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Red Sox clinch best record then drop a game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 28, 2013 11:57 PM

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BALTIMORE — That the Red Sox lost, 6-5, against Baltimore was barely a topic of conversation after the game tonight. That they clinched home field advantage throughout the postseason was.

“It’s an advantage for us in a lot of ways,” shortstop Stephen Drew said. “Fenway is unique in a lot of ways, whether you’re the pitcher looking at that wall or somebody playing out there.

"Playing an extra game in front of our fans is big, too. That was a goal of ours, to keep on winning until we clinched that."

Dustin Pedroia pointed out that the Red Sox won Game 7 of the American League Championship Series at home in 2007 then lost Game 7 of the ALCS at Tampa Bay the following season.

“This sets us up nicely,” he said. “We’ve got to still go out and play well, obviously. It helps us that we get to hit last.”

A few notes from the game:

• Junichi Tazawa, who took the loss, has allowed six runs on 10 hits over 8.1 innings in 11 appearances this month. He has been a solid set-up man for much of the season but is somewhat of a question mark going into the postseason given his inconsistency.

Tazawa missed with two-strike splitters to Matt Wieters and Danny Valencia in the eighth inning. They had singles and that led to two runs scoring and the loss.

“The last three times out, his split has shown better depth,” John Farrell said. “Probably better suited for one inning.”

• Jon Lester was erratic in his final start of the regular season, giving up four runs on nine and two walks over five innings and 97 pitches.

Lester finished 15-8 with a 3.75 earned run average over 33 starts and a career-high 213.1 innings. His ERA was more than a run higher last season.

The Red Sox have not announced their rotation for the postseason. But Lester has a 2.57 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break and is expected to be the choice for Game 1. He returned to Boston after leaving the game. His wife, Farrah, is due with their second child.

• Daniel Nava (4 for 4) raised his batting average to .303. He is hitting .356 since Aug.

• Backup catcher David Ross started his first game since Sept. 21 and was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. It'll be interesting to see whether he starts any games in the postseason.

• Pedroia has played in 160 games, his most in a season and a record for a Red Sox second baseman. He was 3 for 5 and drove in a run.

• Quintin Berry’s steal of second base in the ninth inning was the 38th consecutive successful steal for the Red Sox. It’s the longest streak in the majors since Toronto had 38 straight in 1993.

• The Sox have struck out 1,300 times, adding to their franchise record. But seven teams have more this season with the Astros whiffing a record 1,516 times.

Strikeouts have become a cost of doing business in baseball. The Red Sox have scored 847 runs and have a .349 OBP despite all those whiffs. Chris Davis of the O's has K'd 199 times. But he has 53 homers, 42 doubles, 138 RBIs and an outrageous 1.003 OPS.

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