It’s been a stressful past few days for the Boston Red Sox, but the ballclub finally got to exhale Saturday afternoon.
While the New York Yankees made things very interesting, the Red Sox clinched their second consecutive American League East championship with a 6-3 win over the Houston Astros.
Boston received a tremendous outing from Drew Pomeranz, who only allowed one run on three hits over six innings. The Sox’s bats were solid in support of Pomeranz, and the bullpen turned in a strong performance to lock down the win, capped off by Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.
After the game, the Red Sox’s closer explained just how sweet it is to win a division title after a grueling season.
“It’s great,” Kimbrel said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “This is what you look forward to at the beginning of the year. It’s a long season, there’s a lot of fight and a lot of tiredness, a lot of things we’ve worked through. To be able to do this at the end of the year, it’s very gratifying.”
Doug Fister, who’s been a part of four division-winning clubs over the course of his nine-year career, echoed Kimbrel’s sentiments.
“Guys have fought hard all year long — blood, sweat and tears together,” Fister said. “It comes down to a moment like this, nobody can ever take this away. We’re going to cherish this moment.”
Boston has received tremendous efforts from its young players all season, including Andrew Benintendi. The 23-year-old was called up to the big leagues towards the tail end of the last season, and was with the Red Sox through the 2016 ALDS. While the outfielder has experienced considerable success early in his young career, he’s making sure to appreciate the moment
“It’s awesome,” Benintendi said. “Coming up last year, playing for those two months and be able to do that last year and then be up here for the full season this year, it’s something you don’t take for granted. You try to enjoy every second of it.”
The Red Sox now turn their sights to the postseason, with Chris Sale likely getting the start in Game 1 of the ALDS in Houston on Thursday. The veteran left-hander never has pitched in the playoffs, and it’s safe to say he’s excited about October baseball.
“This is awesome,” Sale said. “A lot of hard work, a lot of dedication. Not only for the players, but for the coaches and everybody involved. This is the best.”
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Astros:
— This is Boston’s ninth A.L. East title in franchise history, and the first time the team has won back-to-back A.L. East crowns since division play was introduced in 1969.
— John Farrell became the first Red Sox manager to lead the team to as many as three division titles.
— David Price logged an inning in relief, tossing a scoreless frame with two strikeouts. In 8 2/3 innings out of the bullpen this season, the left-hander only has allowed five baserunners to go along with 13 strikeouts.
— Andrew Benintendi stole his 20th base of the season, making him just the third Red Sox rookie in franchise history to to post a 20 home run-20 steal season.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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