Watch the dramatic final play of the Red Sox-Yankees series

Pearce managed to keep his foot on the bag as he stretched toward right field.

ALDS Red Sox Yankees
Boston Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce stretches for the throw to the bag ahead of the New York Yankees' Gleyber Torres for the final out of Game 4. –The Associated Press

After Chris Sale stepped out of the bullpen for a one-two-three eighth inning, the Red Sox looked to be cruising toward the American League Championship Series. Instead, closer Craig Kimbrel — and every baseball fan in Boston — finished Game 4 of the ALDS coated in sweat.

Kimbrel walked two batters, hit another, and allowed the Yankees to cut the Red Sox lead to one run. Then 21-year-old Gleyber Torres stepped into the box with two outs and two men on base for New York. Torres chopped a ground ball toward Eduardo Núñez at third base, Núñez fired to first, and the Red Sox moved on to a Saturday date with the Houston Astros.

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That ALCS berth was made possible by an incredible play by Steve Pearce. Núñez’s throw required full extension from the first baseman, who managed to keep his foot on the bag as he stretched toward right field. Yankees manager Aaron Boone challenged the umpire’s call, but unlike three decisions in Game 3 that were overturned by replay, the series-ending out stood up to the review.

Boston’s celebrations began in earnest as soon as the victory was confirmed. The Red Sox return to Fenway Park for an 8:09 p.m. first pitch Saturday against the Houston Astros.

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