Final, Red Sox 3-1: John Lackey tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to put the finishing touches on an absolute gem.
Lackey carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and he ended up surrendering just one run on two hits while guiding the Red Sox to a 3-1 win. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two while throwing 113 pitches (82 strikes).
More importantly, the Red Sox are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They punched their ticket to the postseason with the win.
Stephen Drew powered the offense with a two-run homer in the second inning. The Sox added another run in that inning when Dustin Pedroia’s RBI single plated Jackie Bradley Jr. Drew, Pedroia and Bradley each had two hits in the victory.
The Red Sox didn’t celebrate much upon clinching a playoff spot, as they’re more focused on winning the division crown and doing damage in October. The crowd was certainly loving it, though, as chants of, “Lackey! Lackey!” filled the Fenway air during the ninth inning.
The Red Sox will kick off a three-game set with the Blue Jays on Friday. Jon Lester will face Esmil Rogers in the series opener, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Red Sox 3-1: Darren O’Day and Brian Matusz combined to toss a scoreless eighth inning for the Orioles.
John Lackey will now look to finish what he started. Lackey is coming back out to begin the ninth inning after eight fantastic innings thus far.
9:20 p.m., Red Sox 3-1: Want to predict what is going to happen next? The MLB PrePlay app allows you to predict every play of every game. By correctly selecting the outcome of every at-bat in real time, you’re able to earn points.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-1: The Orioles added their second hit in the eighth inning. This one was far less emphatic.
J.J. Hardy shot a single into right field with one out. John Lackey bounced back to retire the next two hitters, and John Farrell now has a decision to make.
Lackey has thrown 100 pitches through eight innings. Craig Breslow was warming up in the eighth inning, and a two-run lead in the ninth inning typically means we’ll see Koji Uehara. However, Lackey has been dealing, and his pitch count might enable him to try to finish what he started.
We’ll see if Lackey comes back out for the ninth. The Red Sox could make the decision a little bit easier, though, by tacking on some runs in the bottom of the eighth.
End 7th, Red Sox 3-1: Chris Tillman deserves credit for hanging tough.
The Red Sox scored three runs in the second inning and started to knock Tillman around early. The right-hander battled, though, and he has now given the Orioles seven strong innings and kept them in this game.
Tillman tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning after Adam Jones broke up John Lackey’s no-hit bid in the top half of the inning.
Dustin Pedroia grounded out and Daniel Nava struck out. David Ortiz then put good wood on the ball, but it was right at Manny Machado, who was located on the right side of the infield as part of the defensive shift.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-1: John Lackey lost his no-hitter and his shutout on one pitch.
Chris Davis grounded out to begin the seventh inning. The drama was really starting to build at Fenway, but Adam Jones quickly put an end to it.
Jones absolutely crushed a solo homer over everything in left field to give Baltimore its first hit and get the Orioles on the scoreboard. It took 6 1/3 innings for the O’s to finally solve Lackey.
Lackey, who would certainly love to have that pitch back, received a standing ovation after Jones’ homer.
Lackey has thrown 91 pitches thus far. He’s still in great shape despite limited run support, and it’s important that he shake off the seventh-inning hiccup in the eighth inning.
End 6th, Red Sox 3-0: Stephen Drew has the most difficult aspects of the cycle out of the way.
Drew, who homered in the second inning, tripled into the triangle in the sixth inning. The Red Sox failed to score, though, and the score remains 3-0.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded to second base and Will Middlebrooks lined to short before Drew took aim at the right-center field gap.
Jackie Bradley Jr., who has two hits, stepped up with Drew 90 feet away. Chris Tillman struck him out to end the inning.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-0: John Lackey still hasn’t given up a hit.
Lackey walked Nate McLouth with two outs — giving the Orioles their second baserunner of the game — but that was all. The right-hander has been rolling right along through the first six innings.
Manny Machado made solid contact with two outs in the sixth inning. He drilled a ball to right-center field, but got under it a bit too much and Daniel Nava hauled it in.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: The Red Sox went down in order on three flyouts in the fifth inning.
David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Mike Carp provided a trio of loud outs. Adam Jones hauled in the first flyball in center field, and Nick Markakis took care of the next two in right field.
John Lackey now heads back to the hill with the Orioles still looking for their first hit.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Don’t shoot the messenger. But the Orioles still don’t have a hit, folks.
John Lackey tossed another perfect frame in the fifth, and Brian Roberts’ two-out walk in the third inning remains Baltimore’s only baserunner.
Nick Markakis sent one to deep left-center field to lead off the fifth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr., who has had a good night at the plate, drifted back to make the play.
Lackey then struck out Danny Valencia for the second out. Valencia chased a cutter in the dirt.
Matt Wieters, who shattered his bat while fouling a pitch off, ended the inning with a ground ball back to Lackey.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Jackie Bradley Jr. is having a nice night in place of Shane Victorino.
Bradley singled with one out in the fourth inning. He’s now 2-for-2 with a single, a double and a run scored.
The Red Sox couldn’t do anything with Bradley’s fourth-inning knock, though. Dustin Pedroia hit a sky-high popup into shallow center field for the second out, and Daniel Nava grounded to second base to end the inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-0: John Lackey has been cruising.
Lackey has only given up one baserunner thus far, and it was a two-out walk to Brian Roberts in the third inning. Lackey tossed a 1-2-3 fourth inning.
Manny Machado and Chris Davis both put the ball on the ground. Machado grounded to short and Davis grounded to second base.
Adam Jones put the ball into the air, but it was easily snagged by Daniel Nava in right field.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Nick Markakis made a great play to start the bottom of the third. It kept Mike Carp off the bases and set the tone for an easy inning.
Carp ripped a sinking line drive to right field. It looked like it had a chance to get down for a hit, but Markakis raced in, laid out and made an excellent grab.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who doubled in the second inning, struck out swinging for the second out.
Will Middlebrooks also sent one in Markakis’ direction, although his flyball required a routine grab for the final out.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: John Lackey has kept things under control thus far.
The Orioles got their first baserunner in the third inning, as Brian Roberts walked with two outs. It was the only noise Baltimore made.
Lackey struck out Matt Wieters to begin the inning, and then got J.J. Hardy on a flyout to left field before Roberts’ walk. The right-hander end the inning by getting Nate McLouth to ground to second base.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Stephen Drew grounded into a double play in his final at-bat Wednesday. He homered in his first at-bat in this game.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia yanked a line drive into the right field corner to lead off the bottom of the second inning. Salty hustled out of the box and actually took a brief turn around second base before throwing on the brakes. It was an awkward turn — made possible by the ball rattling around in the corner a bit — but it was a turn, nonetheless.
Drew followed Will Middlebrooks’ strikeout with a two-run dinger to left field. It landed on top of the wall and into the first row of Monster seats for Drew’s 13th home run of the season.
Jackie Bradley Jr. went right to work after Drew’s homer. He sent an offspeed offering into the left field corner for a one-out double.
Dustin Pedroia, who doubled in the first inning, knocked in Bradley with an RBI single. Tillman tried to go down and away, and Pedroia reached out and poked it into right-center field. Nick Markakis came up firing and delivered a good throw, but Bradley slid in just ahead of the tag.
Pedroia took second base on Markakis’ throw and Daniel Nava followed with a walk, but Tillman avoided any additional damage by striking out David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: John Lackey was sharp in the second inning.
Lackey struck out Adam Jones and Nick Markakis to begin the frame. Both strikeouts came swinging for Lackey, who has been sitting at around 92-94 mph with his fastball.
Danny Valencia ripped a line drive to right field for the third and final out.
End 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox lost Wednesday because they couldn’t capitalize on numerous scoring chances. The trend carried over into the first inning of this one.
Dustin Pedroia led off with a lined shot into the right-center field gap. It touched down on the warning track and kicked up over the fence for a ground-rule double.
Daniel Nava drilled a comebacker that deflected off pitcher Chris Tillman and over toward short. J.J. Hardy made the play from there as Pedroia took third.
David Ortiz put up an eight-pitch battle against Tillman that ended with a walk, putting runners at the corners with one out.
Mike Napoli struck out swinging for the second out. He chased a 1-2 pitch out of the zone. Mike Carp ended the inning with a line drive to left field that hung up long enough for Nate McLouth to reel it in.
Mid 1st, 0-0: John Lackey started off on the right foot.
Lackey retired the side in order in the first inning. He capped the 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout of Chris Davis, who delivered the game-winning hit Wednesday.
Nate McLouth led off with a groundout to second base and Manny Machado grounded to short before Davis went down swinging at a 94 mph fastball.
7:12 p.m.: Nate McLouth grounded the game’s first pitch right at Dustin Pedroia. One pitch. One out.
5:43 p.m.: OK, so here’s the deal when it comes to the Red Sox clinching a playoff spot tonight.
The Red Sox must win in order to clinch at least a wild card spot. The Indians losing, essentially, is irrelevant. The Orioles would move ahead of the Indians with a win and a Cleveland loss, thus changing things.
5:06 p.m.: Need further proof that this is a loose bunch?
David Ortiz stormed into John Farrell’s pregame news conference Thursday — just as he did two years ago during one of Terry Francona’s news conferences. Only this time, Ortiz was kidding. After acting like he was going to complain about the scorekeeper again, Ortiz turned to the media and said, “I’m just [f******] with you.”
5:02 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury said Wednesday that he’s “very confident” he’ll return before the playoffs. Ellsbury still hasn’t resumed baseball activities, though, and there isn’t an exact timetable for his return.
4:58 p.m.: Here’s a look at how the Red Sox’ rotation is shaking up for their weekend series against the Blue Jays.
Friday: Jon Lester
Saturday: Clay Buchholz
Sunday: Felix Doubront
4:50 p.m.: Shane Victorino left Wednesday’s game in the 12th inning with a jammed right thumb. John Farrell said that he’s currently day-to-day.
Jackie Bradley Jr., who pinch hit for Victorino on Wednesday, will start in center field and bat ninth Thursday. Mike Carp will get the start in left field and bat fifth.
Thursday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (92-61)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Daniel Nava, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Mike Carp, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
John Lackey, RHP (9-12, 3.56 ERA)
Nate McLouth, LF
Manny Machado, 3B
Chris Davis, 1B
Adam Jones, CF
Nick Markakis, RF
Danny Valencia, DH
Matt Wieters, C
J.J. Hardy, SS
Brian Roberts, 2B
Chris Tillman, RHP (16-6, 3.70 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox were unable to punch their ticket to the postseason Wednesday. They’ll give it another whirl against the Orioles on Thursday.
Boston’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to one, while its magic number to clinch the AL East sits at three. The Red Sox also have an opportunity over their final nine games to lock up home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason. They enter Thursday’s contest with an MLB-best 92-61 (.601) record. The next-best AL team is Oakland at 89-63 (.586).
Boston has lost two in a row to Baltimore, though. John Lackey will look to get the Red Sox back on track Thursday. He’ll go up against Chris Tillman, who has had success against the Sox this season.
Thursday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN and keep it right here with NESN.com’s live blog.