Red Sox Wrap: Brad Ziegler’s Shaky Eighth Dooms Boston, Which Loses ALDS Home Field


BOSTON — The Red Sox certainly weren’t looking to send off David Ortiz the way they did Sunday.

Boston dropped Big Papi’s final regular-season game at Fenway Park, 2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays, after reliever Brad Ziegler gave up the winning run in the eighth inning.

The Red Sox had gotten themselves back into the game in the previous half-inning, thanks to Hanley Ramirez’s 30th home run of the season, but it went for naught when they couldn’t come back in the final two frames.

More importantly, the Red Sox (93-69) lost home-field advantage for the American League Division Series, in which they will face the Cleveland Indians this coming week.

The Blue Jays (89-73) claimed a spot in the AL Wild Card Game with the win, and they will host the AL East rival Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. The winner will face the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.

Here’s how Sunday’s game all went down.


Neither the Red Sox nor the Blue Jays wanted to let this game slip through their fingers. Runs were at a premium, as Toronto managed to score on a solo home run before Ramirez broke up Jays starter Aaron Sanchez’s no-hitter with his own solo shot in the seventh.

The Red Sox couldn’t make a ninth-inning comeback.

Boston had Mookie Betts, Ortiz and Ramirez up to begin the final frame, but the sluggers couldn’t bring in a run.

— It wasn’t David Price’s worst day on the mound, but it also wasn’t his best. The Red Sox left-hander minimized the damage, but he wasn’t at his most efficient as he threw 80 pitches over five innings, 50 of which were for strikes. Price’s one big mistake was giving up a solo home run to Toronto second baseman Devon Travis in the top of the fifth inning, giving the Blue Jays a lead.

Price finished the day with one run allowed on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts over five frames.

— Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree came on in the sixth and pitched a clean inning, save for a two-out single by Russell Martin.

— Robbie Ross Jr. got the call for Boston in the seventh and gave up a one-out double to Kevin Pillar before getting Ezequiel Carrera to ground out. Matt Barnes took the mound for the final out and induced another groundout, this time from Travis.

— It was a rough eighth inning for Ziegler. The Red Sox right-hander gave up a single to Josh Donaldson to begin the frame and walked Edwin Encarnacion before getting Jose Bautista to ground into a double play. Ziegler then gave up singles to Martin and Troy Tulowitzki to bring in the go-ahead run before being yanked.

— Drew Pomeranz relieved Ziegler and struck out Michael Saunders. The left-hander came back out in the ninth and allowed Carrera to reach on an error but otherwise shut down the Blue Jays.

— Ramirez broke up Sanchez’s no-hitter with a towering solo shot in the seventh inning, his 30th of the season. The first baseman went 1-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a walk.

— Xander Bogaerts collected Boston’s second hit with a single in the seventh and finished the game 2-for-4.

— Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (0-for-2) and catcher Sandy Leon (0-for-1) each drew a walk. Jackie Bradley Jr. (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning.

Chris Young pinch-hit for Leon in the ninth and singled and stole a base.

— Ortiz, Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt all went 0-for-4.

Ramirez’s home run made Red Sox history.

The Red Sox will open the postseason Thursday in Game 1 of their American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians. Rick Porcello will start for the Red Sox against Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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