BOSTON (AP) — One day after the Red Sox won to clinch the first back-to-back AL East titles in franchise history, the teams used lineups filled largely with backups. Houston had already replaced starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel with McHugh, and Boston manager John Farrell scratched ace Chris Sale after Saturday’s win so he could rest up for the playoffs.

The Astros scored four times in the seventh inning to rally from a three-run deficit. Yuli Gurriel had two doubles and the go-ahead sacrifice fly for Houston, which won the four-game series 3-1 and took the season series against Boston 4-3.

McHugh pitched six innings, allowing three runs to improve to 16-0 in September and October since 2014. Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth for his fifth save for Houston.

“We had planned to give a number of guys a day off after we did clinch,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “But you’re still looking to evaluate all the way through the final out. … While it might have been a little bit more relaxing, you’re still going out to try and compete and try to win a ballgame.”


The Red Sox got three in the fourth against McHugh when rookie Rafael Devers hit a two-run double, advanced on a single and scored on a passed ball.

Boston took a 3-0 lead into the seventh, when the first two batters reached to chase Brandon Workman, and then Fernando Abad (2-1) gave up RBI singles to Juan Centeno, Colin Moran and Tony Kemp. Gurriel’s sacrifice fly broke the 3-3 tie.


The Red Sox had not finished first in consecutive years since winning the pennant (and World Series) in the division-less AL in 1915-16. … The Red Sox matched last year’s total of 93 wins. Farrell is the only manager ever to lead the Red Sox to three first-place finishes.

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