Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sox Clinch TIE for Play Off Spot!

Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz reacts as he runs across the plate after hitting a two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the third inning of their baseball game in Toronto, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,J.P. Moczulski)

TORONTO—David Ortiz hit a two-run homer, Daisuke Matsuzaka remained unbeaten on the road and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 on Sunday to clinch at least a tie for the AL wild-card.

Boston (91-64) needs one more win or a New York loss to secure its fifth playoff berth in six seasons. New York hosts Baltimore in the final regular season game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night, but Red Sox manager Terry Francona doesn't plan on staying up late enough to see what happens.

"There's a pretty good chance I'll be asleep," Francona said before the game.

The Red Sox return to Fenway Park on Monday to close the regular season with a seven-game homestand, including four against Cleveland and three against the Yankees.

New York begins a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday before heading to Boston.

Matsuzaka (18-2) improved to 9-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 13 road starts, holding the Blue Jays to just two hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two.

Hideki Okajima pitched a perfect eighth before Jonathan Papelbon closed it out for his 40th save in 45 opportunities.

Vernon Wells had a leadoff double against Matsuzaka in the second, and Joe Inglett did the same in the sixth, but the Blue Jays couldn't score either time.

Ortiz gave Matsuzaka all the help he would need with his 22nd homer, a two-out shot to left in the third. It was Ortiz's 230th homer with Boston, tying him with Mo Vaughn for sixth on the team's all-time list.

Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 12 games with three extra-base hits. Ellsbury tripled and scored in the first on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly, doubled and scored on Ortiz's homer and doubled again in the fifth. He finished 3-for-4.

Making his fourth major league starts, Toronto right-hander Scott Richmond (0-3) allowed three runs and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four.

Notes:@ Dustin Pedroia hit his major league-leading 52nd double in the eighth. ... Boston SS Julio Lugo, out since July 12 with a strained quad, felt "a little tender" after taking ground balls Saturday, Francona said, adding that Lugo's "availability is certainly in question." ... Boston wrapped up its road schedule at 39-42. ... The Red Sox and Blue Jays split their season series at 9-9.

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