→ Jonah Keri on how the Red Sox won the ALDS

If the Sox had one potential weakness in this series, it was what they would do to bridge the gap between performances like Peavy’s and all-world closer Koji Uehara. Here again, Boston overcame a perceived weakness. With two outs in the sixth, lefty reliever Craig Breslow came in to face Loney with a runner on first. He promptly struck Loney out, then followed that whiff by fanning Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Desmond Jennings in order. A command specialist who had struck out just five batters per nine innings during the regular season, here was Breslow striking out the Rays’ three through six hitters, all swinging, at a pivotal point in the game. For the game, Boston’s relief combination of Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Uehara combined to toss 3⅓ scoreless innings, allowing no runs, just one hit, and striking out seven.

The capper came from Boston’s opportunistic offense. The Sox combined to score seven runs in Games 3 and 4, with just one of those coming home on a base hit that left the infield; the rest were the result of errors, RBI groundouts and flyouts, and well-placed 14-hoppers that never reached the outfield grass. After falling behind 1-0 in the sixth Tuesday, the Sox tallied two runs to take the lead right back, using the following sequence: flyout, pinch-hit walk, strikeout, bloop single, wild pitch that scored the tying run and sent the go-ahead run to third when Jacoby Ellsbury took off with the pitch, RBI infield hit. The Sox added an insurance run in the ninth by stringing together two walks, a wild pitch, a hit-by-pitch, and a sacrifice fly. Uehara then set the Rays down 1-2-3 in the ninth, and that was that for Tampa Bay’s season.

A short, sweet summary of what took place last night.