By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON -- Whether you want to point the finger at Jed Lowries throwhome that hit Ben Zobrist, or at Mike Aviles throw to Jason Varitek instead ofgoing to third on a runner stealing home, it was a play that opened up thesecond game of a day-night doubleheader.
The Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays split the two games at FenwayPark, with the Rays taking the second one, 6-2.
@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Rays last three runs came in the eighth inning, and thespotlight can easily be put on Tampa Bays attempted double steal whichresulted in a B.J. Upton rundown in between second and first, and an eventualbotched throw to home by Lowrie, leading to Zobrist scoring and giving the Raysa 5-2 lead.
With runners on first and third with one out in the top ofthe eighth, and the Rays trying to extend a 4-2 lead, the Red Sox caught Uptonin a rundown as he tried to steal second. But just as they wanted their plan togo, Zobrist decided to creep closer to home.
As Zobrist made it halfway to the plate, Aviles decided toput all of his attention on Zobrist. It was the right idea, in order to save arun, but instead of charging the runner or even throwing to Varitek at home,Aviles decided to quickly toss it to Lowrie at third.
I started going, and as soon as I saw Zobrist take a stepor two towards third, thats when I let it go, said Aviles after the loss. Iprobably should have ran him back a little bit more. But I just tried to get itin the hands of Jed or Varitek a little quicker.
Lowrie had a tough angle, and his throw home hit a slidingZobrist, and gave Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead in a game that was just 3-2 entering theeighth inning.
Jed didnt have a throwing lane, said Red Sox managerTerry Francona after the loss. Whether he had time to create one, I thought wedid a pretty good job. The runner, it looked to me like he did a good job andgot in the throwing lane.
I tried to get outside and create a throwing lane, saidLowrie. And Tek slid over, and I think Zobrist saw Tek slide over, so hekind of veered out, because he was running well inside the base line. When hesaw Tek slide out, I think he started running towards the outside lane, justlike a magnet.
I thought that was the right throw by Aviles, addedLowrie. He ran B.J. back, and when Zobrist went, he stopped and startedrunning into him, so I think he made the right play. Its just unfortunate thatthe ball hit Zobrist.
It was unfortunate for the Red Sox, because it somewhat tookaway from Lowries heads up play in the top of the fourth inning, when SeanRodriguez hit a hard grounder down the third-base line with runners on firstand second and no outs and a 2-1 Tampa Bay lead.
Lowrie stabbed at the grounder to his right, and quicklymade a decision to step on third and make a hard throw to Dustin Pedroia atsecond base to get another force out. Pedroia got the out at second, and alsogot the out at third, giving the Red Sox their first triple play since JohnValentin turned one in 1994.
And it all started with Lowries heads up decision to stepon third and make a perfect throw to second.
Well at the time of the game, its a big play in the game,said Francona. It was first and second with nobody out. They got a chance toextend the lead, and all of a sudden, the innings over.
It was pretty cool, said Lowrie, who had never even seen atriple play before until Tuesday night. I was thinking that if I got agroundball, Id just step on third and throw it to first, but he hit atwo-hopper to my right side, and it just set up perfect for a triple play.
I know that Pedroia is one of the best in the business atturning it, added Lowrie. So I knew we had a chance when hes out there. AndI got it to him quick and right on target. I know if I do that, hes got a goodchance of turning it.
That triple play also made up for Lowries errant throw homein the second inning, which led to Tampa Bay taking an early 1-0 lead.
But by the time his throw home in the eighth inning hitZobrist, it was 5-2 Rays, and after another run was tacked on in the inning, itwas the one play that stuck out as a turning point after Tuesday nights loss.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.