The Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday to reach the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2008.
The victory — Boston won the best-of-five series 3-1 — comes just a year after finishing last in the AL East.
“We had guys come to spring training, everybody bought in,” Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow said (via the Associated Press) about Boston’s quick turnaround after going 69-93 last year. “There’s accountability and 25 guys who prioritize winning baseball games beyond any kind of individual achievement or accolade.”
Breslow, one of the four pitchers to play in the game for Boston, got the win as he retired five of the six batters he faced, striking out four. (Click here for the box score.)
Tampa Bay on the other hand used nine pitchers — a postseason record for a nine-inning game.
“The way it was working at the beginning there, I could see it was just not going to work and we had to do something differently,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon said (via the Associated Press.) “We became a little bit more extemporaneous at that point.”
Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino hit an infield single to break the seventh-inning tie with Jacoby Ellsbury scoring. Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly scored Xander Bogaerts in the ninth inning for the two-run cushion for Boston.
“It’s great, but we’ve still got one more to get where we want to be,” Victorino said (via the Associated Press). “We’re going to get a few days off to rest and see what happens in the other division series, and we’ll go from there.”
Including the three wins in the ALDS, the Red Sox won 15 of 23 meetings between the teams this season.
The Red Sox will play either the Detroit Tigers or Oakland A’s — they play Game 5 on Thursday night to determine who will advance.