After 3 and ¾ hours, nothing had been decided; the Rays and Sox were even at 3 and Tampa was desperate to win to close to 6 ½ games of the AL East leading Sox, when, with the bases loaded, pinch hitter Mike Carp swung at the first pitch he saw—a cutter that was too high, just above his waist– from reliever Roberto Hernandez and he drove it over the 404 sign in center field to seal it for the Sox, 7-3.
“Biggest hit of your career?” asked Joe Castiglione, Sox announcer.
“Yeah I’d have to say so…” answered Carp, adding:
“The slider came back over the plate.”
It was Carp’s first HR since June 15 vs. Baltimore, the Red Sox 7th pinch hit HR and the 7th grand slam.
The Sox Magic Number is now 8.
“The hottest team wins,” Pedroia said of postseason play. “Once you get in, it’s whoever is playing the best. … We want to keep our foot on the gas.”
The win gives the Sox [89-58] a season high 9 ½ lead over the rest of the AL East; they lead MLB in wins  and W% [.605] with 22 games decided in last AB, 43-33 on the road. The Sox have won the last 7 of 8 and 10 of 12, season high 31 games over .500.
Winning pitcher Koji Uehara [4-0] , who had retired 31 consecutive hitters, the longest streak for a reliever since Jason Motte of the Cardinals , extended his streak to 34 with a perfect 9th inning with 2 Ks. [The record is 41 in a row by Bobby Jenks of the White Sox in 2007.]
With less than 20 games to play and trailing the Sox by 8 ½ games, the Rays are relegated to scuffling in the Wild Card race.
Entering August, the Rays [78-66] were just ½ game behind the Red Sox in the AL East, but after they lost 11 of 15, they will now scramble with four teams that are separated by just two games.
Tampa Bay sent Boston native Alex Cobb to the mound, looking for him to improve on his solid home splits (5-0 with a 2.93 ERA).
“This September time of the year is fun regardless, but — it being even more heated with Boston coming in — it’s definitely a little bit of added adrenaline to the game,” Cobb said.
In his last start against the Red Sox, Cobb allowed a season-high six runs in four innings. He has posted a 5.39 ERA in three starts against Boston this season.
“You don’t have time to figure it out against these guys,” Cobb said. “You have to come out of the chute 100 percent, executing everything.”
The Sox executed three runs on 7 hits in 5.2 innings against Cobb, who was the first of 8 Tampa pitchers to throw from the bump.
Peralta [2-7], poured the gasoline on the floor, allowing the Sox to load the bases took the loss, and Hernandez threw the match [a high slider that slid back toward the batter] that resulted in a pinch hit grand slam conflagration and a 7-3 W for the Sox.
|Peralta, Jo(L, 2-7)||0.1||0||2||2||2||0||0||3.03|
Sox starter Dempster wore himself out tossing 106 pitches [58 strikes] in just 5 innings, but allowed just 1 run and left the game with his team leading 3-1.
|Morales, F(H, 3)||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5.03|
Brandon Workman gave up Dempster’s W, when he was tagged for a run in the 7th and 8th innings that let the Rays tie the game at 3.
The Sox scored first, jumping on Cobb for 3 in the 3rd:
After Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out to first baseman James Loney, Dustin Pedroia singled to RF.
Shane Victorino turned around to bat right-handed and doubled (25) to LF, moving Dustin Pedroia to 3rd.
Alex Cobb intentionally walked David Ortiz.
Mike Napoli doubled (36) and Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino scored, David Ortiz to 3rd.
After Daniel Nava grounded out, but David Ortiz scored and Mike Napoli moved to 3rd.
Stephen Drew lined out to center fielder Desmond Jennings to end the inning.
The Rays scored a run against Dempster in the bottom of the 3rd:
Yunel Escobar lead off with a double (25) on a line drive to left fielder Daniel Nava.
David DeJesus doubled (23) on a line drive to right fielder Shane Victorino scoring Yunel Escobar.
Wil Myers called out on strikes.
Ben Zobrist flew out to center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch.
Dempster walked Matt Joyce, moving David DeJesus to 3rd and Evan Longoria to 2nd.
With the bases loaded and 2 out, Desmond Jennings grounded into a force out, a spectacular play by shortstop Stephen Drew who tossed to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Matt Joyce out at 2nd.
Tampa plated a run in the 7th off Brandon Workman:
After retiring pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson with a strike out, swinging and Wil Myers on a ground out, Workman issued a Free Pass to Ben Zobrist.
Evan Longoria doubled (34) on a line drive to center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., scoring Ben Zobrist.
Matt Joyce struck out swinging for the third out.
Workman allowed the tying run in the 8th:
After fanning Desmond Jennings, Workman served up a 77 MPH knuckle-curve, resulting in a HR by former Sox 1b James Loney (12) on a line drive to right field.
Jose Lobaton struck out swinging and Yunel Escobar grounded out.
After Uehara set down the Rays in order in the bottom of the 9th, striking out Kelly Johnson and Wil Myers and inducing Ben Zobrist to grounds out to end the inning, Tazawa, entering the 10th with a 4-run lead, needed only 13 pitches to shut the door on the dimming Rays.
|Peavy (11-5)||Hellickson (11-8)|
Notes: The Red Sox have won six of seven and nine of their last 11 games. They lead the Rays by 8.5 games with 16 games left and have a magic number of 10. … The Sox also lead the Athletics by four games for the best record in the American League. … The Rays have lost 12 of 16. They have averaged 2.6 runs in those 16 games and hit .179 with runners in scoring position. … The Sox have won eight of 11 on the road. … Dempster has allowed four runs in 13 innings against the Rays in two starts this season. He is 3-5, 3.94 in 10 career starts against Tampa Bay. … Cobb is facing the Red Sox for the fourth time. He allowed 10 earned runs on 18 hits over 17 innings in the previous three starts. … Napoli is 19 of his last 48 (.396) with 11 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs.
- The Red Sox announced Wednesday they will unveil a statue of Hall of Fame left fielder Carl Yastrzemski on Sept. 22.
The statue will be the third outside Fenway Park, and it will be located between the statue of Ted Williams and “The Teammates” statue near the Gate B entrance.
The statue will depict Yastrzemski tipping his helmet to the crowd as he famously did Oct. 2, 1983, after his final at-bat.
“This is quite an honor,” Yastrzemski said in a team news release. “To have a bronze statue at Fenway Park is something I never could have imagined, and I am very grateful to the Red Sox for this kind gesture.”
The statue will be unveiled at an 11 a.m. ceremony prior to the Red Sox’ game vs. the Blue Jays. Yastrzemski will also throw out the first pitch that day.
Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year major-league career with the Red Sox. He had a career .285 batting average with 452 home runs and 1,844 RBIs.
Before the game, the Rays honored the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the 12th anniversary of the tragic day. Wounded Warrior Andrew Harriman threw out the first pitch, and a fire truck and police vehicles took a pregame ride around Tropicana Field.
There was a moment of silence before the national anthem and an in-game recognition of the first responders. The “We Shall Not Forget” MLB silhouetted batter ribbon were displayed and both teams wore caps with an American flag embroidered on the side.
- While the Red Sox are on the road, the organization will team with the American Red Cross and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to host the 11th annual Day of Remembrance Blood Drive at Fenway Park from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Those who are eligible are invited to donate blood in honor of those lost in 9/11, and this year’s drive also will commemorate the Boston Marathon survivors. The event is presented in cooperation with the Boston Police, Firefighters and EMTs. Appointments to donate blood can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by visiting http://redcrossblood.org.
- Red Sox: Pedroia takes over in leadoff spot
Batting leadoff for the first time since 2009, Pedroia went 1-for-4. With Jacoby Ellsbury sidelined with a right foot injury, manager John Farrell said he’s looking for “a guy that would see a lot of pitches,” to take Ellsbury’s place.
In his career, Pedroia is hitting just .253 in 324 lifetime at-bats in the leadoff spot.
“It doesn’t change my approach or anybody else’s,” said Pedroia. “I liked hitting leadoff. I hit there basically my whole life until my second year.”
Following Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 11, 2013 05:59 PM
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Clay Buchholz came out of five shutout innings Tuesday against Tampa Bay just fine. And he’s now on the verge of getting into a normal pitching routine and set to go Sunday against the Yankees at Fenway, according to John Farrell.
“He came out of it as he has the last three rehab starts — nothing abnormal even with increased intensity. He came out of it in good shape. He’ll go Sunday night at home. I’m sure he’ll increase his time on the mound with an incremental bump up of pitches is in order,” Farrell said.
Buchholz threw 74 pitches and should get up around 90 Sunday. After that, there should be no restrictions if all goes well.
• Despite a four-out save, the fact Koji Uehara threw only 13 pitches (12 for strikes) means that he will be available for action in tonight’s game.
• John Farrell said that despite Felix Doubront being out of the rotation, he will get another start before the year is out. Farrell hasn’t forgotten his contribution for most of the season.
“He was very good,” Farrell said. “For a consistent stretch of 15 consecutive starts where he allowed three runs or less when Clay went down, he stepped up as did John Lackey, after he got over early season inconsistencies with arm strength and reeled off two months of reliability. “
• Farrell said rookie righty Allen Webster will get chances out of the bullpen. The Red Sox are curious to see how his 97 mph fastball works out of the pen.
• Approaching 90 wins, Farrell was hesitant to elaborate on the significance of that number, though after winning 73 games in Toronto last season, it has to feel good. “One thing we didn’t do is set a number or goal of a number of wins. The reality, I think, is a number can almost limit you. Hopefully we don’t stop there,” Farrell said.
• Don’t expect Jarrod Saltalamacchia to catch every day between now and the end of the season. They Sox are going to be careful about his back, which has been balky of late with inflammation that just recently began to subside. There’s no structural damage so Farrell is content to “spreading out the workload as best as possible until he’s completely out of the woods.”
• While Farrell thinks Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts are ready to be everyday player he warned that the composition of the roster next season could also determine whether both will be starting players. “Do I think they can be everyday players? Yes I do.”
But the discussion will be whether the Red Sox are best served having two rookies start up the middle.
By Peter Abraham, Globe Staff
The Single A Salem Red Sox won the Carolina League title Tuesday, finishing off a three-game sweep of the Potomac Nationals with a 6-4 win.
Salem finished the season with 11 wins in a row. Sean Coyle returned from injury and was the series MVP. Read more from Craig Forde on the On Deck blog.
Meanwhile Triple A Pawtucket scored two runs in the eighth inning to beat Durham, 2-1, in the first game of the best-of-five Governors’ Cup series in the International League.
Brock Holt had a two-run single. Anthony Ranaudo went six innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. Alex Wilson, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and Anthony Carter each pitched an inning.
Holt and Jeremy Hazelbaker made big defensive plays in the eighth inning to preserve the lead. Durham then left the bases loaded in the ninth.
The Paw Sox will play Game 2 Wednesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Game 3 will be Friday at 7:05 p.m. at McCoy Stadium. If necessary, Game 4 would be Saturday at 6:05 p.m. and Game 5 Sunday at 1:05 p.m., both at McCoy. Pawtucket is the defending league champion.
Tickets for all possible playoff games at McCoy are on sale at the stadium box office. Fans also can charge tickets by calling (401) 724-7300 or going to www.pawsox.com.