BOSTON (AP) -
has been in Boston long enough to compare celebrations, a two-time World Series champion who is returning to the playoffs
for the fifth time in six years.
, it's all new.
''I feel like a kid, jumping around spraying champagne with all these guys,'' said Bay, a midseason acquisition whose go-ahead
single helped the
beat Cleveland 5-4 on Tuesday night and clinch at least a wild-card berth. ''It's been a different journey for me.''
needed just one pitch to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth as Boston took a six-game lead over the
New York Yankees
with five games left. The
still have a chance to win the AL East, where Tampa Bay holds a three-game lead after sweeping the Orioles in a doubleheader.
''We still have a chance to win the division and win it all,'' center fielder
said. ''I think we have a better shot this year than we did last year.''
Once the much-maligned owners of an 86-year championship drought, the
have won two titles in the last four seasons and missed the playoffs once since 2003. They have not won back-to-back World
Series since 1915 and '16, but they'll have a chance to repeat when the playoffs start next week.
''We're dangerous in the playoffs,'' said designated hitter
, who wore goggles to protect his eyes from the champagne. ''Everybody knows that.''
Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth before Papelbon came on and, with his first pitch, got
to ground out. Papelbon, who was on the mound when Boston closed out Colorado to sweep the Series last fall, retired the Indians
in order in the ninth to earn his 41st save, getting
to pop up to shortstop
to end the game.
poured out of their dugout and bullpen, hugging and slapping hands in the infield before retreating to the plasticized clubhouse
for the traditional spraying of champagne.
''It's different, but it doesn't get any less exciting or less satisfying,'' manager
said. ''We know we have more baseball to play.''
Wakefield (10-11) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings, striking out six. It's his 10th season in Boston with 10
or more wins, tying
for the most in franchise history.
Lee, the favorite to win the AL
award, had won 11 straight decisions in 13 starts since picking up his second loss on July 6. He allowed five runs and nine
hits with three walks in seven innings, striking out eight; it was his third consecutive start allowing four or more total
''He wasn't as sharp as we've seen him,'' Indians manager
said. ''It's that time of year. That might have something to do with it.''
The Indians lost to Boston in last year's playoffs after leading 3-1 in the best-of-seven AL championship series, but they
stumbled into third place in the AL Central this season and have long-since been eliminated from playoff contention. They
beat Boston on Monday night to keep the
from clinching, but they could delay the celebration no longer.
''A lot of guys went down and we found a way to get into the playoffs to defend our title,'' second baseman
said in an on-field interview that was broadcast on the scoreboard to chants of ''M-V-P!'' ''We have a chance to do what we
did last year, and that's all we were looking for - an opportunity.''
Injured third baseman
, last year's Series MVP, joined his teammates on the field, spraying champagne into the crowd. Papelbon lifted the bases
out of the infield and handed them into the stands.
made the rounds along the fence, shaking hands with fans recording the moment on their cellphones.
Bay, who was a desperation pickup from Pittsburgh when the
needed to unload
at the trading deadline, spent much of the celebration off to the side in the clubhouse, quietly reflecting on the journey.
''I'm a first timer, but I definitely can get used to it,'' he said. ''When I got called into the office the day I was traded,
I remember them saying to me, 'Thanks for all you did for us. Now go win a ring.' It finally paid off.''
Ortiz doubled high off the center-field wall to lead off the fourth inning and
followed with a home run over the Green Monster to give Boston a 2-0 lead. The Indians made it 4-2 in the top of the fifth
singled in a run, Carroll followed with an RBI groundout and Shin-Soo Choo and
hit back-to-back RBI doubles.
Cleveland's lead didn't last long.
took a 5-4 lead when Pedroia hit a two-run double and Bay singled.
Notes: Cleveland 3B
left the game in the third inning with a left calf strain. ... Pedroia's 53rd double of the year tied
(1912) for third-most in Boston history. ... Lee's unbeaten streak is the longest since
won 13 straight decisions for the Cardinals in 2005. ... The
Toronto Blue Jays
claimed Indians left-hander Reid Santos off waivers.