BALTIMORE -- A win in their next-to-last game of the season would have been nice, too, but the Red Sox had to be satisfied with another accomplishment Saturday night: clinching home field throughout the playoffs, which they did, even before the start of their game with the Baltimore Orioles.
When the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland A's early Saturday, the Sox wrapped up the best record in the American League, and with it, home field advantage in the Division Series and the ALCS, should they advance that far.
The team was already assured home field in the World Series, if they qualify, based on the AL's win in the All-Star Game in July.
"I think everyone was well aware of it early in that ballgame,'' said John Farrell. "I think it's a tribute to the guys in uniform, the way they've come in and competed every day to put ourselves in a position to secure home-field advantage.
"We would have liked this game to finish up a little bit differently. But to know, during the post-season, for every series that we go into with that home field advantage, being able to play in front of Fenway fans and how comfortable and successful we've been at home -- this is a good thing.''
The Sox compiled a home record of 53-28 at Fenway for a .654 winning percentage, best in the league.
"I think everybody was kind of watching (the Oakland-Seattle game in the clubhouse),'' said catcher David Ross. "But I know (Ryan Dempster) came in (to the dugout) before he went to the bullpen, yelling that (the A's) lost, kidding around. So we were all laughing.
"To have the best record in the American League is a pretty good accomplishment and guys in here should be really proud. They worked their tails off.''
Said Dustin Pedroia: "That's a pretty big accomplishment for our team. There's a lot of great teams and we have the best record, so it sets up nicely. We've got to play well. It doesn't matter where you're playing. But it helps us that we get to hit last (at home).
"This is what we wanted. It's why you play. It's a huge advantage. From 2007, we had the last couple of games at home in the ALCS and that helped. Then, the next year, we had to go to Tropicana (Field) and play and it was a big difference.''
Still, Ross maintained, the loss on the field took a little steam out of the accomplishment.
"We've been a team that kind of takes care of its own business all year,'' he said, "so we really hadn't paid that much attention. But you're coming down and we're trying to take this series and sharpen things up, make sure we play well. We always play to win. With all that has gone on, you walk into (the clubhouse) and guys are ticked off that we lost. That's a good sign, in my opinion.''