October 2, 2005

Red Sox clinch AL wildcard after 10-1 romp

By Mike Shalin

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) - The Boston Red Sox, the
World Series champions, earned the American League (AL) wild
card spot Sunday with a 10-1 victory over the AL East-winning
New York Yankees.

The Red Sox, who will open the best-of-five division series
against the White Sox in Chicago Tuesday, learned they had
sealed the playoff spot in the fifth inning of Sunday's game
when the Indians' 3-1 loss to the White Sox in Cleveland went
up on the left field scoreboard.

The Fenway Park crowd went wild.

With the Red Sox already leading 6-0, there was limited
reaction in the Boston dugout where manager Terry Francona
hugged shortstop Edgar Renteria, who then congratulated his
team mates.

Boston are scheduled to send Matt Clement to the mound
(against Jose Contreras) in Chicago for Game 1 Tuesday, with
David Wells pitching Game 2.

The Red Sox won the season series with the White Sox 5-4.

"There wasn't a whole lot that was easy (this season),"
said Francona as his team held a champagne celebration.


"We went through so much and it was sometimes hard to be
good. As important as the game is today, when word filters down
and you see the scoreboard changing, it is hard not to feel
emotional. It just kind of hits you."

Tim Wakefield, who lost to the Yankees Saturday when New
York wrapped up the division, said: "We came in today knowing
we needed to win. We didn't want to back into the playoffs by
having Cleveland lose and we lose. We came out and played

By losing, and with the Los Angeles Angels winning in
Texas, the Yankees, who won the division by beating the Red Sox
10-9 in the season series, will open their playoff series in
Anaheim Tuesday.

Both teams finished 95-67 but the Angels got the home field
because they beat the Yankees in the season series 6-3.

New York are slated to pitch Mike Mussina against LA's
Bartolo Colon in Game 1.

"We're excited about going to the post-season -- there's no
question about that," said Yankee manager Joe Torre.


Manny Ramirez hit a three-run home run and Curt Schilling
(8-8) scattered eight hits over six innings to lead the Red Sox
charge on Sunday.

Ramirez's blast, off reliever Scott Proctor, capped a
five-run Boston fourth that broke the game open. It was the
45th homer of the year for Ramirez, who tied his career high.

Bill Mueller and Doug Mirabelli also homered for the Sox,
Mirabelli hitting the club's only pinch-hit home run of the
year in the sixth inning.

Most Valuable Player candidate David Ortiz drove in his
148th run of the season with an RBI single in the big fourth

Both teams cleared their benches from the sixth inning on,
with some Red Sox players removed from spots on the field to
allow the home fans to offer ovations.

When the game ended, the Red Sox celebrated on the field
just as the Yankees had done the previous day as the rivals
finished with the same record. Members of the Red Sox thanked
the fans over the stadium sound system.

Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter left the game in the fourth
inning after bruising his right knee on a first-inning
head-first slide.

Jared Wright (5-5) was the losing pitcher.

"We're sitting here as the division champs because we're
10-9 against them," Torre said. "You can't get more balanced
than that. We could meet them again and, if we do, it will be
another shootout."