The Red Sox clubhouse was quiet after the team clinched its first postseason berth since 2009, about as quiet as the Orioles’ bats were against John Lackey.
Boston has much bigger goals.
Lackey pitched a two-hit complete game, Stephen Drew hit a two-run homer, and the Red Sox beat Baltimore, 3-1, on Thursday night to complete an impressive turnaround from last season’s last place-finish.
The win ensured Boston at least a wild-card berth and lowered its magic number to one for clinching the AL East. A year ago, under Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox finished 69-93 record — their worst since 1965.
“We’ve still got some other goals ahead of us,” Lackey said. “Hopefully, here in the next night or two we can get a party going.”
Just before Adam Jones’ game-ending flyout to right, the crowd chanted, “Lackey! Lackey!” And after Daniel Nava caught the ball, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia embraced Lackey in front of the mound as Red Sox players came out of the dugout and lined up for their usual, low-key postgame handshakes.
“The next step is a more important one than this,” said manager John Farrell, who has led Boston’s turnaround after one disastrous year under Valentine. “Winning the East, that’s been the stated goal since day one of spring training. That’s getting closer and I think that will probably be a little bit more the realization of where we’ve come from and where we are at that moment.”
ATLANTA FAN’S DEATH RULED SUICIDE
Authorities in Atlanta say the death of a man who fell over a railing at Turner Field has been ruled a suicide.
Investigators with the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office said that they discussed the death of 30-year-old Ronald Lee Homer Jr. with his family last week before releasing their findings to the media.
Police say Homer died after falling about 85 feet from a walkway on the fourth level of the baseball stadium after a rain delay in an Aug. 12 game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. Police have said Homer, of Conyers, Ga., landed in the players’ parking lot.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer provided enough encouraging signs during his workout that general manager Terry Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire remain optimistic he will play again this season after a concussion. He took a foul ball in the mask on Aug. 19. … Angels ace Jered Weaver has been scratched from his Friday start against the Mariners because of tightness in his right forearm.