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Behind a closed clubhouse door, the Boston Red Sox celebrated their sixth playoff berth in seven years in the usual way: with spraying beer, commemorative hats and T-shirts, and the customary promises that they will play better once the postseason begins.
"I like our chances," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said, popping out to the concourse to address a few dozen reporters who waited three hours after the Red Sox lost to Toronto for the Rangers' loss that eliminated Boston's last remaining pursuer. "It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you're in."
The Blue Jays hit six homers - three for Adam Lind - to beat the Red Sox 8-7 on Tuesday night and send them to their fifth consecutive loss. But Boston backed into the AL wild-card berth when the Angels beat the Rangers 5-2 and eliminated Texas from the race.
"We tried to do it on the field," third baseman Mike Lowell said. "It's a little different, but I don't think that takes anything away from what we've done."
The Red Sox fell behind 8-2 before scoring five times in the eighth inning and put two on with two outs in the ninth before Jason Frasor got Kevin Youkilis looking on a 3-2 pitch to end it. That spoiled their chances of having an on-field celebration they could share with another sold-out Fenway crowd.
"I had that feeling," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said hopefully. "We've had games where we won like that. Just try to get the tying run to the plate and give yourself a chance."
The Red Sox clubhouse was quiet afterward, and the televisions were off while reporters milled about waiting for players to interview. Francona said he was going out with his son, and when asked if he would watch the Rangers game catcher Victor Martinez said, "I don't know. I might be sleeping by that time."
The Blue Jays led 8-2 when Youkilis hit an RBI double, Ortiz hit the wall of the Red Sox bullpen for another run-scoring double and J.D. Drew homered over the bullpen to make it a one-run game. Frasor relieved Shawn Camp and got Casey Kotchman to pop up to end the inning.
With policemen lining up in the aisles in case of a celebration, Pedroia hit a line drive to the center field warning track with one out and one on in the ninth. Martinez walked before Youkilis was called out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
"As Frasor's done all year, he did a good job and closed it out," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Jose Bautista hit the first pitch of the game high over the Green Monster, and after Aaron Hill singled Lind hit a 1-2 pitch from Clay Buchholz to center for another homer as the Blue Jays took a 4-0 lead after one-half inning for the second night in a row.
Ricky Romero (13-9) allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out three in five innings to beat Boston for the first time in five tries this season. Buchholz (7-4) allowed seven runs on eight hits - five of them homers - while walking one and striking out four in five innings.
Kevin Millar, the clubhouse jester of Boston's 2004 World Series title, had a homer, double and single for Toronto, and Hill hit his 36th homer of the season.
Lind also homered in the fifth and seventh innings for the first three-homer game of his career. In his fifth plate appearance, Lind was hit on the right elbow by Jonathan Papelbon. Lind said he did not think it was intentional, but he sounded disappointed that he didn't get a chance to swing for homer No. 4.
"It was going to be fun. The crowd was back in the game," he said. "It's always fun facing Papelbon. He's one of the best in the game. I was going to go out there and try to put the head of the bat on the ball."
This program aired on September 30, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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