The Boston Red Sox will be playing this October.
Thanks to some timely hitting from Brock Holt, the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 in the series opener of a three-game set at Fenway Park on Tuesday, clinching a playoff berth in the process.
Down 2-1 with two outs in the seventh inning, Holt stepped in as a pinch-hitter and drilled a three-run shot to put the Red Sox ahead.
Chris Sale made his first start in nearly a month, serving as the “opener” in what was a bullpen game for Red Sox, who used eight pitchers in the win.
With the victory, the Red Sox climbed to 99-46, while the Blue Jays fell to 65-79.
Here’s how it went down:
GAME IN A WORD
It was only fitting the Red Sox gave themselves a playoff berth by way of an incredibly exciting victory.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale made his return to the mound after being activated from the disabled list earlier Tuesday, and he eased himself back into things.
Tossing just one inning, the left-hander allowed no runs on one hit with two strikeouts. His velocity wasn’t as high as it usually is and he threw 26 pitches in the lone frame of work, but that partially was to be expected since he hasn’t pitched in a game since Aug. 12.
— Brandon Workman took over in the second inning and tossed a hitless, scoreless stanza with one walk and one strikeout.
— Nathan Eovaldi was the long guy Tuesday night, and he looked mostly good. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed two runs on three hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings.
Eovaldi walked the first batter he faced, but picked him off at first before getting the next two batters out. He then pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning and a one-hit, scoreless fifth, but he ran into some trouble in the sixth. Eovaldi gave up a leadoff double to Devon Travis, with the Jays second baseman moving to third the next at-bat on a fly out. The righty issued a one-out walk to Kendrys Morales to put runners on the corners, then ran into some misfortune.
Pinch-runner Jonathan Davis attempted to steal second, prompting Sox catcher Sandy Leon to throw the ball to Ian Kinsler. Instead of waiting at the bag for it, Kinsler charged for the ball and launched it home, but made an awful throw that bounced past Leon and to the backstop, allowing Travis to score and make it 1-0 Toronto. Two batters later, Kevin Pillar brought Davis in with a two-out single, which marked the end of Eovaldi’s night.
— Ryan Brasier took over with a runner on first and two outs, striking Teoscar Hernandez to end the inning.
Brasier came back out for the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
— Hector Velazquez started the eighth, inducing a groundout before getting pulled.
— Bobby Poyner relieved Velazquez and got a fly out and allowed a single before he too was replaced.
— Joe Kelly became the third pitcher of the inning and struck out Randal Grichuk to end the stanza and strand one runner.
— Heath Hembree closed the door in the ninth, retiring the side in order with one strikeout.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox’s bats were held pretty quiet in the first two-thirds of the game, but they finally showed some life in the seventh.
Xander Bogaerts worked a one-out walk, then came home the next at-bat on a Steve Pearce triple to center that Kevin Pillar was unable to snare at the wall, cutting Toronto’s advantage to 2-1. Eduardo Nunez walked to put runners on the corners, allowing pinch-hitter Holt to make his mark in a big way.
Holt took a 2-2 sinker into the right field seats, putting the Red Sox ahead 4-2.
— The Red Sox added quite a bit of insurance in the ninth.
Mookie Betts walked to begin the inning, then scored on an Andrew Benintendi double off the Green Monster, upping Boston’s lead to 5-2. Benintendi later made it 6-2, scoring on an Ian Kinsler single. J.D. Martinez upped it 7-2 when he scored on a passed ball.
— Benintendi, Martinez, Pearce, Kinsler, Nunez, Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. all had one hit.
— Betts and Leon went hitless, as did Christian Vazquez in his lone at-bat.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Brock can do it all.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays will play the middle contest of their three-game set Wednesday night. David Price is set to get the ball for Boston and will be opposed by Aaron Sanchez. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images