For Boston it was an evening of early frustration that turned to jubilation as they beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to move to the ALCS. Boston took full advantage of some shoddy late inning Rays pitching and their own shutdown bullpen to head back to Boston and wait for the Tigers or the A’s.
Joe Maddon expressed a desire to return to the lovely fall weather in Boston. That will certainly be possible but on his own dime. Joe can take in the wine tasting tour that covers several Boston neighborhoods. Joe could take the bride out to the Berkshire’s and enjoy the foliage.Maybe Joe can get a post season gig broadcasting his insightful comments to the baseball hoi polloi on TV?
Enough of the Maddon bashing and on to the story. The Red Sox defeating the Rays in game four.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson started the second with walks to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. Daniel Nava shot a sharp single to right and the bases were loaded. That was enough for Maddon who lifted his starter for Jamey Wright. Jarrod Saltalamacchia took a called strike three and Stephen Drew grounded into a DP and opportunity was lost.
In the 4th Matt Moore came in for the Rays. A single by Ortiz and a Nava walk were wasted when Saltalamacchia once again took a called third strike.
In the 6th TB did not waste their opportunity. Escobar led off with a double, moved to third on a Lobaton ground out, and was plated on a DeJesus single. Craig Breslow replaced Peavy and struck out hot hitting James Loney. Tampa had a 1-0 lead and that was it for the Rays scoring for the evening.
The Boston drought finally ended in the 7th. Xander Bogaerts pinch hit for Drew and walked. After a Will Middlebrooks strike out Jacoby Ellsbury singled and X-Man moved to third. Joel Peralta, who had replaced Jake McGee earlier in the inning, uncorked a wild pitch for the Sox first run. Ellsbury, who was running on the pitch, advanced to third and had his fourth steal of the series on the play. Shane Victorino followed with a single and the Sox went up 2-1.
The enigmatic Fernando Rodney came in to shut things down in the 9th and promptly imploded. Bogaerts and Ellsbury walked. Victorino got plunked on a 3-2 pitch and hat man was done for the evening. Unlike the second this was not a wasted opportunity as Pedroia hit a sac fly off Chris Archer and the Sox went up 3-1.