CLEVELAND -- Despite another monster night from Mookie Betts, the Red Sox again fell short in their attempt to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, taking a 4-3 loss to the Indians in 11 innings on Sunday night at Progressive Field.But Boston still has six more chances to win just
CLEVELAND -- Despite another monster night from Mookie Betts, the Red Sox again fell short in their attempt to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, taking a 4-3 loss to the Indians in 11 innings on Sunday night at Progressive Field.
But Boston still has six more chances to win just one game, or have Houston lose one, and that goal will be accomplished. The next victory will also give the Sox a franchise-record 106.
Betts did all he could to make it happen in the finale of the six-game road trip, coming up with his seventh four-hit game of the season. The American League Most Valuable Player candidate belted two doubles and a homer, coming a triple shy of his second cycle this year.
"Yeah, everybody told me, 'You need to hit a triple. You need to hit a triple.' I was going to go up there, do what I can to get on base and score a run. Wasn't necessarily trying to do it," said Betts.
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It was a strong return to action by Betts, who was rested for the first two games of this series, which came on the heels of the Sox clinching the AL East on Thursday night in New York.
"Yeah, he's fine," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "You guys should take a look at his numbers after two off-days in a row. He's probably [hitting] like .800."
In the seven games Betts has played this year coming off two straight days when he didn't start, he is 12-for-30 with seven homers.
It was Greg Allen who got the walk-off hit for the Indians, an RBI single to left through a drawn-in infield with the bases loaded and one out against Red Sox lefty Robby Scott, who came on for losing pitcher William Cuevas.
Cuevas was the last pitcher who deserved to get the loss in this one. In 5 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, he gave up two hits, struck out four and threw 93 pitches.
"Oh, amazing," said Cora. "That was fun to watch. Him and [catcher] Christian [Vazquez]. Christian had a great game behind the plate, did an outstanding job staying with the game plan, calling pitches with conviction, blocking balls, throwing people out. I think William was the star of the game."
Betts got the night off to a promising start for the Red Sox when he smashed the seventh pitch of the game high off the wall in left for a double. He wound up scoring on a wild pitch by Indians righty Adam Plutko.
Betts continued is big night by bashing a solo shot to center in the fifth to tie the game, his 31st of the season. He added a double in the seventh inning.
"You can kind of give yourself a pat on the back, but you still have to go out, play the game, and take care of business," said Betts. "I think it's all I really want to do. If I do good, cool, as long as we win the game. That's kind of the most important thing for me."
FROM THE TRAINERS ROOM
There was a minor scare for the Red Sox in the top of the seventh when shortstop Xander Bogaerts was removed from the game in the middle of his at-bat after experiencing a pinching sensation in his left shoulder on a foul ball. Cora took Bogaerts out as a precaution, but he was fine by the end of the game.
"It's nothing now," said Bogaerts. "It was just during the at-bats. Probably the cold weather wasn't helpful with that issue, but I feel good. I'm ready for tomorrow."
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The Red Sox finished the regular season with a 51-30 record on the road, tying the 2002 club for the best mark in club history. Interestingly, the '02 squad didn't make the playoffs and went just 42-39 at Fenway. This year's Sox have been a juggernaut at home, going 54-21 thus far.
HE SAID IT
"I was [mad], but Cora, I respect him so much. In that situation, it's hard for me as a player to understand, but once I got out of the game, I kind of understand, you know? In the heat of the moment, it was really hard for me to go by his word and come out of the game, but I mean, I have so much respect for him, and he said it. I tried to convince him, and he said no in a way that I could not come back with an answer. I had to let it go." -- Bogaerts, on not being thrilled at being removed from the game
As the Red Sox open their final homestand of the season on Monday at 7:10 ET, right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 3.98 ERA) makes the start against the Orioles. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 3.79 ERA) will piggyback Eovaldi and pitch out of the bullpen for the first time this season. The Orioles counter with righty Dylan Bundy (8-15, 5.37 ERA).
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.