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Red Sox clinch 1st playoff berth since '09
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - John Lackey's no-hit bid was dashed by a titanic home run, but the Orioles couldn't sink the Red Sox's hope of locking up their first playoff berth in four years.
Lackey threw a two-hitter and the Red Sox beat the Orioles 3-1 Thursday night to clinch their first postseason trip since 2009.
Lackey (10-12) carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a long home run to Adam Jones. Undeterred, he surrendered only one other hit, a single, and struck out eight for his first complete game win since 2009.
It was the right-hander's 16th career complete game and second this season, the last one coming Aug. 23 on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox lost that game 2-0.
"I mean, it's nice to be a part of going to the playoffs," said Lackey. "There was a lot of hard work getting back to this point, for sure. To be back here and be pitching well again and being healthy, it's been fun."
The AL East-leading Red Sox became the first American League team to clinch a postseason berth this season. The Dodgers won the NL West earlier Thursday.
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman (16-7) gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out eight.
"That's the way these games go at the end of the season," Tillman said. "You have to be on top of it from the get-go all the way through. I made some mistakes and they were big."
The Orioles, chasing an AL wild card berth, had a three-game winning streak snapped. They were trying to become the first team this season to sweep the Red Sox in Boston, but couldn't solve Lackey in the three-game series finale.
They are 4-2 on a 10-game road trip.
Stephen Drew hit a two-run homer for the Red Sox, who improved to 12-5 this month -- two years after going 7-20 in September during an epic collapse, and a year after finishing last in the East.
Jones knocked an 84 mph Lackey fastball over the Green Monster seats and out of the park with one out in the seventh inning to break up the right-hander's no-hit bid and cut the Boston lead to 3-1.
To that point, Baltimore's only baserunners came on walks by Brian Roberts in the third inning and Nate McLouth in the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox had built a 3-0 lead with a three-run second.
Drew sent his 13th home run of the season into the Green Monster seats, also scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who had led off with a double. Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a double and beat the throw home on Dustin Pedroia's single to right field, making it 3-0.
After Jones homered in the seventh, Lackey struck out Nick Markakis and got Danny Valencia on a grounder. He gave up a one-out single to J.J. Hardy in the eighth, then set the Orioles down in order in the ninth.
Lackey walked one and threw 113 pitches -- 82 for strikes.
The Red Sox are 4-2 on a nine-game homestand that ends against the Blue Jays this weekend ... The Orioles finish their road trip with four against the Tampa Bay Rays ... Boston will visit Baltimore in the teams' final series of the season Sept. 27-29 ... The Red Sox lost a series for the first time since dropping two of three at home against the Yankees from Aug. 16-18.
09/20 02:27:55 ET
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