Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:00 am
Boston 7 Toronto 2
Red Sox punch playoff ticket
BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this season, rallying on pinch-hitter Brock Holt's go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Tuesday night.
Guided by rookie manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox improved the best record in baseball at 99-46. They assured themselves at least a spot in the AL wild-card game while reaching the postseason for the third straight year.
The AL East-leading Red Sox began the night with an eight-game lead over the New York Yankees.
Boston starter Chris Sale came off the disabled list and pitched one scoreless inning, striking out two and throwing 26 pitches. Sale has been slowed by inflammation in his left shoulder, and the Red Sox had said they would ease their ace back into action.
Sale continued tossing in the bullpen after he was pulled, trying to rebuild his arm strength.
The Red Sox matched a team record by making it to the postseason three years in a row. They also did it from 2003-05 and 2007-09 – with World Series titles in '04 and '07 included in each run.
Ryan Brasier (2-0) got the win with 11/3 innings of hitless relief as Boston used seven relievers.
Blue Jays rookie starter Ryan Borucki took a 2-0 lead into the seventh before Boston scored four times. Steve Pearce hit an RBI triple and Holt connected with two outs.
Kevin Pillar had an RBI single for Toronto during a two-run sixth, when Devon Travis scored the game's first run on a double-steal and botched defensive play by the Red Sox.
Pillar ran face-first into the center-field wall chasing Pearce's triple. Pillar needed a few minutes to get back to his feet, but stayed in the game.