BOSTON (CBS) -- For the first time since 2009, the Boston Red Sox will be a part of the postseason.
The Sox clinched a playoff spot on Thursday night with a 3-1 win over the Orioles.
The Red Sox failed to make the postseason in each of the past three seasons, with each year's teams having their own reasons for coming up short. In 2010, the Red Sox won just 89 games, their lowest win total since 2006, the only other season to that point in the Terry Francona era that did not include postseason baseball.
The 2011 team was supposed to be one of the best teams ever, and for most of the season, that looked to be true. The Red Sox entered September 2011 with an 83-52 record, a 1.5-game lead in the division and a nine-game lead in the wild-card race, but a 7-20 record in September led to one of the great collapses in baseball history. The Red Sox blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning on the final night of the regular season, and minutes later, the Rays completed a remarkable comeback from a 7-0 deficit against the Yankees to earn the final playoff spot in the AL.
In 2012, the Red Sox welcomed Bobby Valentine as their manager, and just about everything got worse as the season went along. That included the team's record, which bottomed out at 69-83, the worst the Red Sox have had since 1965.
This year, the Red Sox have authored one of the best worst-to-first turnarounds baseball has ever seen, and they're in position to win the division. That race is just about over, but for the fat lady singing, but for now at least, the Red Sox have their playoff spot secured.
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