The Boston Red Sox were unable to clinch a post-season berth when the lost 4-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Monday, the defeat also dropping them two-and-a-half games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Indians won their seventh straight game behind six solid innings from rookie starting pitcher Zach Jackson and stopped the defending World Series champion from securing a fifth post-season berth in the past six seasons. "We have been keeping the focus on ourselves," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "We just want to finish strong and have a good feeling about how this season ended."
Despite the loss, Boston retain a six-game lead on the New York Yankees with six games left for both teams in the wild-card race. One more Red Sox win or a New York loss will give Boston a play-off berth, but the surprising Rays now have a firmer grip on the division title after they beat the Orioles 4-2 in Baltimore. The Indians scored three runs in the fifth inning off the Boston starter and Josh Beckett to break a 1-1 tie and their bullpen held on for the win.
Beckett allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings. "We're just trying to win games," Beckett said. "We're not worried about clinching a play-off spot." Jackson gave up two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and four walks in his six innings to record a first win of the season. David Ortiz hit his 23rd homer for the Red Sox, his fifth home run in seven games, but it was not enough to save them from losing the game.