Aceves on blown save: It was the team's loss

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Aceves on blown save: It was the team's loss

BOSTON -- Perhaps it should have never come down to this.
But even after taking a 6-0 lead through the first two innings on Thursday night at Fenway Park, it came down to Alfredo Aceves trying to hold onto an 11-9 Red Sox lead over the Los Angeles Angels.
And he just couldn't do it.
The Red Sox broke a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the eighth, and after recording the first out in the top of the ninth, Aceves allowed a solo home run to Vernon Wells. The replays showed that it should have never been a home run, as it hit the top of the red line and bounced back onto the field.
Everybody on the Red Sox thought it was a home run, until the media told them otherwise after the game.
But it wouldn't have mattered, as two batters later, Mike Trout's two-out bloop single into right field was badly misplayed by Cody Ross, advancing Trout to second on what should have been nothing more than a single.
Even if Wells' home run was reviewed and then overturned, he would have scored on Trout's hit. And even after Trout's hit, Aceves still had a chance -- with two outs and an 11-10 lead -- to end the game.
But Torii Hunter made the Red Sox pay for Ross' miscue in right field, and ripped a liner to left field, which scored the tying run in Trout, on a close play at the plate.
And it wasn't over.
Aceves then walked Howard Kendrick, and then allowed a Mark Trumbo RBI single up the middle that scored Hunter to give the Angels a 12-11 lead.
Ross tied the game with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and yet, there was Aceves, coming back out to pitch the top of the 10th in a 12-12 ball game, after giving up three runs in the top of the ninth and blowing his seventh save of the season.
"He's our closer," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "You've got to stay strong with him. We battled back and came back and scored some runs. So, you know, you've got to have confidence in your closer."
"Well it was basically the same as Angels manager Mike Scioscia did, you know, he's our closer and he gives up a lead," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "I had two left-handers in the bullpen, and they had a right-handed lineup. I had three innings left, and I wanted to squeeze another inning out of him. It obviously was the wrong decision."
Kendrys Morales led off the inning by putting an Aceves fastball in the right-field seats, giving the Angels a 13-12 lead. And in the next at-bat, Erick Aybar singled to right field, ending Aceves' night.
Craig Breslow came in to relieve him, but Wells welcomed him into the game by driving a double down the left-field line that scored Aybar from first to put the Angels up 14-12.
The Red Sox would score one in the bottom of there 10th, but it ended up being too much to overcome, and Aceves picked up his eighth loss of the season.
Still, after the game, Aceves wasn't going to blame it all on himself.
"I missed a couple of pitches, ya, obvious," said Aceves. "It's not about that. We lost the game. There were like 25 runs. So it's not that I pitched one pitch, and that we would lose because of that, no. It was the entire game, the entire game.
"It's not about me me, it's not about me," he later added when asked how he would bounce back from this. "I mean, we've been playing expletive, expletive baseball."
He's right about that. And perhaps he's also right about the entire game not being his fault. Because it probably should have never come down to him.

First impressions: Red Sox lose to Yankees, still clinch AL East

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First impressions: Red Sox lose to Yankees, still clinch AL East

NEW YORK -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Yankees:

 

* The Red Sox couldn't have asked any more from Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz turned in what was likely his best start of the season, tossing six shutout innings while yielding just one hit -- an infield hit at that.

Brett Gardner was the only New York hitter to solve him. The leadoff hitter walked twice and reached on a slow roller to third, the only hit Buchholz allowed.

Twice, Buchholz retired eight Yankees in a row. He consistently pitched ahead in the count and showed a good rhythm on the mound.

Only a few months ago, the notion of Buchholz being part of the Red Sox' postseason rotation was laughable. Now, the Red Sox view him as a dependable, consistent starter.

And why not? Over his last seven starts, Buchholz is 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA.

Funny how quickly things can change in baseball.

 

* Don't invite Craig Kimbrel to your celebration.

Kimbrel came on for the bottom of the ninth, with a 3-0 lead and needing just three outs.

He barely threw a strike, allowing a leadoff single and three straight walks, the latter of which forced in a run.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Toronto had already lost, clinching the division title for the Sox before the bottom half of the inning began.

Still, it was troubling to watch Kimbrel. This was, after all, a save situation, even if some of the adrenaline was taken away by the Blue Jays' loss.

Kimbrel seemed completely incapable of throwing a strike. At all.

Hardly the way you want your closer to be a week before your first post-season game.

 

* The Red Sox lineup poses all sorts of problems for opposing managers.

In the eighth, Joe Girardi had a choice to make -- pitch to David Ortiz with two on and first base open. Or walk Ortiz and pitch to Mookie Betts, with Hanley Ramirez waiting on deck.

Pick your poison.

Girardi picked incorrectly, though there might not have been a correct one.

That's what happens when you face three hitters in a row with 110 RBI or more.

 

Red Sox clinch AL East with Orioles victory over Blue Jays

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Red Sox clinch AL East with Orioles victory over Blue Jays

NEW YORK -- The Boston Red Sox have won the AL East, clinching the division championship when the Toronto Blue Jays lost to Baltimore.

David Ortiz and the Red Sox, who had already secured at least a wild-card spot in the playoffs, will open their postseason schedule Oct. 6 seeking a second World Series crown in four years. The team's first opponent has not been determined yet.

Boston's game against the New York Yankees in the middle of the ninth inning Wednesday night when the Orioles finished off their 3-2 victory at second-place Toronto. The Red Sox began the night needing a win or a Toronto loss to wrap up their eighth AL East title.