“I believe it’s safe to say that this amazing feat of consecutive sellouts will never be matched. I hope our fans take great pride in setting the standard in Major League Baseball."
---Indians owner Larry Dolan, after the Indians' 455-game sellout streak ended in 2001
You spoke too soon, Larry. (The Red Sox got you on the field last October, and they got you again last night. This time at the ticket window.)
The Red Sox had their 456th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park last night, and celebrated it in style as the Red Sox moved to within a half-game of the AL East lead as they went on to a 3-0 win behind the stellar pitching of Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon.
Lester pitched 7 2/3 innings before giving way to Papelbon, who nailed it down for his 36th save. Lester got his 14th win, as he struck out nine and allowed just six hits.
The Red Sox got all their runs in the first, on RBIs by David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis and a home run by Jason Bay. Coco Crisp also continued his torrent hitting, getting three more hits, and he's now batting .291. Edwin Jackson settled down for the Rays after that shaky first, but the Rays' bats have been slumbering lately, and were dominated by Lester.
The Sox had a low-key celebration before the game to celebrate breaking the consecutive sellouts record, as players greeted fans at the gates, threw balls to fans just before the start, and three fans tossed out the first pitch. The Red Sox also thanked their fans by putting out a full page ad in the Boston Globe with 456 reasons why they are thankful to them. You can see it here.
And courtesy of the Boston Globe, here are the facts and figures of the streak (click to increase the image):
The Red Sox are also now a full seven games ahead of the Minnesota Twins for the Wild Card, as they were idle last night, and the Magic Number to wrap up a playoff berth is now at 13.