The Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 Thursday night to become the first American League team to clinch a playoff berth.
John Lackey took a no-hitter into the seventh and Stephen Drew crushed a two run homer to take Boston from worst to first in one season. The Red Sox finished last in the AL East in 2012 with a 69-93 record. This season they have 93 wins and sit atop the division standings.
Boston hasn't clinched the AL East yet, but it's almost certain they will in the coming days. Still, they're spot in the postseason is assured. The only other team to clinch so far is the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Red Sox didn't make it quite as dramatic as the Dodgers. They were up 3-0 in the sixth inning when John Lackey's no-hitter was broken up by an Adam Jones solo home run. The ball sailed over the green monster, but without men on base it was barely a scratch in the Red Sox armor.
The Orioles managed one more hit.
It has to feel good to be Lackey right now and start Boston's playoff clinching win. Despite having a stellar 3.44 era, the Red Sox haven't given Lackey the run support he's deserved this year. His record stands at 10-12. and it won't reach.500 by the season's end.
Next up for Boston is clinching the East. They need one more win. It's looking pretty good.
The Red Sox playoff chances look pretty good, too. They have a spectacular pitching staff, great defense, a good offense. The old saying is, "defense wins championships," and Boston's looks pretty good.
Perhaps the first two teams to clinch playoff berths will meet in the World Series? The Dodgers have the pitching and the offense, but their defense is suspect. Regardless, it's an exciting time to be a sports fan in either city.
Are you excited the Red Sox clinched a playoff berth? Will they be seeing the Dodgers in the World Series?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]