The Giants had a scoring chance go by the wayside in the bottom of the second inning.
Buster Posey singled off Doug Fister to begin the inning before Hunter Pence flew out to center field and Brandon Belt struck out swinging. However, Gregor Blanco followed with a line drive up the middle which deflected off Fister’s head and fell for a single. Fister threw a few warm-up pitches and managed to convince all involved that he was OK to stay in. Pretty scary given what happened with Brandon McCarthy this year, but there you go.
When play continued, Fister walked Brandon Crawford to load the bases. However, he managed to get opposing pitcher Madison Bumgarner to pop out to left-center to avoid any damage.
Bumgarner has struck out five over three scoreless innings thus far, so we’re scoreless going into the bottom of the third in Game 2.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.