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.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.