The Boston Red Sox — and their fans — can breathe a sigh of relief.
The Sox beat the Houston Astros 6-3 at Fenway Park on Saturday to clinch their second consecutive American League East title, and ninth overall. Boston closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a home run in the ninth, but ultimately struck out George Springer to seal the victory
Watch the Red Sox clinch the A.L. East in the video below:
And here’s a glimpse into the champagne-filled celebration in the clubhouse:
The win was particularly important because the New York Yankees, who trailed the Red Sox by two games entering play Saturday, beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1. If Boston had lost, it would have needed a win on Sunday — the final game of the regular season — to prevent a one-game playoff against New York for A.L. East Supremacy.
Saturday’s result also was the final shoe to drop in determining the American League playoff bracket.
New York will host the Minnesota Twins in the American League Wild Card Game, the winner of which will travel to Cleveland to take on the Indians in the American League Division Series. The Red Sox will go on the road for the first two games of its ALDS matchup with the Astros.
This is the first time the Red Sox have won back-to-back division titles. Divisional play was instituted in 1969.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images