This team looked little like the one in 2018. The path it took bore no resemblance to that club. But, ultimately, the 2021 Red Sox have landed in the same place as their brethren from three years before - the American League Championship Series.
The Red Sox beat the Rays, 6-5, in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, and because of it they are moving on to either Chicago or Houston.
As has been the case throughout entire campaign, resilience served Alex Cora’s club well, with the Red Sox ultimately riding a walk-off sacrifice fly from Kiké Hernandez (who else?) in the ninth inning to claim their third straight win over the 101-win Tampa Bay team.
It wasn’t easy. Those five runs scored in the third inning never seemed quite enough. But easy never quite fit this team, anyway.
After getting rocked in Game 1 of this series, Eduardo Rodriguez bounced back Monday night, allowing two runs in five innings and leaving with Boston leading 5-2.
The Rays slowly clawed their way back against the Red Sox bullpen, though, ultimately tying the game in the eighth.
That set the stage for Boston's ninth-inning heroics. Christian Vazquez led off with a single. Christian Arroyo moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. Then Travis Shaw reached on an infield single that advanced Vazquez to third. All Hernandez had to do was get a ball to the outfield, and that's exactly what he did.