It looks like a postponed game was exactly what this Red Sox team needed. Beginning to slip after a fast start, the Red Sox had lost their first series of the year and were on a two game skid coming into play against the Rays. After a chance to reflect on their struggles in a rainy off day yesterday, the Red Sox put those feelings on the field in a fantastic game and the first extra inning affair of the season.
First and foremost, this game was a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel. With two of the best southpaws in baseball squaring off, runs were in a premium throughout the game. Jon Lester was phenomenal all throughout the game, allowing only one run in the contest on a hard-hit RBI double by Sean Rodriguez, as he went seven strong innings while allowing just the one run to go with five hits and a walk, pushing his ERA down to 1.42 through his first three starts. Aside from some early-game control issues, David Price was just as good, allowing four hits and a run while striking out eight in six innings.
After the third inning run by the Rays, the Red Sox got their offense from the same man that was leading their defense. David Ross came up to the plate with two outs in the fifth inning and showed David Price his first adversity of the day. Ross worked a long at-bat, including fouling two pitches into catcher Jose Molina, before unloading on a 3-2 changeup for his first home run of the year, a moonshot over the Green Monster.
From that point forward, it was a battle of the bullpens as Andrew Bailey, Koji Uehara, and Junichi Tazawa each threw a scoreless inning for the Red Sox while Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Kyle Farnsworth all performed admirably for the Rays. Brandon Gomes would be the unlucky member of Tampa’s bullpen, however.
After working his way out of a partially self-inflicted jam in the ninth inning, he retired the first batter of the tenth. With one out, however, Jacoby Ellsbury laced a single to center field to put Gomes in the stretch. Everybody in the stadium knew what was about to transpire, but that didn’t stop Ellsbury from running on a 2-2 pitch, nor did it stop catcher Jose Lobaton from tossing the ball into center field and allowing Ellsbury to reach third. The Rays obviously put the infield in for Shane Victorino, but on a hard groundball to the side of Yunel Escobar, they still couldn’t nab Ellsbury at the plate to give the Red Sox a 2-1 win in a thrilling ballgame.