BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox ended a week of frustration by beating the Houston Astros 6-3 to clinch their second straight American League East Division title Saturday at Fenway Park.

Boston (93-68) assured itself a spot in the American League division series starting Thursday, playing the Astros (100-61), with Games 1 and 2 in Houston.

Boston, which had a five-game division lead last Sunday, had trouble clinching. The Red Sox went 1-4 during the week as the New York Yankees inched closer, trailing by two games after Friday night’s games.

But on Saturday, the Red Sox combined a solid start by Drew Pomeranz with balanced hitting, including a solo Mookie Betts home run in the seventh inning.

The win was needed because the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1.

“We wanted to win it today and not let it go (to Sunday),” said designated hitter Hanley Ramirez.


Pomeranz threw six-plus innings, allowing three hits and one run.

“After a rough outing (five runs, two innings), his last time out, he was outstanding,” Manager John Farrell said.

Pomeranz exited with a 5-0 lead after giving up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve in the seventh. Altuve eventually scored as Houston rallied against reliever Carson Smith (three batters, three singles).

David Price, who pitched three innings over the past three games and was said to be unavailable, relieved Smith.

“After his throwing program he came in and said, ‘If the situation presents itself, give me the ball,’ ” Farrell said.

Price provided the excitement of the game, getting a groundout and strikeout before walking pinch-hitter Tyler White to load the bases.


Farrell came out to talk to Price – reliever Addison Reed thought he was coming in and had to jog back to the bullpen. Price stayed in and struck out the dangerous George Springer on three straight fastballs (called, foul, called).

Reed took care of the eighth (one walk). Craig Kimbrel gave up a ninth-inning home run to Brian McCann but finished the job.

Boston got to Houston starter Lance McCullers (7-4) with two runs in the fourth (RBI on Ramirez’s single and Rafael Devers’ double), and three runs in the fifth (Andrew Benintendi RBI single, Mitch Moreland two-run double).

NOTES: Benintendi’s steal in the inning made him the third Red Sox rookie to record 20 homers and 20 stolen bases, joining Nomar Garciaparra (1997) and Ellis Burks (1987). … Betts leads Boston with 24 home runs (Ramirez has 23). … Dustin Pedroia was scratched from the lineup because of the wet conditions and Pedroia’s balky knee. … Eduardo Nunez won’t play this series because of a sore knee. The Red Sox still hope he will be available for the playoffs. … Infielder Tzu-Wei Lin left the team to be with his wife in Taiwan. They are expecting their first child (a girl) any day. … Former Sea Dogs and Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick was sent back to Houston to receive treatment for a sore back. He’s expected to be ready for the playoffs. Reddick, in the first season of a four-year, $52 million contract with Houston, is batting .314/.847 OPS. … Before the game the Red Sox gave out their minor league awards, including Pitcher of the Year (Jalen Beeks) and Offensive Player of the Year (Michael Chavis). With Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Beeks was 11-8, 3.29 ERA, with 155 strikeouts in 145 innings. With Class A Salem and Portland, Chavis batted .282/.910 OPS with 31 home runs.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @ClearTheBases a

Comments are no longer available on this story