Red Sox eliminate Rays 6-5 with late sacrifice fly

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — Kike Hernandez delivered Boston’s second straight walk-off win, scoring pinch-runner Danny Santana with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to send the Red Sox to the AL Championship Series with a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

After winning Game 3 of their AL Division Series on Sunday with Christian Vazquez‘s two-run homer in the 13th, Boston took Game 4 for its first set of consecutive walk-off postseason wins since 2004 ALCS Games 4 and 5, both courtesy of David Ortiz against the Yankees.

Rafael Devers had a three-run home run off rookie Shane McClanahan to ignite a five-run third inning that put Boston in front 5-0. Tampa Bay battled back and tied it in the eighth.

The wild-card Red Sox will await the winner of the other ALDS matchup between the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox. Houston leads 2-1 going into Game 4 in Chicago on Tuesday, a makeup of Monday’s rainout.

Boston improved to 15-3 in potential clinching postseason games and have won each of their last eight. It brings an abrupt end to the season for the Rays, who’d been eyeing back-to-back trips to the World Series after winning 100 games during the regular season and rolling to AL East title.

Vazquez led off the ninth with a single through the hole to left field and moved to second a sacrifice bunt by Christian Arroyo. Travis Shaw then hit a bouncing ground ball to third that went for an infield single when Yandy Diaz bounced his throw to first baseman Ji-Man Choi.

No lease extension, but Orioles and governor tout partnership

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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.