Entering their half of the seventh inning trailing by two runs, the Red Sox lineup looked as if they were having a tough go at it against Blue Jays starter Ryan Borucki.
Borucki, a left-hander, had only given up a pair of hits up until that point in Tuesday night’s contest at Fenway Park, but the momentum started to shift after Xander Bogaerts drew a one out walk.
Trailing by two runs at the time, Steve Pearce cut that deficit in half right away by ripping a 102 MPH triple to center field to plate Bogaerts all the way from first.
Following a pitching change that saw RHP Ryan Tepera take over for Borucki and a substitution that saw Tzu-Wei Lin entering as a pinch-runner at third, Ian Kinsler could not drive in the tying-run, as he struck out on six pitches.
Eduardo Nunez drew a walk on four straight balls a few moments later, and that set up Brock Holt in a perfect scoring spot.
Pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon, Holt, not Mitch Moreland, took the first four pitches he saw, which evened the count at 2-2, then leaned into a 93 MPH sinker on the inner half of the plate and launched it 388 feet into the right field seats.
That three-run big fly, Holt’s fourth of the season, put his team up 4-2, which, along with RBI from Andrew Benintendi and Ian Kinsler, along with a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth, is all they would need to pick up their 99th victory.
Some notes from this 7-2 win:
From @SoxNotes: Brock Holt is the first player in Red Sox history to hit multiple go-ahead pinch-hit home runs in a single season (August 14 at Philadelphia and tonight vs. Toronto) (source:
The Red Sox (99-46) have clinched a postseason berth. This will be the club’s 3rd consecutive postseason appearance, matching the longest streak in franchise history (also 2003-05 and 2007-09).
In 13 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter this season, Brock Holt is slashing .364/.462/1.192 with two home runs and five RBI.
Like the title reads, the Red Sox became the first team of the 2018 season to clinch a playoff berth on Tuesday night, and their magic number to clinch the American League East now stands at just nine games.
Going for win number 100 later tonight, it will be David Price getting the ball for Boston.
Since the All-Star break, the left-hander has posted a superb 1.78 ERA and .196 BAA over eight starts and 50.2 innings pitched. The Red Sox are 7-1 in those games.
Opposite Price will be Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who surrendered seven earned runs on nine hits in five innings pitched in his last outing at Fenway Park on May 28th, a game the Red Sox won by a final score of 8-3.
First pitch of the middle game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Wednesday.