February 15, 2019

MLB Story
By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: October 2, 2016 08:01:50 PM


Blue Jays claim wild card with 2-1 win over Red Sox

BOSTON -- With all the various playoff scenarios hanging over their heads entering Sunday's game, it seemed like the easiest thing to do for the Toronto Blue Jays was win.
They did just that.
"Obviously that was our preference," Troy Tulowitzki said after his go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning helped the Blue Jays clinch a postseason berth with a 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"We're playing in front of some great fans here, Big Papi's last regular-season game. Our backs were up against the wall."
Toronto (89-73) claimed the top American League wild-card spot despite the Baltimore Orioles' 5-2 win over the New York Yankees earlier in the day.
By virtue of a better head-to-head record, the Blue Jays will host the Orioles in the AL wild card game on Tuesday.
"This group of guys never quit all year," Tulowitzki added.
AL East champion Boston (93-69) will open its division series with the Indians on Thursday in Cleveland after its loss and the Indians' 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
But the focus of the day was celebrating David Ortiz.
The retiring 40-year-old designated hitter played the 2,408th and final regular-season game of his career, and his 1,014th at Fenway.
Ortiz wasn't able to mimic Ted Williams, who famously hit a home run in his final career at-bat at Fenway in 1960. Ortiz was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
"I'm so happy that it's over so I can focus on what's coming up next -- the playoffs," Ortiz admitted.
The man affectionately known as "Big Papi" finished his career 17th on the all-time home runs list with 541 -- his last coming in game-winning fashion in Friday's 5-3 comeback win against Toronto.
"I think anytime you get roads and bridges named after you, you've obviously got one hell of legacy and that is David Ortiz," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Ortiz's first stroll to the plate was accompanied by an ovation from Red Sox fans, and fans in the right field bleachers held up cards forming the message "Thanks Papi."
A homer wasn't in the cards for Ortiz, who unleashed a home run swing during his second-inning at-bat against Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez but missed and ultimately struck out swinging.
Sanchez also got Ortiz to strike out swinging in his second at-bat to end the fourth.
Ortiz put the barrel on the ball in his third at-bat in the seventh, but the drive was chased down by Kevin Pillar in center.
In Ortiz's final at-bat in the ninth, he hit a dribbler to the catcher. Ortiz was given another ovation as he walked back to the dugout.
"It was very special, very special," Ortiz said of the day.
Devon Travis launched a solo homer, his 11th home run of the year, in the fifth and Sanchez threw 6 2/3 hitless innings before his no-hit bid was broken up.
Sanchez (15-2) gave up a run, two hits and two walks while striking out six.
Roberto Osuna, who failed to pick up a six-out save but still got the win in Saturday's 4-3 loss, converted his 36th save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Hanley Ramirez slugged his 30th home run of the year, a game-tying solo blast in the seventh.
That gave the Red Sox three players with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs (also Ortiz, Mookie Betts) in the same season for the first time in franchise history.
Red Sox starter David Price was gone after five innings and 80 pitches, allowing just the one run on Travis' homer with four hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
Brad Ziegler (4-7) was on the hook after giving up a run, three hits and a walk in two-third of an inning in the eighth.
Ramirez broke up Sanchez's no-hitter one at-bat later with a towering homer on an 0-1 pitch that sailed over the foul pole on the Monster. A crew chief review confirmed the call.
"From my view, it looked foul," said Sanchez, who adamantly tried to waive the ball foul.
"It is what it is. I'm just glad we won the game."
NOTES: Boston DH David Ortiz was honored in a pregame ceremony before his final regular-season game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox announced they will retire his jersey No. 34 next season, making him the first player who isn't in the Hall of Fame to have his number retired by the franchise. Boston presented him with various gifts and a $1 million donation to his foundation. "There may be no more important player ever in this organization," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Ortiz. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker and Boston mayor Martin Walsh named a nearby bridge and street after Ortiz. Teammates from the 2004, 2007 and 2013 Boston World Series teams joined Ortiz on the field. Mary J. Blige sang the national anthem and Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina threw a ceremonial first pitch. ... Farrell announced RHP Rick Porcello will start Game 1 of the ALDS and LHP David Price will start Game 2


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