Boston Red Sox

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 11: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his game winning sacrifice fly with teammates in the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during Game 4 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The Boston Red Sox have advanced to the American League Championship Series after a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS. Enrique Hernandez smacked a sac fly to left field in the bottom of the ninth, which was more than enough to score pinch runner Danny Santana to secure the walkoff win.

Christian Vazquez got the winning run on base with a single snuck through to left field. Christian Arroyo moved Vazquez over with a well-placed sacrifice bunt, then pinch-hitter Travis Shaw reached on an infield single as Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi couldn’t handle the low throw.

Boston burst out to a 5-0 lead after a five-run third inning, sparked by a three-run homer for Rafael Devers. Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez each grabbed a hit to tack on two more.

The Rays started to chip away starting in the top of the fifth inning, when they manufactured a run off a Jordan Luplow double, a Yandy Diaz flyball out, and an Austin Meadows RBI grounder. Rays rookie sensation Wander Franco made it interesting with a two-run homer in the top of the sixth to make it 5-3.

Tampa Bay finally caught back up in the top of the eighth, scoring two runs off Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier. Back-to-back RBI hits by Kevin Kiermaier and Randy Arozarena knotted things back up.

Kiermaier followed up his clutch hitting with a throw from right field to nab Verdugo at third base in the bottom of the eighth. The play ended the inning and was held up after a replay review. Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock responded well after the eighth with a perfect seven-pitch ninth inning, setting the stage for Boston’s walkoff win.

Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez had a strong bounceback effort after a rough start in Game 1. “E-Rod” allowed two runs on just three hits and no walks in five innings, striking out six.

Boston now awaits the winner of the ALDS series between the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox.

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