Carp's pinch-hit slam in 10th leads Sox over Rays

Carp's pinch-hit slam in 10th leads Sox over Rays
September 11, 2013, 11:30 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox and Tampa Bay are two teams headed in opposite direction -- the former surging in the final month and the latter in free-fall -- so perhaps the outcome Wednesday wasn't as shocking as it first seemed.
     
Still, after blowing a two-run lead late in the game, the Sox shocked the Rays when Mike Carp delivered a first-pitch, pinch-hit grand slam in the top of the 10th inning to give the Sox a 7-3 victory.
     
Carp was facing reliever Roberto Hernandez, who had just issued a four-pitch walk to Jonny Gomes. Carp was hitting for Jonny Gomes.
     
The win dropped the Red Sox' magic number to eight with 15 games remaining and gave them their seventh straight series win. Five of those seven series wins have come against teams winning records.
     
Koji Uehara, who pitched a scoreless ninth, got the win and in the process, established a new team record by retiring his 34th consecutive batter. Junichi Tazawa pitched the bottom of the 10th to close out the win.
     
The Rays had rallied with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, both coming against Brandon Workman, who was just a game removed from a wild pitch that cost the Sox a game in Yankee Stadium Sunday afternoon.
     
In the eighth, Workman struck out Desmond Jennings, but allowed a line drive homer to right to James Loney, tying the score.
     
An inning earlier, Workman had recorded two quick outs, but then walked Ben Zobrist and gave up a gap double to Evan Longoria, scoring Zobrist all the way from first.
     
Ryan Dempster, in what may well have been his last start for the team in a while, labored through five innings, in which he threw an
exhausting 104 pitches.
     
Dempster walked five batters and hit another, but somehow managed to limit the Rays to a single run over five frames. In three of those five innings, he stranded runners at third base.
     
Back-to-back doubles by Yunel Escobar and David DeJesus accounted for the only run off Dempster.
     
The Sox wasted opportunities of their own in the second and sixth, but managed a three-run third off Alex Cobb.
     
Tampa elected to intentionally walk David Ortiz to load the bases and Mike Napoli foiled the strategy with a two-run double to right.

A groundout to second by Daniel Nava scored the third run of the inning.
     
STAR OF THE GAME: Mike Carp
Carp sat for the first nine innings, but when his number was called in the top of the 10th, he didn't take long to deliver. Carp, pinch-hitting
for Jonny Gomes with the bases loaded, belted the first pitch he saw from Tampa Bay reliever Roberto Hernandez over the center field wall for a game-winning grand slam.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Napoli
The Rays walked David Ortiz twice to get Napoli Wednesday night. The first time, in the third inning, Napoli foiled the strategy with a two-run double. Then, in the 10th, he drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases and set the stage for Carp's heroics.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Roberto Hernandez
When he was known as Fausto Carmona and pitching for Clevleland, he gave up a grand slam to J.D. Drew in the 2007 ALCS. Wednesday night, now known as Roberto Hernandez, he gave up a 10th-inning, pinch-hit grand slam to Carp.

TURNING POINT: With the score tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth, Koji Uehara retired the top third of the Tampa Bay lineup with ease,  setting up the opportunity for the Sox to come back in the top of the next inning.
   
BY THE NUMBERS: The pinch-hit homer by Carp was the seventh of the season for the Red Sox, setting a team record. The previous record was six, set in 1953.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "He hung a slider, and I did a lot more than I expected to do with it. When I saw it go over the fence, it was ... wow." - Mike Carp on his game-winner.