In stark contrast to the previous two games of the series against the Rays, the Red Sox did not score three runs today. And it’s a good thing that they were able to piece together seven in a solid win in Tampa Bay. Things started off well as they worked Rays’ starting pitcher James Shields in the first inning– working three ball counts to the first three hitters. Adrian Gonzalez would be the one to deliver with an RBI single on a liner into left to make things 1-0. However, the Rays would make that one look minuscule as they hung a three spot on the board in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Ben Zobrist and a two-run single by Desmond Jennings.
The Red Sox’ bats would not be silenced though, as they fought back– putting Will Middlebrooks on first with one out in the second inning. Mike Aviles came through by driving a home run into the bleachers in deep center to tie things all up at 3-3. It stayed at 3-3 for quite a while as Josh Beckett and James Shields settled into a groove. However, Shields’ groove would be broken in the fifth when Daniel Nava started the inning with a jolt– homering to right field to lead off the inning– his fourth of the year. The Red Sox would score two more runs in the inning on a two-run single by Will Middlebrooks (who went 3-4 today) and had suddenly made it 6-3.
As the sixth inning started, it was Jake McGee rather in James Shields on the mound for the Rays. The Red Sox got to him too, though, scoring a run on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Cody Ross to make it 7-3. Josh Beckett would last an inning longer than Shields and was pulled after six innings of work– allowing three runs and striking out seven (he would earn his fifth win of the season). A bullpen assortment including Junichi Tazawa, Mark Melancon, and Alfredo Aceves would allow minimal damage as the Red Sox coasted to a win.