McAdam: Red Sox rally could right the ship

McAdam: Red Sox rally could right the ship
May 17, 2013, 10:45 am
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Some losses feel more like wins. Some wins feel more like losses.
And on rare occasions, some wins feel like they're worth more.
Maybe that was the case Thursday night at Tropicana Field, where the Red Sox, down to their last strike, rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth and swiped a victory from the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3.
It was the kind of win that the Red Sox had not experienced in the first quarter of the season -- and Thursday marked almost exactly the completion of one-fourth of the schedule.
In the 12 previous games in which the Red Sox had trailed after eight innings, they had all ended the same way: with the Sox staying behind and losing.
Not this time. After Fernando Rodney cracked the door open by issuing three walks to load the bases, Will Middlebrooks kicked it down by lashing a double that reached the wall in left-center, scoring all three baserunners and giving the Red Sox their first lead of the night.
On a 1-and-2 pitch, with two outs in the ninth.
It was the second straight win for the Sox after nine defeats in their previous 11 tries, and it seemed to announce that their two-week slump was officially, incontrovertibly, over.
But more than that, it offered the possibility that the Red Sox could ride a win like this for a while.
"I think it can have some carryover," said John Farrell. "We've come through a pretty tough 10-day stretch, but I think what's most important the last couple of nights is the approach that we've used for the majority of the season, and it showed up again tonight, particularly in the ninth inning against Rodney.
"Even though we were going up against a guy with tremendous stuff, there was no give up, there was no letdown. I think the ninth inning was somewhat characteristic of the way these guys go about their game."
Even as the Red Sox had struggled mightily offensively, especially with runners in scoring position (4-for-40 until the third inning of Wednesday night), Farrell preached patience.
He declined to shake up the lineup for a quick fix, or for the sake of change, pointing out that the same group had gone 20-8 in the first month of the season.
Farrell didn't change then, so he wasn't about to change now and send the wrong message to the clubhouse.
Likewise, Middlebrooks, who delivered the game-winner and has broken out with eight extra-base hits in his last seven games, was asked what was different about the last week or so.
"Nothing, nothing," he insisted. "I got frustrated a little bit but I never changed my plan, never changed my routine in the field. And my teammates had my back the whole time, they were right there, grinding with me. So, I really didn't change a thing.
"Everything's the same."
Except the results. The win snapped a string of three straight series losses and sent the Sox onto Minneapolis and Chicago, with firm evidence that perhaps the worst is over.
"This gets us some momentum," said Middlebrooks. "We're on the road, so it's obviously good to get that momentum going to the next series and try to get things turned around."