Red Sox advance to ALCS with 3-1 defeat of Rays

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Boston will play for the American League pennant.

Jake Peavy yielded just one run over 5 2/3 innings and the Red Sox offense managed a couple of key hits to dismiss the Rays from the 2013 postseason mix with a 3-1 defeat in Game 4 of the ALDS on Tuesday night at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.

Peavy had a 12.10 career postseason ERA entering his Game 4 start and had the look of a man wanting redemption. He walked none, struck out three and surrendered only five hits before being lifted in the bottom of the sixth. The veteran righty was outwardly confused and frustrated by that early hook — he had thrown only 74 pitches — but lefty Craig Breslow entered the game and fanned the first four batters he faced in dominant fashion. Red Sox relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara were also excellent in the eighth and ninth innings to preserve Boston’s big win.

The Red Sox drove Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson from the game in the second inning after loading the bases with no outs but came away with no runs. It wasn’t until the seventh inning — on a Joel Peralta wild pitch — that the Sox finally scored. A second run in that seventh frame on a Shane Victorino infield single pushed the American League East champions ahead of the AL Wild Card-winning Rays for good.

Dustin Pedroia added some insurance when he drove in Xander Bogaerts on a sac fly in the ninth.

The Red Sox get to play spectator for Thursday’s decisive Game 5 between the Tigers and Athletics in Oakland. The winner of that Tigers vs. A’s game will face Boston in the ALCS for a trip to the World Series.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.