BOSTON, OCT. 2 -- The champagne in the home clubhouse at Fenway Park was stored behind closed doors -- the result of baseball's ban on alcohol-related celebrations before the television cameras, not any Red Sox' doubts about clinching the American League East title.

But perhaps the bottles should have been hid out of fear, for who could believe that a pennant race would end routinely around here? The Red Sox tonight extended the AL East dogfight until at least the final day of the regular season by losing to the Chicago White Sox, 3-2, on Ozzie Guillen's 11th-inning, RBI single in front of a stunned 33,917.

Boston's loss allowed the second-place Toronto Blue Jays -- 2-1 winners at Baltimore earlier in the evening -- to pull to within one game of the Red Sox (87-74) with one to play. If Toronto can pick up another victory Wednesday to force a tie, a one-game playoff will be held Thursday afternoon at the SkyDome.

"It's not just one day; we have an option," said Boston Manager Joe Morgan, who will send Mike Boddicker to the mound Wednesday and has Roger Clemens ready for a playoff. "We've also got Roger as our option.

"But we're not thinking about that right now. We're thinking about going out there {Wednesday} night and getting this over with. . . . As you go through life, you're going to face these kinds of things. Especially in sports."

And especially here. Ron Karkovice began Chicago's winning rally with a one-out single in the 11th off Dennis Lamp. Robin Ventura followed with another base hit and, one out later, Guillen reached for a low curveball and pulled a soft line drive into right field to score the sliding Karkovice.

"I had a good at-bat," Guillen said. "I hung in there, and I probably hit the best pitch he threw me the whole time I was up there. . . . We're not going to lay down and die for anyone. We think we've proven all season we have a better team than them, and we want to keep showing it."

Lamp (3-5) complained about having warmed up four times over the course of the game, but conceded: "That's the breaks. We lost." And Morgan -- who visited the mound just before Guillen's hit -- didn't fault his pitcher, saying: "To Lamp's credit, he gave him a tough pitch to hit. And to Guillen's credit, he hit it. How he pulled that ball, I'll never know."

White Sox reliever Wayne Edwards ended the night of high drama by pitching a scoreless 11th for his second save of the season.

Both teams scored in the first inning, then starters Melido Perez and Tom Bolton shut off the scoring until a seventh-inning, bases-loaded wild pitch by Red Sox reliever Larry Andersen gave Chicago a 2-1 lead.

Boston tied the game in the bottom of the eighth. Tom Brunansky slapped a leadoff double off the base of the Green Monster in left. Pinch runner Jeff Stone was sacrificed to third by Tony Pena and scored on pinch hitter Danny Heep's fly ball off White Sox closer Bobby Thigpen.

Following a mundane ninth, each club had a chance to win in the 10th. Chicago designated hitter Carlton Fisk's bid for a potential game-winning home run against his former team hooked just foul, then Boston left the bases loaded when Ellis Burks flied out to right against reliever Donn Pall (3-5).

"What can you say? We should have closed the thing out tonight," Brunansky said. "We didn't. We won't dwell on that. We're still in control."

Still, the Red Sox were eager to get the clincher tonight, the 12th anniversary of Bucky Dent's famous homer over the wall. Boddicker was to pitch the season finale -- he'll oppose rookie Alex Fernandez -- only if it still was meaningful to the division race; otherwise, he would have been held back for one of the first two games of the AL Championship Series.

More importantly, the Red Sox were playing to remove the weight of their burdensome past. Boston has overachieved in 1990, compensating for some significant deficiencies with superb starting pitching and the forgiving nature of the AL East.

Yet the Red Sox remain on the verge of adding to their legacy of disappointment. Boston blew a 6 1/2-game lead in a two-week span beginning Sept. 4, and all of New England readied to mourn another collapse -- which the Red Sox seemed to avert by winning five of their last seven for a two-game lead.

And the Red Sox could not have asked for a much better chance. Perez entered tonight with a 6.21 ERA in 12 outings during August and September and lasted a combined 2 2/3 innings in his prior two starts.

But the Red Sox helped keep Perez around. Boston had its leadoff man on base in each of the first four innings, but Morgan never elected to bunt.

Chicago grabbed a 1-0 lead off Bolton in the first. With one out, Lance Johnson singled and Fisk drew a walk. Bolton balked the runners to second and third, and Johnson scored on Frank Thomas's fly.

Boston responded quickly. Wade Boggs singled with two outs, went to third when Burks followed with a double to the alley in left-center and scored on Perez's wild pitch.

Chicago took a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Bolton walked Scott Fletcher to start the rally. An out and two hits later, the bases were loaded, bringing on Andersen.

"We dug ourselves another little hole," Boggs said. "Now we have to climb out again."