WASHINGTON – Christian Vázquez broke the tie with an RBI triple in the ninth inning, and the Boston Red Sox came very close to making the playoff berth, beating the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Saturday night.
Boston is tied with the New York Yankees in the fight for the first wild-card spot to the American League playoffs, heading into this Sunday’s games, the last day of the regular season.
The Red Sox will send ace Chris Sale to the mound against Washington in search of the victory that will put them in the playoffs. If they win, they’ll be hometown in Tuesday’s wild-card game, no matter what New York does, as Boston was 10-9 in their head-to-head games against the Yankees this season.
If the Red Sox lose on Sunday, they are still guaranteed a playoff game on Monday. They are a game ahead of Toronto and a game and a half ahead of Seattle.
The Mariners later faced the Los Angeles Angels.
Tanner Houck resolved five innings to perfection, striking out eight, but Washington tied the score 1-1 in the eighth, via a long sacrifice fly by Juan Soto to center field with the bases loaded against Austin Davis (1- 2).
JD Martínez opened the ninth chapter by managing a ticket. Puerto Rican Vázquez then hit his hit to the right field in front of closer Tanner Rainey (1-3).
This allowed the career of Cuban José Iglesias to arrive in a comfortable way, who entered as a pinch runner, to place the game 2-1 with two outs. Travis Shaw hit a single that drove in to Vazquez and Kiké Hernandez homered off Mason Thompson to make it 5-1.
Andrew Stevenson hit a two-run homer in the ninth before Hansel Robles scored his 14th save.
For the Red Sox, Puerto Ricans Hernández 4-2 with a run scored and two RBIs, Vázquez 4-1 with a run scored and an RBI. Rafael Devers 5-1 with one run scored and one produced. The Cuban Iglesias without an official turn but with one scored. The Mexican Alex Verdugo 4-0.
For the Nationals, Venezuelans Alcides Escobar 3-0, Keibert Ruiz 2-0 with a run scored, Gerardo Parra 1-1. The Dominican Soto 3-0 with an RBI. The Cuban Yadiel Hernández 1-0.