Leading Off: Red Sox, Rockies try to clinch, Stanton near 60

If the Red Sox lose on Saturday and the Yankees beat Toronto, Boston will enter the final day of the regular season with a 1-game lead. They owned a five-game lead on the Yankees and had already clinched a playoff berth.

If Boston and NY wind up even, they will play a one-game tiebreaker Monday at Yankee Stadium for the division crown, with the loser getting a wild-card spot. Had the Red Sox won, Friday, it would have all been clinched, because the Astros would have been two behind Cleveland but the Indians own the tiebreaker with a 5-1 series win over Houston.

The Houston Astros will look to add to their current five game winning streak and go for the sweep on Sunday after taking the first two games of the set, including a 3-2 win in game two on Friday, marking the 'Stros 100th win of the season.

In the ninth, Ramirez doubled with two outs to put the tying run on second base. But with the Fenway Park crowd rooting for a rally, Rafael Devers grounded out to end it, with Ken Giles getting his 34th save.

Four losses in five games later, we have reached DEFCON 2.

"It is what it is", Pomeranz said of the start.

Houston is one game behind Cleveland for the AL's best record, and there's little mystery about what's made the Astros so good. After Kyle Schwarber struck out, Happ drove his 24th home run to left.

Orlando Arcia's fielder's choice bouncer to short with the infield in plated Domingo Santana for a 4-1 advantage.

The Sox have been in sole possession of first place since the end of play on August 1, but the AL East is the only division still undecided, and last night suggested quite a gap between the East and West.

The Rays have been eliminated from playoff contention and assured of a losing record, but they now know they'll finish ahead of the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.

Worst of the bunch was last night's starter Eduardo Rodriguez, a source of stability this month, who coughed up five runs in 12⁄3 innings before being lifted in the second. Four relievers combined to blank Boston on one hit. Jose Berrios (14-8) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win in his first major league relief appearance, a planned short outing in case he's needed in relief of starter Ervin Santana for Tuesday's wild-card game.

From there, Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout for his 22nd save. Though a loss on Thursday (Sept. 28) hurt the Yankees a bit, especially after Aaron Judge his yet another home run, the Yankees still have a shot to catch the first-place #Boston Red Sox. The Brewers stayed alive with a 5-3 win over the Cardinals but were unable to gain any ground on the Rockies, who closed their magic number to 1 with a 9-1 win over the Dodgers at Coors Field. Stephen Vogt hit a solo homer and had three RBIs to back Chase Anderson, who held St. Louis to a run and three hits over seven innings.

A Yankee for nine seasons, the 37-year-old left-hander will become a free agent after the season.

Two games left. It would help the blood pressure of all parties involved if the Red Sox take care of business on Saturday and at least give themselves Sunday off.

The concept of a bullpen game in the postseason may seem far-fetched but so is expecting to win with Porcello or Fister.


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