Rays salvage final game with Sox, 4-3

Rays salvage final game with Sox, 4-3
September 12, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Will Middlebrooks is frustrated after lining out to third base with two runners on in the ninth.

(USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For the second straight road series, the Red Sox couldn't finish with a win that would have given them a sweep.
     
After tripping Sunday in New York following three straight wins against the Yankees, the Sox fell short in their bid to close out a series sweep with Tampa Bay, too, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Rays.
     
The setback kept the Red Sox's magic number to clinch the American League East at eight. The two teams don't meet again this season.
     
The Rays, who had lost five of their previous six, snapped a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth off the Red Sox bullpen. Rubby De La Rosa allowed a one-out double to Evan Longoria, and after getting Matt Joyce to foul out to third, yielded a double to rookie Wil Myers which
landed fair by an inch or so inside the right field foul line.
     
The Sox managed just six hits, but had two baserunners in the ninth against closer Fernando Rodney before pinch-hitter Will Middlebrooks lined out hard to third and Dustin Pedroia popped to short.
     
Boston chased starter Jeremy Hellickson with two runs in the sixth, tying the score at 3 in the process.
     
David Ortiz led off the inning with an opposite-field homer to left-center. When Hellickson walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia one out later, he gave way to Jamey Wright.
     
Wright fanned Jonny Gomes to get within an out of getting out of the jam he inherited, but Stephen Drew pulled a double to right, scoringthe Red Sox catcher and the Sox had earned a tie.
     
The Sox broke through in the fourth on a solo homer by Saltalamacchia  (No. 12), but soon after the Rays had a two-run lead again when Desmond Jennings drove a pitch out to left.
     
The Rays had taken a 1-0 lead off Jake Peavy (six innings, three runs allowed) in the second when Longoria led off with a triple into the right
field corner and came home one out later when Will Myers rifled a single up  the middle that just eluded Peavy and then second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
     
Tampa then doubled their lead in the second when David DeJesus walked, moved to second on an infield groundout and came around on a double to right by former Red Sox first baseman James Loney.

STAR OF THE GAME: Wil Myers
The Rays rookie outfielder singled home the first run of the game, then doubled home the go-ahead run in the eighth, adding to his credentials in the Rookie of the Year race, while helping the Rays pick up a huge win to stay ahead in the wild card chase.

HONORABLE MENTION: Evan Longoria
Longoria tripled and scored ahead of Myers in the second, then doubled with one out and came around to score the winning run in the eighth, again teaming with Myers.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Rubby De La Rosa
De La Rosa got ahead of Longoria 0-and-2 in the eighth, but instead of burying a slider in the dirt, left the breaking pitch up in the zone. Longoria drove it to left-center for a double, and later crossed the plate with the winning run.

TURNING POINT: Jamey Wright got rookie Xander Bogaerts to fly out to center with Stephen Drew at second in the sixth, ending the only other threat the Sox had until the ninth inning.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox won the season series 12-7 against Tampa Bay, the most number of wins in a season against the Rays for the Sox since 2007.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We're really looking forward to playing them in the playoffs." -Joe Maddon