BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox will start their playoff push Thursday in Cleveland. The best-of-five series will continue Friday in Cleveland and come to Boston for Game 3 on Sunday.

Boston ceded hopes for a home-field advantage after losing Sunday to the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1. The Red Sox finished their season at 93-68.

Meanwhile the Indians (94-67) beat Kansas City, 3-2.

The Blue Jays topped Boston with an eighth-inning run off reliever Brad Ziegler. With two outs, Troy Tulowitzki singled in Edwin Encarnacion for a 2-1 lead.

Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Hanley Ramirez swatted a curveball with two outs over the left-field foul pole.

The umpires signaled home run and a reviewed confirmed it, making it 1-1.

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Earlier, Devon Travis of Toronto hit a home run off Boston starter David Price in the fifth inning. Price exited after the inning, finished after his 80-pitch tuneup for the playoffs.

RICK PORCELLO was officially named the Game 1 starter in the playoffs while Price will start Game 2, Boston Manager John Farrell announced. He said starters for Game 3 and if necessary Game 4, haven’t been determined.

Although Price was signed to a $217 million contract, Porcello is having a breakout year while contending for the Cy Young Award.

“He’s evolved as a pitcher,” Farrell said, listing attributes, “command, control, ability to attack a hitter’s weakness when he’s ahead …”

Price is 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA.

THE POSTSEASON roster doesn’t have to be announced yet. Farrell said the makeup will depend on “the total number of pitchers we have on the roster, whether it’s 11 or 12.” It won’t include pitchers Henry Owens and Noe Ramirez, or infielder Deven Marrero.

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The Red Sox told Ramirez that his season ended Sunday, and Owens and Marrero are being sent to the team complex in Fort Myers, Florida. They will work out and be available if Boston has an emergency need in the playoffs.

Earlier in September, Yoan Moncada was removed from the major league roster to rest and prepare for the Arizona Fall League.

THE DREW POMERANZ trade with San Diego could have been nullified had the Red Sox wanted that, according to Commissioner Rob Manfred, who met with the media before Sunday’s game.

Manfred suspended Padres General Manager A.J. Preller for 30 days without pay for withholding medical information on Pomeranz when dealing with the Red Sox. Boston acquired Pomeranz on July 14 in a trade for top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza.

When investigating Preller in August, MLB contacted Boston.

“We asked the Red Sox if they wanted to rescind the trade and they were not interested, which I understand because it was after the trade deadline,” Manfred said.

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Manfred said no other action could be taken. “We do not reconfigure trades,” he said.

Pomeranz made 13 starts for Boston (3-5, 4.68) but missed his final start because of right forearm soreness.

He apparently was healthy enough Sunday to make his first appearance out of the bullpen for Boston, allowing no walks or hits over 11/3 innings, with two strikeouts.

“That was very encouraging,” Farrell said.

DAVID ORTIZ and drug testing also became a subject of Manfred’s press conference. Ortiz’s name surfaced on a list of players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003.

The list was supposed to be confidential, used to provide MLB evidence that universal drug testing was needed.

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Some names were leaked in 2009, including Ortiz’s.

Manfred, without acknowledging Ortiz was on the list, said the testing back then was antiquated and there were a number (”double digits”) of “ambiguous” results.

Ortiz always has denied using steroids. Could he be among the inconclusive results? Manfred said there’s no way of knowing about anyone because “the records were destroyed.”

Asked about the possible stain on Ortiz’s legacy, Manfred said he believes “leaks, rumors and innuendo are unfair to the players.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases


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