ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Down to their last strike, the Red Sox got a bases-loaded double from Will Middlebrooks to overtake the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3.
Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney walked the bases loaded and got ahead of Middlebrooks 1-and-2 before Middlebrooks scorched a ball to the gap in left-center, clearing the bases.
Junichi Tazawa, who entered in the bottom of the eighth with the Sox behind by two, stayed on for the ninth and worked his way out of a first-and-second jam to earn the win.
The win was the first for the Red Sox this season when the team was trailing after eight innings. Previously, they had been 0-for-12.
Until Middlebrooks came through, the Sox had been limited to just three hits.
The win gave the Red Sox a victory in the series, snapping a stretch of play that had seen them lose the previous three series.
Starter Felix Doubront struggled again, issuing a career-high six walks and was lifted without getting an out in the sixth. Doubront did fan seven and yielded just three hits, including a solo homer to Ryan Roberts in the second for the game's first run.
Clayton Mortensen came on and erased Doubront's baserunner with a fielder's choice, but two straight walks, a passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and consecutive singles by Desmond Jennings and Luke Scott delivered two runs for Tampa.
The first Red Sox run came in the fourth when Shane Victorino doubled to right, moved to third on a groundout and rode home on a single to right by David Ortiz.
STAR OF THE GAME: Will Middlebrooks
After a homer and a double on Wednesday, Middlebrooks supplied a bases-clearing double with two out in the ninth to win Thursday's game, an indication that his slump is officially over. He has eight extra-base hits in his last seven games.
HONORABLE MENTION: Junichi Tazawa
Tazawa had a 1-2-3 eighth, then, after the Sox scored three times in the top of the inning, worked out of his own jam in the ninth to pick up his third.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Fernando Rodney
Rodney walked the bases loaded in the ninth, then gave up the double to Middlebrooks, then walked another hitter, just for good measure, before getting the hook from Joe Maddon.
TURNING POINT: In the eighth, right fielder Shane Victorino made two highlight catches -- crashing into the wall to take extra bases away from Jose Lobaton, then grabbing a fly ball over his shoulder to rob Desmond Jennings and keep the Sox within two runs.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Sox had been 0-for-12 when trailing after eight innings before the win Thursday night.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "I think the ninth inning of tonight's game is somewhat characteristic of the way these guys go about their game." - John Farrell on the comeback win.