Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox entered this week’s series against each other on a slide, but you’d never know it from watching these two clubs play. While the calendar says April and the Sox and Rays are both well below .500, these teams still know how to battle when facing each other. It was a hard-fought game tonight between David Price and Jon Lester, coming down to the very last out in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Rays held on to win 3-2, taking their second in a row from the Red Sox.
The Red Sox shed first blood, scoring on a solo homerun by Darnell McDonald in the bottom of the third inning. Price had been throwing well to this point, striking out one while inducing many groundball outs, but he hung a curveball over the middle of the plate to McDonald and he made Price pay.
The Rays charged right back, though, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Kelly Shoppach and Dan Johnson led the charge with a singles, and then Elliot Johnson singled to left field to load the bases. Sam Fuld then hit a groundball to Adrian Gonzalez at first base, but although he threw home to get the force out, Shoppach manage to sneak in ahead of the throw. Johnny Damon than singled in two more runs, before B.J. Upton ended the thread by hitting into an inning-ending double play.
The Sox would score one more run in the sixth inning, but for the most part Price shut them down. He wasn’t at his most dominating, only striking out three while walking two, but he managed to keep the Sox from making solid contact throughout the game and keep them off the base paths.
- Kyle Farnsworth closed out the game in the ninth inning, shutting down the Red Sox without allowing a baserunner. For all the flak Farnsworth gets about not being able to deal with high leverage situations, that was one gutsy performance in about the more pressure-filled situation you can have this early in the year. Up by one run in the bottom of the ninth, facing the heart of the Red Sox’s order at Fenway? That’s not easy.
But Farnsworth got Jacoby Ellsbury to strike out on three pitches, then fell behind J.D. Drew 3-0 before coming back and striking him out on a curve. And then David Ortiz came to the plate and hit a deep drive to right field, but it didn’t even reach the warning track and was easily catchable for Ben Zobrist. Game, set, match.
- Entering tonight’s game, the Rays and Red Sox were both 2-7 and tied for last place in the AL East. Now the Rays are a game ahead of the Red Sox, and have a chance to sweep the Red Sox tomorrow night at 7:10 PM.
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