Xander Bogaerts polished off the Red Sox’ 10-inning, 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays in dazzling fashion on Saturday, crushing a Chris Rowley fastball to dead center field for a walk-off grand slam:
It wasn’t exactly Bogaerts’ first slam of the year — he checked that box twice in April alone — but it marked the club’s first walk-off grand slam since Rico Brogna did it against the Devil Rays in August 2000. In fact, this has been a remarkably grand slam-filled season for the Red Sox so far; according to ESPN Stats & Info, they’ve racked up nine slams in the first four months of the season, just two shy of the all-time record they established in 2005.
The walk-off homer capped a wild game for the Red Sox, one in which they took an early lead with J.D. Martinez‘s league-leading 29th home run, lost Eduardo Rodriguez to a right ankle sprain, and sent the game to extras with a last-minute RBI double from Jackie Bradley in the ninth. They’ve now taken the lead in the four-game series, 2-1, and will go for the win on Sunday afternoon when southpaw Brian Johnson takes on Blue Jays’ right-hander Marcus Stroman at 1:05 PM EDT.
TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.
Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.
If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.
“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”
Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.
The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.
Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.