September 23, 2013

With East clinched, Red Sox want best record in AL

The Associated Press

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Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz, right, celebrates his home run off a pitch by Toronto Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey as Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Thole, left, looks on in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, in Boston, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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"We don't ever ease up. We're always pushing forward. We're always playing for the moment," A's reliever Jerry Blevins said. "There's no relax for this team."

The A's still remember what happened last year, when they finished with the second-best record in the AL and had to open the playoffs in Detroit. The Tigers eliminated them in five games.

"We know our place is as tough a place to play for other teams. Last year was absolutely nuts here and I have no doubt it will be again this year," outfielder Josh Reddick said. "We're going to do everything we can to try and get this thing started here."

For the Red Sox, who haven't made the playoffs since 2009, the chance to play at home could also be a big advantage. They went 53-28 at Fenway Park — the best home record in baseball — though they also have a chance for the best road record, too.

And they have gone 14-6 in September — quite a turnaround for a team that went 7-20 in the month in 2011 to blow a nine-game lead in the wild-card race and miss the playoffs on the final day. Last year, the Red Sox were never in it, winning 69 games for the franchise's worst finish in almost half a century.

"We have heard a lot lately about the last couple of Septembers," Farrell said. "But that has not penetrated the minds of anyone in this clubhouse."

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