ANAHEIM -- If the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are going to reach the post-season this October, they'll have to do it without any further help from the Red Sox. The Sox suffered their sixth straight loss to the Angels Thursday night, 5-2, to complete the Angels' second sweep in the last week. Los Angeles also took three in a row at Fenway from Aug. 21-23. The two teams don't meet again this season. For the third straight game, the Angels scored multiple runs in the first inning, with Albert Pujols smacking a two-run double to left. After a solo run in the second, the Angels used four straight hits off Jon Lester (8-11) in the fourth to add to their lead. A sacrifice fly by Mike Aviles in the second and a fourth-inning solo homer from James Loney accounted for the only two runs of the night for the Sox, who fell to 9-19. Zack Greinke went seven innings and earned his third win for the Angels since being obtained from Milwaukee in late July. The loss signaled the first time in franchise history that the Red Sox have been swept in a season series of at least six games against any opponent.
STAR OF THE GAME: Zack Greinke Since coming to the Angels a month ago, Greinke had been pretty mediocre before Thursday night. Then, he pitched seven innings and limited the Sox to two runs in picking up his third win since the trade.
HONORABLE MENTION: Albert PujolsPujols doubled home two runs in the first, giving the Angels a lead three batters in. He then singled in the third and came around to score as the Angels enjoyed another two-run inning.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Jon LesterThough he registered his third complete game of the season, Lester saw his modest three-game winning streak come to an end, charged with five runs over eight innings.
TURNING POINT: In the third inning, the Angels pieced together four straight hits to score twice. They would add just one more over the final five innings, but they had all they would need to compete the sweep of the Sox.
BY THE NUMBERS: First baseman James Loney became the first Red Sox player in 17 years to collect at least one RBI in each of his first four games with the team. Matt Stairs was the last player to do so, in 1995.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "When you face teams like this that you don't face a lot, you have to minimize the damage early and I just didn't do that.'' -- Jon Lester.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.
Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.
Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.
Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.
Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.
Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.
Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.
Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.
Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.
Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."
He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured.
“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.
“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”
Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.
He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.