Salty's offense, Pedroia's defense earn Sox 'W'

Salty's offense, Pedroia's defense earn Sox 'W'
June 11, 2013, 2:15 am
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In a game in which two multi-run leads are blown, eight pitches are used and more than five hours and twenty minutes pass, there's certainly room for more than one hero.
So it was for the Red Sox, who saw leads of 6-0 and 8-6 disappear, only to come back and claim a highly improbable 10-8 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Start with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who collected a career-best four hits, knocked in three runs and somehow found a way to catch all 14 innings for every one of the 222 pitches Red Sox pitches threw.
Saltalamacchia doubled in the first when the Red Sox streaked to a lead. Later, after they had squandered their big cushion, he singled home two runs in the top of 10th, runs that the Sox expected would give them a second chance at victory.
Instead, the Sox squandered that one, too, but Saltalamacchia's bat didn't cool off, chipping in with another run-scoring single in the 14th when the Sox put the Rays away for good.
"It was definitely a long one, with all that was going on," said an exhausted Saltalamacchia. "It made for a long night, but it feels good that we won."
Saltalamacchia is in the midst of a white-hot streak at the plate, batting .406 (13-for-32) in the last eight games with seven extra-base hits and 10 RBI in that span.
He thought his two-run single would stand up in the 10th.
"But they're a good team," said Saltalamacchia of the Rays. "You walk a guy and they're going to find a way to get that guy in. We didn't make our pitches tonight."
Still, Saltalamacchia wasn't through with his offensive heroics. After Daniel Nava had snapped an 8-8 tie with a single up the middle, scoring Shane Victorino, Saltalamacchia added another run for insurance by slicing a single to left, scoring pinch-runner Jose Iglesias.
As for Pedroia, he drove in the first two runs of the game when the Sox erupted for six in the first inning off Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb.
Pedroia went hitless in his next six plate appearances -- though he did walk twice and score once -- but his real contributions came in the field.
In the eighth, with the game tied and Ben Zobrist on third with two out, Junichi Tazawa got Kelly Johnson to pop up just past the pitcher's mound.
But with the infield back, the ball seemed destined to fall behind Tazawa until Pedroia raced in and snared the ball inches before it hit the ground.
Asked if the pop-up was supposed to be anyone's ball, Pedroia, feigning frustration, responded: "Yeah, the pitcher. He's a part of the defense, too. He kept pointing at it, like, 'Please catch it.' That's about it.
"I'm glad I caught it. That was luck."
And yet Pedroia had one more standout defensive play to come.
In the 10th, after the Rays had tied the game at 8-8 and had runners at second and third with two out, Sam Fuld attempted a drag bunt to the right side, hoping to beat out the bunt as Ben Zobrist scored the game-winner from third.
Instead, Pedroia charged the ball at a tough angle and got enough on the throw to first to nab Fuld and end the inning.
"He's a great bunter," said Pedroia. "I tried to scoot in a little bit and hopefully get a good jump and hopefully make a good play on it. He's fast and gets down the line pretty well, too, so I was lucky enough that it worked out."
"That saves the game, especially against a guy that fast," said Saltalamacchia. "It's almost like he expected it to happen. He made an unbelievable play."