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Houck leads Red Sox past AL East champion Orioles in finale

Tanner Houck Boston Red Sox Tanner Houck - The Canadian Press
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BALTIMORE (AP) — Tanner Houck threw six innings of one-hit ball and the last-place Boston Red Sox earned a split in the four-game series against the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles with a 6-1 victory Sunday in the regular-season finale.

The Orioles have home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs and will host a Division Series opener starting Oct. 7.

“I am really proud of how we played for six months,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “We didn't play our best baseball game today, unfortunately, in the last game in front of the home fans. How well we played this year, home and away, is definitely something to be proud of.”

Houck (6-10) did not allow a hit until Anthony Santander singled up the middle with two outs in the sixth. Houck had six strikeouts and three walks on 87 pitches.

Boston finished 78-84, the same record as last year.

The Red Sox were mourning former pitcher Tim Wakefield, who died at the age of 57.

“The game is secondary. Tough day for us,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We lost a brother, a teammate, a family member. Like I was telling the guys, this guy is one of the best teammates I ever had. This guy was there for us all the time. He was accountable. He was what a Boston Red Sox should look like.”

Hyde wanted to keep his team healthy and rested for the playoffs and used eight pitchers in the game.

“I was nervous the last two days,” Hyde said about possible injuries.

Kyle Bradish, who could start Game 1 of the Division Series, threw two scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

“I am very excited,” Bradish said of the postseason. “It's been on my mind since we clinched.”

The Red Sox took advantage of a couple of miscues for a 2-0 lead in the third off Danny Coulombe (5-3). Third baseman Jordan Westburg could not handle a throw by James McCann on a double steal that allowed Enmanuel Valdez to score. Shortstop Gunnar Henderson then bobbled a sharp grounder by Rafael Devers that gave Boston its second run.

Devers was credited with his 100th RBI of the season.

Henderson’s second error on a soft grounder by Reese McGuire allowed two more runs to score off Cionel Pérez in the seventh. Trevor Story and Wilyer Abreu followed with RBI singles that boosted the lead to 6-0.

Only one of Boston's six runs was earned.

Adley Rutschman had an RBI single in the eighth that helped the Orioles avoid their 10th shutout of the season.

Baltimore finished 101-61, tied with the 1971 team for the fourth-most wins in a single season in club history.

“We played hard all year long,” Santander said. “It's time to take a few days off, come back to work and come back stronger next weekend.”

Baltimore went 7-6 against Boston this year.

MOVES

Orioles: LHP Cole Irvin was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and Bruce Zimmermann was optioned to the Tides, who won the Triple-A National Championship on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Hyde has not announced a starter for Game 1 of the AL Division Series.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB