Red Sox finish hot road trip with 4-2 win over Rays


Red Sox finish hot road trip with 4-2 win over Rays

By SeanMcAdam Red SoxInsider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In each of the first two games of this series, the winning starting pitcher tossed a complete-game shutout.

Thursday night, in the series finale, it wasn't that simple.

Clay Buchholz was forced from the game after five innings because of lower back stiffness and the Red Sox had to piece together things over the final 20 outs with their bullpen.

Alfredo Aceves gave up a run in the sixth, but the duo of Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon combined to get the final 2 13 innings as the Sox won the game, 4-2, and with it, the series.

Papelbon, who hadn't pitched since last Friday, recorded his 13th save, but not before putting the potential tying run at first with no out in the ninth.

With Boston leading by a run in the top of the ninth, Adrian Gonzalez lined a homer into the seats in right, his 14th of the season, giving his team a bit of a cushion.

The victory enabled the Red Sox to finish their three-city nine-game road trip with an 8-1 record. That's the best nine-game road trip since 1977 when the Sox were a perfect 9-0 from July 29 through Aug. 7. Since dropping their first seven games away from home this season, the Sox are now 21-7 on the road.

The Sox jumped on Tampa starter David Price for a run in the first and two in the second.

David Ortiz drew a bases-loaded walk in the first. In the second, Darnell McDonald, getting his first start since April 29, singled home one run and Dustin Pedroia doubled home another.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?