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first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Just when it looked as though the playoff picture might remain muddled for days, everything was settled on the final afternoon of the regular season. The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros wrapped up the wild cards Sunday, clinching the final two major league playoff spots. All the matchups were set for the 2005 postseason, starting Tuesday with the National League West champion San Diego Padres playing in St. Louis at 10:09 p.m. PDT. Houston will open Wednesday in Atlanta against the NL East champion Braves, coming off their 14th consecutive division title. It’s a rematch of their first-round series last year, won by Roger Clemens and the Astros in five games. “I’m very thankful. It was some rocky roads, roller-coaster rides throughout the season,” pitcher Andy Pettitte said after a 6-4 victory over the Cubs allowed Houston to finish one game ahead of Philadelphia. The Phillies did all they could to force a tiebreaker playoff, beating Washington 9-3 for a weekend sweep, but still fell short. Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox earned the American League wild-card berth for the third consecutive season, the same spot that started them toward their first World Series championship in 86 years. In fact, a wild-card team has won the past three titles. The defending champs clinched when Cleveland, the only other team that had a shot at the wild card, lost 3-1 at home to the White Sox, who swept the three-game series. The defeat concluded a crushing final week for the young Indians (93-69), who dropped six of their last seven games. “We ended like we started,” closer Bob Wickman said in a somber Cleveland clubhouse. “We came up one game short. But the guys should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished.” Boston’s first-round series against the AL Central champion White Sox starts Tuesday at 1:09 p.m. in Chicago. The White Sox finished with the best record in the league at 99-63 and will be trying to win their first postseason series since the 1917 World Series. last_img read more

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