Had the Red Sox won Tuesday night at Fenway Park, rather than lost to the Orioles, 3-2, and had the Indians lost, the Sox would have acknowledged making the playoffs but wouldn't have gone crazy.
"I would have stuck around to see how Cleveland did," Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "I think it would have been nice to be in that position, so I would have stuck around. But we didn't have anything formal planned."
"I think most of the guys in here would want to acknowledge it, but the champagne and all that, I think we would have preferred to save that for when we win the division," David Ross said. "I think that was this team's main goal and that hasn't changed. We'll celebrate that when it happens hopefully soon."
The Red Sox, whose magic number to clinch the American League East is now 3, ended a three-game winning streak. It was a shocking loss with Koji Uehara allowing the Orioles the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of a 2-2 game. His streak of retiring 37 consecutive batters came to an end, as did his 30.1 inning scoreless streak, when he allowed a Danny Valencia leadoff triple over Shane Victorino's head and off the tip of his glove. Matt Wieters hit a sacrifice fly to right to score pinch runner Alexi Casilla.
"I'm not disappointed that the streak ended. Of course, I'm disappointed that we lost," Uehara said through an interpreter.
Uehara admitted that the 0-2 pitch "location-wise, I didn't miss the spot, but a little bit high."
Saltalamacchia said, "He's human. He's still consistent for us, still our guy. I felt Valencia might be sitting on soft stuff, so we threw him fastballs. He's got good pop and was able to put it out there and Vic couldn't get to it."
One of the most impressive aspects of the game for the Red Sox was Craig Breslow getting out of a second-and-third, nobody-out jam in the eighth. Brandon Workman, who pitched an effective seventh, allowed a single to Nate McLouth and a double to Manny Machado. Enter Breslow. He retired Chris Davis, who earlier had hit his Orioles record-setting 51st home run, on a ground ball to short. The runner at third held. Breslow got the dangerous Adam Jones on another grounder to short, then retired Nick Markakis on a fly ball to center.
"You're thinking about limiting the damage at that point," Breslow said."I was able to make tough pitches. I challenged Davis with fastballs and tried to get him to hit the ball on the ground. He hit it hard by right at Stephen (Drew)."
Over his last 28 appearances since July 9, Breslow is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 1.00 WHIP (18 hits and 10 walks).
The Red Sox got on the board first when Dustin Pedroia hit a leadoff home run in the first inning. It was his 99th career homer, snapping a 176 at-bat homerless drought.
Ryan Dempster didn't factor in the win, but he pitched well over six innings, allowing two runs, four walks, and striking out five. It was his second quality start since the All-Star break. Dempster now has a 2.19 ERA against the Orioles in six career starts.
Stephen Drew stole two bases, his first career multi-steal game. The last Red Sox shortstop to swipe two bases was Julio Lugo Sept. 30, 2007.
The Red Sox went 3 for 3 in steal attempts and have stolen 35 straight, the longest streak since Toronto stole 38 straight in 1993. The Red Sox lead the majors with an 86.2 stolen base percentage.