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Red Sox hold on to stay tied for wild-card lead

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Published : Sept. 28, 2011 - 16:11

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BALTIMORE (AP) ― The Boston Red Sox celebrated a rare September victory for about 20 minutes before turning their attention toward their next game ― the last and most important of the 162-game schedule.

The Red Sox maintained a share of the AL wild-card lead Tuesday night, using four home runs to beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-7 and set up a dramatic conclusion to the regular season.

The skidding Red Sox were 6-19 this month before rebounding to edge the last-place Orioles. The win, combined with Tampa Bay’s 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees, kept Boston and the Rays tied with one game left.

After blowing a nine-game lead in the span of 23 days, the Red Sox will send Jon Lester (15-9) to the mound against Baltimore on Wednesday night in an effort to get into the postseason for the fourth time in five years. Lester, Boston’s winningest pitcher, will be throwing on three days’ rest.
Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder watches his third homer of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap News) Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder watches his third homer of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap News)

A month ago, the Red Sox would shudder at the prospect of a must-win situation on the final day. But here they are, and they intend to make the best of it.

Cardinals 13, Astros 6

HOUSTON (AP) ― The St. Louis Cardinals are tied with Atlanta for the NL wild-card lead, getting a tiebreaking two-run triple from Ryan Theriot in the seventh inning of a 13-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

The sliding Braves lost 7-1 to Philadelphia, sending the race for the NL’s final playoff spot to the final day of the regular season. If the teams are tied after Wednesday’s game, St. Louis will host a one-game playoff on Thursday night.

The Cardinals trailed 5-0 early and appeared to be headed for a second straight loss to the Astros. But St. Louis scored five times in the fourth and erased a 6-5 deficit with a four-run seventh.

Phillies 7, Braves 1

Marlins 3, Nationals 2

White Sox 2, Blue Jays 1

Brewers 6, Pirates 4

Twins 7, Royals 4

Rays 5, Yankees 3

Reds 5, Mets 4

Tigers 9, Indians 6

A’s 7, Mariners 0

D-backs 7, Dodgers 6

Cubs 6, Padres 2

Rangers 10, Angels 3

Giants 7, Rockies 0