the sixth inning.
T.J. McFarland was the new Orioles pitcher after Chris Tillman went the first five innings. He ran into some trouble.
John McDonald walked with one. McDonald, who is known for his glove, has been on base three times in this game.
Quintin Berry then dropped a bunt up the first base line. Ryan Flaherty had to hurry to make a tag, and Berry dived in safely at first base as McDonald took second.
McDonald advanced to third base when Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to right field, and Xander Bogaerts loaded the bases with a two-out walk.
McFarland got out of the jam by retiring David Ortiz on a sharp grounder to first base.
End 5th, 5-5: Rubby De La Rosa took over for Felix Doubront and escaped the inning with the score tied 5-5.
Doubront was brutal in the fifth inning after tossing a scoreless fourth inning. The lefty gave up five earned runs on five hits in his 1 1/3 innings of work. He struck out two, walked three and threw 55 pitches.
That might very well be the last we see of Doubront this season.
3:36 p.m., 5-5: Felix Doubront probably just pitched himself off the Red Sox’ postseason roster.
Doubront’s status was up in the air before this game, but after an awful showing in the fifth inning, it’s hard to imagine the left-hander making the cut.
Doubront gave up back-to-back singles to Steve Clevenger and Jonathan Schoop to begin the fifth, and Nick Markakis walked to load the bases with one out.
J.J. Hardy put Baltimore on the scoreboard with a ground-rule double that plated two runs, and Ryan Flaherty made it 5-3 with a blooper into left-center field.
After Steve Pearce walked, Nate McLouth knocked Doubront from the game and tied the score at five apiece with a double down the right field line.
John Farrell is now turning to Rubby De La Rosa with one out in the fifth.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 5-0: The Red Sox left Mike Napoli at second base in the fifth inning.
Napoli walked with one out, and moved up to second base when a pitch got away from catcher Steve Clevenger. Chris Tillman induced back-to-back flyouts to keep the score 5-0.
Mike Carp and Will Middlebrooks both flied out to Steve Pearce in left field.
End 4th, Red Sox 5-0: Felix Doubront took over after Allen Webster went the first three innings.
Doubront, who is on the fence in terms of an ALDS roster spot, tossed a scoreless inning despite issuing a one-out walk.
Ryan Flaherty led off with a ground ball up the first base line that stayed fair. Mike Napoli grabbed it in front of the bag and recorded the out.
Steve Pearce walked with one down before Doubront retired Nate McLouth and Danny Valencia. McLouth struck out looking on a borderline pitch on the outside corner, and Valencia flied out to left-center field.
Webster didn’t allow a hit during his three innings of work. He settled down nicely after navigating around three first-inning walks. The right-hander threw 49 total pitches, and 34 of them came in the first inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 5-0: That’s a tough way for Chris Davis’ special season to end.
Davis left the game in the fourth inning after suffering an injury on a play at first base that ended with Boston adding its fifth run.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled with one out in the fourth. It shot past Davis and into right field. Nick Markakis scooped it in shallow right field and tried to throw out Saltalamacchia at first base, but his throw to a covering Chris Tillman wasn’t in time.
John McDonald followed with a line drive into center field for his second hit of the game.
Quintin Berry struck out swinging for the second out, and Jacoby Ellsbury hit a dribbler in front of the plate. Catcher Steve Clevenger charged out from behind the dish to make a play. He needed to hurry, and his throw to first base hit Ellsbury. Meanwhile, Ellsbury ran into Davis’ glove hand, which forced the first baseman to drop his mitt in pain. Davis ended up exiting the game, and Ryan Flaherty entered to play first base.
Saltalamacchia scored on Ellsbury’s roller. Ellsbury was awarded a single, and he took second base on what was ruled a throwing error by Clevenger.
Felix Doubront will be the Red Sox’ new pitcher in the fourth inning.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: Allen Webster breezed through the third inning.
Webster, who threw 34 pitches in an eventful first inning, needed just five pitches to work a perfect third.
Brian Roberts grounded to first base, and Nick Markakis flied to left field.
J.J. Hardy ended the inning with a bullet to third base. Will Middlebrooks leaped while hauling it in.
Webster hasn’t allowed a hit through three innings despite his erratic control early on. Felix Doubront is warming up in the bullpen, though, so the rookie might not last too long in this game.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: Chris Tillman got touched up in the first two innings. He finally got things under control in the third inning.
David Ortiz drilled a sky-high fly ball for the first out. It took Nick Markakis back to deep right, but it didn’t pose too much of a problem.
Tillman struck out Mike Napoli for the second out. The right-hander finished the strikeout with a good-looking curveball.
Mike Carp grounded to second base for out No. 3.
End 2nd, Red Sox 4-0: Allen Webster settled down nicely in the second inning.
Webster, who worked around three walks to throw a scoreless first inning, enjoyed a 1-2-3 second.
Danny Valencia struck out for the first out. Steve Clevenger and Jonathan Schoop then grounded out.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 4-0: Quintin Berry isn’t just a one-trick pony.
Berry, whose main job is to wreak havoc on the bases, swatted a two-run homer in the second inning. It was the third homer of his career, and his first since July 22, 2012.
Berry’s blast was a two-run shot, as John McDonald singled with one out. McDonald’s base hit was his first as a member of the Red Sox.
Chris Tillman struck out Jacoby Ellsbury with a fastball on the inside corner, and then got Xander Bogaerts to pop out into foul territory to end the inning.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: It was a major struggle. Somehow, Allen Webster avoided any damage, though.
Webster issued three walks and threw 34 pitches in the first inning. He also kept the Orioles scoreless.
Webster walked Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis to begin the inning. Webster’s first seven pitches were balls, and he threw one strike to Markakis before walking him on the fifth pitch.
J.J. Hardy struck out after the two free passes. He saw seven pitches and went down swinging on a fastball down and in.
Chris Davis put up a terrific battle with one out. He saw 11 pitches — fouling off five in a row at one point — and walked to load the bases.
Webster got out of the bases-loaded jam by retiring Steve Pearce and Nate McLouth. Pearce popped out to Xander Bogaerts in shallow left field for the second out, and McLouth grounded to Bogaerts for the third out.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Jacoby Ellsbury got the Red Sox off to a good start.
Ellsbury drilled his ninth home run of the season on Chris Tillman’s fourth pitch of the game. He jacked a 2-1 cutter into the seats in right-center field.
The Red Sox weren’t done, as David Ortiz singled into left field and Mike Napoli doubled to center. Mike Carp knocked in Ortiz from third base with a ground ball back past the mound.
Allen Webster will head to the mound with a two-run lead.
1:40 p.m.: Chris Tillman delivers a first-pitch strike. Game No. 162 is underway.
1:36 p.m.: The Rays have jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning in Toronto.
12:51 p.m.: Not only have the Red Sox (97-64) secured the AL’s best record, but they’re guaranteed at least a share of the best record in baseball. The Cardinals (96-65) can tie the Red Sox with a win and a Boston loss.
The last time that the Red Sox held an MLB-best record outright was 1946, when Boston finished 104-50. The Red Sox tied for the best record in 2007, when they finished 96-66.
For more on classic Red Sox teams, visit BostonFanFavorites.com.
12:43 p.m.: Sunday marks an important day for the Indians, Rays and Rangers, who are battling for the two American League wild card spots.
The Rays are playing in Toronto at 1:07 p.m. The Indians are playing in Minnesota at 2:10 p.m. The Rangers are hosting the Angels at 3:05 p.m.
The Indians enter the day with a one-game lead over both the Rays and Rangers, and things have the potential to get very complicated. No matter what happens, though, the Red Sox have put themselves into a very favorable position.
12:03 p.m.: There will still be some regulars in Sunday’s lineup. Check out the lineup cards below.
Red Sox (97-64)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Mike Carp, LF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
John McDonald, 2B
Quintin Berry, RF
Allen Webster, RHP (1-2, 9.55 ERA)
Brian Roberts, DH
Nick Markakis, RF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Chris Davis, 1B
Steve Pearce, LF
Nate McLouth, CF
Danny Valencia, 3B
Steve Clevenger, C
Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Chris Tillman, RHP (16-7, 3.62 ERA)
11:30 a.m.: John Lackey was originally scheduled to start Sunday’s game. Now that the game doesn’t mean anything, the Red Sox will turn to rookie Allen Webster.
Webster has made seven appearances this season, including six starts. His last start came against the Mariners on July 9, and he allowed seven earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old has tremendous potential, though, and we’ll get to see how he handles one more outing this season. Overall, Webster is 1-2 with a 9.55 ERA in big league action this year.
8 a.m. ET: We’ve finally arrived at Game No. 162. Fortunately for the Red Sox, they’ll be playing beyond the season finale. The Orioles, on the other hand, will call it a season after Sunday’s game.
Sunday’s game doesn’t mean much — or anything, really — for the Red Sox. Boston secured the American League’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by virtue of Oakland losing to Seattle on Saturday, so Sunday’s contest really just marks a final tune-up before October baseball commences.
The real action Sunday will involve the Rays, Indians and Rangers. The Red Sox will play one of those teams in the ALDS, and things have the potential to get really complicated between now and Friday’s Game 1.
In any event, Sunday’s Red Sox-Orioles action will kick off at 1:35 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and stick around right here.