The Red Sox’ road to AL East champs
With Thursday night’s victory, the Red Sox clinched the AL East for the third straight season.
There have been plenty of highlights along the way. Here are some of the victories that stand out:
March 30 — One day after the bullpen imploded in a season-opening 6-4 loss at Tampa Bay, Craig Kimbrel closed the door on the Rays in a 1-0 win to record his first save of the season. David Price dazzled with seven scoreless innings.
April 8 — The Red Sox entered the eighth inning trailing the Rays, 7-2, and having lost Xander Bogaerts to injury. But they rallied for six runs in the inning, all with two outs, to defeat the Rays at Fenway, 8-7.
April 17 — All eyes were on Shohei Ohtani, as the 23-year-old rookie righthander from Japan had won his first two starts for the Angels, striking out 18. But Mookie Betts stole the show, leading off the game with a home run, then adding two more and reaching base five times in a 10-1 win.
May 2 — Betts was at it again, belting three more home runs and going 4 for 4 in a 5-4 win over Kansas City.
May 5 — Kimbrel recorded his 300th career save as the Red Sox rallied for a 6-5 win at Texas.
May 25 — The Red Sox belted four home runs, but it was Jackie Bradley Jr.’s standup triple that may have been the most impressive hit in a 6-2 win over the Braves. The ball hopped off Bradley’s bat at 109 miles per hour and sailed to straight center.
June 22 — Six days earlier, the Sox came out on the short end of a 1-0 pitchers’ duel in Seattle, with Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc throwing 7⅔ scoreless innings and retiring 22 straight batters. In the rematch, the Sox erased deficits of four and five runs, fueled by J.D. Martinez’s 4-for-5, five-RBI night in a 14-10 win.
June 28 — With Steven Wright scratched from his start and placed on the disabled list, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez combined to allow just one run over six innings as the Red Sox completed a sweep of the six-game season series with the Angels with a 4-2 win.
July 2 — The Red Sox bounced back from losing a series to the Yankees in New York with a 4-3 win over Washington. Rick Porcello outdueled Max Scherzer, delivering a three-run double in the second inning.
July 12 — The Red Sox benefited from some good fortune leading up to a back-breaking grand slam by Betts in a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays. Video replay helped the Sox run their winning streak to 10.
July 14 — This time it was Bogaerts clearing the bases, delivering a walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning of a 6-2 win over Toronto.
July 30 — Blake Swihart’s double in the bottom of the 13th scored Eduardo Nunez and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Phillies.
Aug. 2-5 — The Red Sox held a 5½-game lead in the AL East when the Yankees came to town for a pivotal four-game series. When the sweep was complete, the Sox had a commanding 9½-game lead and had all but wrapped up the division. In the finale, the Sox scored three runs in the ninth to tie the game, then won it in the 10th inning, 5-4.
Aug. 22-23 — The Red Sox were on a season-high three-game losing streak and had dropped the first two games of a four-game series with Cleveland at Fenway Park before salvaging a split with wins of 10-4 and 7-0.
Sept. 5 — On a day five starters were out of the lineup to rest, the Sox scored six runs in the eighth inning to tie the score against the Atlanta Braves. They went on to win when Brandon Phillips’s two-run home run in the ninth inning lifted the Sox to a stunning 9-8 victory.
Sept. 9 — Mitch Moreland delivered an opposite-field single to score Tzu-Wei Lin from second base in the bottom of the ninth as the Red Sox averted a three-game sweep at the hands of the Astros with a 6-5 win.