Boston Red Sox

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox hits a solo home run against the Washington Nationals in the fourth inning at Nationals Park on October 02, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

It took until the ninth inning of the 162nd game of the season, but the 2021 Boston Red Sox officially qualified for the 2021 postseason Sunday by way of a 7-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

And they can thank the bat of Rafael Devers for the opportunity to play a 163rd game.

Tied at 5-5 in the top of the ninth inning, an error put Kyle Schwarber on base and gave Devers a chance to play hero against the Nats’ Kyle Finnegan. And tossed a splitter, Devers absolutely smashed his 38th homer of the season to deep center field, gave Boston a much-needed two-run edge entering the bottom of the ninth.

It was just the most impactful hit of an afternoon that required more than a few of ’em after the Red Sox found themselves in a 5-1 hole through five innings of play at Nationals Park, and with ace Chris Sale on the mound no less.

Prior to Devers’ go-ahead blast, it was a two-run double from Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo in the top of the seventh that knotted things back up at 5-5, and put the Red Sox back even in a win-and-in contest.

So in a day headlined by potential chaos with a four-way tie for the wild card possible when action began, dramatic wins by the Yankees and Red Sox made the day simple enough, and has set the stage for a winner-take-all contest between the sides at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.