TORONTO (AP) -The
Boston Red Sox
moved one step closer to the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.
hit a two-run homer,
remained unbeaten on the road and the
beat Toronto 3-0 on Sunday, eliminating the
from postseason contention and clinching at least a tie for the AL wild card.
Boston (91-64) needs one more win or a New York loss to secure a playoff spot. New York beat Baltimore 7-3 in the final regular
season game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night, a game
said he didn't plan on staying up late enough to watch.
''We don't take anything for granted, we never have,'' Francona said. ''We played a pretty good game today. We'll show up
tomorrow and, if we play good and do all our stuff, those magic numbers will take care of themselves.''
The Yankees weren't likely to be on in the Ortiz household, either. With the Green Bay Packers hosting the Dallas Cowboys
at the same time, the slugger said his wife, a Wisconsin native, would be in charge of the television.
''I'm going to be watching football,'' Ortiz said.
Besides, Ortiz would rather party at the stadium with his teammates.
''The best way to celebrate is by (messing) up your clubhouse,'' Ortiz said. ''I'm not going to be popping champagne at my
The victory moved Boston 1 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay in the AL East. The Rays, who lost Sunday, have eight games remaining,
four each at Baltimore and Detroit.
''We really had to win today to put ourselves in the right spot for the rest of the week,'' catcher
said. ''We've got a lot of fun baseball ahead of us.''
return to Fenway Park on Monday to close the regular season with a seven-game homestand, including four against Cleveland
and three against the Yankees.
New York begins a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday before heading to Boston.
Matsuzaka (18-2) improved to 9-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 13 road starts, holding the
to just two hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Varitek said Matsuzaka was ''phenomenal.''
''That's not an easy lineup to face,'' Varitek said. ''He was able to move the ball in and out, use his breaking ball to both
sides, set it up with his heater. He did an awesome job today.''
The Japanese right-hander said reaching 18 victories was an important personal milestone.
''Since the moment I turned pro, I wanted to match my win total to the number on my jersey,'' Matsuzaka said through a translator.
''It took me 10 years, but I finally got there.''
pitched a perfect eighth before
closed it out for his 40th save in 45 opportunities.
had a leadoff double against Matsuzaka in the second, and
did the same in the sixth, but the
couldn't score either time.
Ortiz gave Matsuzaka all the help he would need with his 22nd homer, a two-out shot to left in the third. It was Ortiz's 230th
homer with Boston, tying him with
for sixth on the team's all-time list.
''The ball was carrying today,'' Francona said. ''I didn't think (Ortiz's) ball was going out of the ballpark.''
extended his hitting streak to 12 games with three extra-base hits. Ellsbury tripled and scored in the first on
's sacrifice fly, doubled and scored on Ortiz's homer and doubled again in the fifth. He finished 3-for-4.
''It's been nice to come on strong at the end,'' said Ellsbury, who is batting .345 (19-for-55) over his streak.
Making his fourth major league starts, Toronto right-hander
(0-3) allowed three runs and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four.
hit his major league-leading 52nd double in the eighth. ... Toronto 1B
(hand) left the game after five innings. ... Boston SS
, out since July 12 with a strained quad, felt ''a little tender'' after taking ground balls Saturday, Francona said, adding
that Lugo's ''availability is certainly in question.'' ... Boston wrapped up its road schedule at 39-42. ... The
split their season series at 9-9.