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Ladies and gentlemen, the Boston Red Sox are your 2016 American League East champions. But they didn’t beat the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
The Red Sox clinched the AL East for the second time in the last four seasons after the Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 prior to the end of Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchup. And it seemed as though Boston had this one in the bag after entering the bottom of the ninth inning with a three-run lead, but closer Craig Kimbrel loaded the bases before Joe Kelly replaced him and gave up a walk-off grand slam to Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The game was scoreless through seven innings before the Red Sox struck for three runs in the eighth, and it looked as though they wouldn’t be stopped. However, they were, and they ended up having to celebrate their AL East title at Yankee Stadium after losing to New York.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
Teixeira hit his walk-off grand slam.
The Yankees guaranteed a series win with that homer.
ON THE BUMP
— Buchholz dazzled in his second outing against the Yankees this month. The right-hander gave up just one hit, an infield single to Brett Gardner, over six shutout innings. In fact, Gardner was the only Yankee to do anything against Boston’s starter, as the two walks Buchholz gave up both were to the left fielder, while the rest of the Yankees’ lineup went 0-for-17. Buchholz also used a healthy mix of off-speed pitches and had six strikeouts.
— Brad Ziegler took the mound in the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
— Koji Uehara dealt a one-out walk to Teixeira but otherwise held the eighth inning down and added a strikeout.
— Craig Kimbrel started the ninth by giving up a single to Gardner and walking Jacoby Ellsbury and Gary Sanchez and was yanked after giving up a third consecutive walk to Brian McCann to bring in a run.
Joe Kelly replaced Kimbrel and got the first two outs, but gave up the walk-off grand slam.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees had too many baserunners Wednesday, but the Red Sox struck hard in the eighth when Mookie Betts hit a two-run double with the bases loaded. The right fielder went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
— Dustin Pedroia hit a ground-rule double in the eighth to go 1-for-5.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. also tallied a hit, going 1-for-3 with a walk.
— David Ortiz went 0-for-3 but was intentionally walked and scored a run on a passed ball in the eighth. Hanley Ramirez also went hitless at 0-for-2 but walked twice, one of them intentional.
— Brock Holt went 0-for-1 with two walks. Aaron Hill pinch-hit for Holt in the eighth and was walked intentionally.
— Sandy Leon went o-for-2 with a walk and reached on a throwing error to start the Red Sox’s three-run eighth inning. Marco Hernandez pinch-ran for the catcher after that and scored a run on Betts’ double.
Bryan Holaday came on as the catcher in the bottom of the eighth and struck out in his ninth-inning at-bat.
— Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-5 after getting his first hit, an infield single, in the ninth.
— Andrew Benintendi (0-for-4) went hitless.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Rapper Lil Wayne celebrated the Red Sox’s AL East title after they officially clinched.
Red Sox!!!! AL east champs!!!!! Hell yeah f’n right!!!! Papi work!
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) September 29, 2016
The Red Sox finish out their series in New York on Thursday in another 7:05 p.m. ET contest. Henry Owens will start in the place of Drew Pomeranz and go head-to-head with Yankees starter and fellow lefty CC Sabathia.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
The Boston Red Sox are the 2016 American League East champions, which means it’s time to party at Yankee Stadium.
The premiere of “The David Ortiz Era,” presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino, has been pushed to Thursday, as NESN will provide live postgame coverage from New York following the Red Sox’s game against the Yankees. “The David Ortiz Era” now will air Thursday at 10 p.m. ET following the Yankees-Red Sox series finale.
“The David Ortiz Era” is the second of two NESN documentaries — “David Ortiz: The Journey” was the first — on Big Papi in his final Major League Baseball season. The documentary chronicles how Ortiz went from signing with Boston to being a three-time World Series champion.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Griffith/USA TODAY Sports Images
Leave it to the Boston Red Sox to go from worst to first again.
After a close division race throughout the 2016 season, the Red Sox clinched the American League East by virtue of the Baltimore Orioles’ 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Boston will play in one of the two AL Division Series beginning Oct. 6.
The Red Sox’s AL East crown comes after back-to-back last-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. The Red Sox pulled this off once before, though, winning the 2013 World Series one season after they finished a division-worst 69-93 in 2012.
The Red Sox have a chance to finish with the AL’s best record, too, although the Yankees put a dent in those hopes Wednesday night when Mark Teixeira hit a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Boston 5-3.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
Sports fans sometimes go to great lengths to show their support for their favorite teams and athletes, but spending thousands of dollars to look like a soccer star might be a bit extreme.
However, 19-year-old Jack Johnson from the United Kingdom is doing just that, as he’s spent $26,000 on surgery to look like David Beckham. But in order for his goal to come true, Johnson, who’s unemployed and already £19,000 (almost 25,000) in debt, says he still needs to spend about £30,000 (almost $40,000) on surgeries.
Johnson told his story in an interview with “This Morning” hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on Monday, and you can watch it in the video below.
Thumbnail screen shot via YouTube/This Morning
If the Chicago Cubs don’t snap their World Series drought this season, at least they can take solace in the fact that Theo Epstein still will be at the helm.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts announced Wednesday that Epstein and the club agreed to a five-year contract extension. USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale tweeted the deal reportedly is worth over $50 million, which would make Epstein the highest-paid baseball executive.
Esptein became the Cubs’ president of baseball operations in 2011 after nine seasons as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox.
“It’s everything I could have asked for,” Epstein said, via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. “There’s no place I’d rather be. I think I said five years ago, it’s a great day to be a Cub, and I still feel that way. I still envision feeling that way for the foreseeable future.”
Under Epstein, the Cubs have gone from bottom-dwellers to World Series favorites. They lost 101 games in Epstein’s first season, but this year, they’ve already won 101 games with five games left to play.
“We had some good pieces and we had some good players in the beginning, but the organization itself was not in a position where you could believe there was sustainability and consistency and success on the field,” Ricketts said. “Obviously, Theo and the guys he brought with him five years ago took the organization down to the studs and started rebuilding,.
“I give a lot of credit to Theo and (Cubs GM) Jed (Hoyer) and everybody on that team, but I also give a lot of credit to all of our fans who basically heard our story, listened to us throughout. I think the time and energy to do it the right way has paid off with a team that should be successful for years to come.”
In addition to Esptein, the Cubs are expected to extend Hoyer and player development and scouting director Jason McLeod, too.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images
While the starting lineup, bullpen and rotation get most of the attention for the Red Sox and any team come October, Boston’s bench could prove to be very important in the postseason.
Infielder Aaron Hill certainly reminded Red Sox fans of that Tuesday night when he came off the bench to hit a pinch-hit home run against the New York Yankees.
Hear what NESN’s Dave O’Brien and Jerry Remy said Wednesday about Hill in the video from “Red Sox Gameday Live” above.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images