Although they are not a perfect team by any means, Alex Cora and his wild-card Red Sox have four wins away from returning to the World Series.
Kike Hernandez scored Boston's second consecutive walk-off win. Danny Santana was pinch-runner with the sacrifice fly in the ninth. The Red Sox advanced to the AL Championship Series with a win of 6-5 over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston won Game 3 of the best-of-five AL Division Series with Christian Vazquez hitting a two-run homer on the 13th. This was Boston's first set of back to back walk-off wins after 2004 ALCS Games 4 & 5. Both games were played by David Ortiz against New York.
"We always claimed that we had a great baseball team with some holes. We still have some holes. But at the end, no matter how terrible it seemed sometimes, we're still here. Cora stated that we are still in the dance.
Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer off Shane McClanahan, a rookie. This ignited a third inning of five runs that saw Boston lead 5-0. Tampa Bay battled back to tie it in the eighth.
The winner of the ALDS matchup between Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros will be the wild-card Red Sox. Houston leads 2-1 heading into Game 4 in Chicago, a makeup of Monday’s rainout.
Cora said to his players, "You guys believed in this group since day one," before launching a celebratory party at the clubhouse.
Since 2004, Boston is now 15-3 in potential playoff games. They have also won eight of the last eight. They are their first under Chaim Bloom, the Rays' second-year chief baseball officer. He quickly oversaw the controversial trade of Mookie Betts.
After a one year suspension for his involvement in the Astros cheating scandal, Cora was reinstated by the Red Sox last offseason. The retooled Red Sox are now four games away from the World Series, a year after finishing last at the AL East.
The 2018 champs needed some luck. Vazquez's Sunday homer came just half an inning after Tampa Bay had missed the run-ahead run due to a bizarre ground rule double that bounced off Hunter Renfroe and jumped over the outfield fence.
All this was after a Game 2 rout, in which Boston hit a postseason record five homers in a 14-6 loss. With nine homers, the Red Sox tallied a.341 team average and a.915 OPS.
The Rays' hopes of making back-to-back World Series trips are over after they won 100 games in the regular season, and then rolled to the AL East title.
Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay manager, stated that "there's no doubt there is disappointment." We had high hopes to be able to do this. We met a Red Sox team who beat us. They scored the big hits.
The Red Sox are now the second team to win consecutive postseason series by winning in walk-off. According to STATS, the other team was the Minnesota Twins from the 1991 World Series.
Vazquez opened the ninth with a single to right field. Christian Arroyo moved Vazquez to second on a sacrifice ball. Travis Shaw hit a bouncing groundball to third, which went for an infield double when YandyDiaz bounced his difficult throw towards Ji-Man Choi. Santana was able to take Vazquez to third base and Santana took his place.
Cora stated, "Old school Baseball right there." "We won the ALDS by playing good fundamental baseball."
Santana was scored by Hernandez, who was 9-20 in the series.
Rays postseason star Randy Arozarena struck out a tie-breaking single in the eighth inning against Ryan Brasier. He advanced to second on that throw. Garrett Whitlock relieved, and got through the eighth without any further damage. He then pitched a scoreless ninth to win the game.
Whitlock stated, "Once AC said that you have to keep going,"
Eduardo Rodriguez, Red Sox's starter, allowed two runs and three hits while striking out six batters in five innings. After allowing two runs and only 1 1/3 innings, he was able to redeem himself in the 5-1 Boston loss.
Devers had three hits. Tampa's Wander Franco hit a 2-run homer.
After three innings, the Red Sox led 5-0. However, Tampa pulled within 5-3 thanks to Austin Meadows' RBI single and Franco's two-run homer off Tanner Houck in the fifth.
After being solid in the mound for 2021 and winning Game 1, Tampa's pitching was poor over the final three games. The Red Sox outscored the Rays 26-15.
Collin McHugh, right-hander, was Monday's opener. He pitched two scoreless innings and allowed one hit before Shane McClanahan took the ball.
After pitching five scoreless innings, the rookie pitched on three days' rest.
Boston was there for him.
McClanahan immediately gave up one Vazquez, and walked Kyle Schwarber. After Hernandez flew out for the second out, McClanahan seemed to be on his way to getting out.
Devers leapt over a first pitch fastball and launched an aerial line drive into the first row in the center field bleachers.
Xander Bogaerts walked. Verdugo scored Bogaerts with a double from the Green Monster. J.D. Martinez continued the fight with one more Monster that brought Verdugo.
McClanahan's night-end line-up: Five hits, five runs and a walk, with a home run.
Cash stated, "Down 5-0 nothing was in the third inning. That was pretty devastating." "We tried to claw back, but we lost tonight."
Red Sox: Red Sox manager Alex Cora stated that reliever HanselRobles, who surrendered a single home run to Franco in Game 3 and a game-tying double at Game 3, was still under the weather heading into Monday's game.
Boston will travel to the ALCS opener on Friday night.