Red Sox regain touch of old glory

Red Sox regain touch of old glory
September 21, 2013, 2:00 am
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The Red Sox celebrate their first division crown since 2007.

(AP Photo)

BOSTON  --  With their 6-3 win over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park Friday night, the Red Sox clinched their second division title in the last 18 seasons beginning in 1996, along with 2007. It is their seventh American League East title since the start of divisional play in 1969, along with 1975, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995, and 2007.
 
This is the Sox 15th overall first-place finish in 113 AL seasons, including eight prior to the divisional era -- 1903, 1904, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1946, and 1967.
 
After their last-place finish in 2012, the Sox have gone from worst to first for the first time in team history. Since the start of the three-division era in 1994, the 2013 Red Sox are just the second AL team to win a division title the year after a last-place finish, along with the 2008 Rays. Five National League teams have also done so, including the 2011 Diamondbacks, 2007 Cubs, 1999 Diamondbacks, 1998 Padres, and 1997 Giants.
 
The Sox have led the AL East a total of 148 days this season, the most among AL teams.
 
* Jon Lester earned the win, going seven innings, giving up one run on five this and two walks with eight strikeouts. He improved to 15-8 with 3.67 ERA. It was his 100th career win in his 220th game. He is the 11th pitcher, and third left-hander, to win 100 games with the Sox. Lester joins Smoky Joe Wood (100-49), Mel Parnell (100-55), Bob Stanley (100-75), and Roger Clemens (100-47) as the only players to win their first 100 career games with the Sox. Only Cy Young, Wood, Clemens, and Parnell did it in fewer outings.

* He has a quality start in all nine outings since Aug. 8, with an ERA of 1.80 in that stretch, giving up 13 earned runs in 65 innings. The streak of nine quality starts matches his career high, from 2009. He leads the Sox with 20 quality starts.

* In six starts against the Jays this season, Lester is 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA, giving up 12 earned runs in 42 1/3 innings.
 
* Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-5 with a double, RBI, and run scored, extending his hit streak to 10 games, in which he is batting .356, going 16-for-45, all since becoming the leadoff hitter. It is his third hit streak this season of at least 10 games. Only Jacoby Ellsbury, with four, and Miguel Cabrera, with five, have more such hit streaks in the majors this season.

* Pedroia has an extra-base hit in each of his last 5 games, matching his longest streak of the season. It is also tied for his second-longest such streak in his career, trailing only an eight-gamer in 2011. David Ortiz’s nine-game streak with an extra-base hit is the only longer such stretch on the Sox in 2013.
 
* Jarrod Saltalamacchia went 2-for-4, recording his 38th double of the season. He is now one double shy of the Red Sox team record for a catcher set by Carlton Fisk in 1978 and matched by Jason Varitek in 1999. Saltalamacchia has hit safely in his last seven games, batting .375, going 9-for-24 with three doubles and two home runs.
 
* Jackie Bradley went 2-for-4 with a run scored, giving him back-to-back games with multiple hits for the first time in his big league career. He has one other such game this season on  June 1 at Yankee Stadium.
 
* Daniel Nava went 2-for-5 with a double and 2 runs scored, snapping an 0-for-13 stretch with a double in the third inning. Since Aug. 1, he is batting .352, going 38-for-108 with 14 doubles, a home run, 11 RBI, and 13 walks.
 
* With three RBI against the Blue Jays Friday night, Mike Carp  is now 19-for-54, batting .352,  with runners in scoring position this season. He has reached in four of his last five plate appearances with the bases loaded, including a grand slam, two walks, and getting hit by a pitch, since starting the year 0-for-7 with the bases loaded.
 
* Koji Uehara recorded his 20th save, allowing two hits with two strikeouts over 1 2/3 innings. It was his second career save of five or more outs, along with his outing on Aug. 31, 2010, while with the Orioles against the Red Sox.
 
* Right-hander Clay Buchholz is scheduled to start Saturday against the Jays. In 17 career appearances against Toronto, including 16 starts, he is 9-4 with a 2.41 ERA, his second-lowest ERA against any AL team, behind only his 2.20 ERA against Kansas City. He has held Toronto hitters to a .207 batting average in his career, his third-best mark against any AL team. He is 9-2 in his last 14 starts against the Jays since July 17, 2009, with the Red Sox winning 10 of those games.