The bad blood that is so prevalent in the Red Sox and Rays history appeared yet again tonight, as the Rays hung on for a 7-4 victory.
The Red Sox struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Mike Aviles reached on reached on an error by third baseman Drew Sutton. With one out, Aviles stole second, and David Ortiz drew a walk. After Adrian Gonzalez lined out to left, Kevin Youkilis singled to center, scoring Aviles and giving the Sox a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, the Rays broke through against Sox starter Jon Lester. With one out, Carlos Pena walked. B.J. Upton singled to shallow right, putting runners and fist and third. After a Luke Scott strikeout, Ben Zobrist walked, loading the bases. Matt Joyce cleared them all, driving a grand slam to right center, giving the Rays a 4-1 lead.
Lester continued to get battered in the top of the fourth inning. Sutton led off the inning with a single to center, followed by a Chris Gimenez fielder’s choice. Elliot Johnson hit a home run to center, scoring Gimenez and giving the Rays a brief 6-1 lead. Pena followed by hitting a home run just over the leap of Marlon Byrd in right, extending the lead to 7-1. Lester’s night was done after the fourth, as he gave up 7 earned runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 3 home runs.
Rays starter Alex Cobb, meanwhile, got into a bit of a rhythm after a rough first inning. Boston only managed 2 walks until the fifth inning, when Scott Posednik singled to center, and stole second. Ortiz walked with two outs, and Gonzalez followed with a hard double off the wall, scoring Posednik to cut the lead to 7-2. With runners on second and third, Cobb got Youkilis to ground out to third, ending the inning.
Cobb left after the fifth inning, having thrown 96 pitches. Over his 5 innings, he allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and 4 walks while striking out 2 batters. J.P. Howell was summoned from the bullpen for the start of the sixth inning, and walked both batters he faced. Burke Badenhop came on, and gave up a single to Byrd, scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia to cut the lead to 7-3. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to second and third, Aviles hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Daniel nava and trimming the advantage to 7-4. After Dustin Pedroia was hit in the back by a pitch, Jake McGee was brought in. McGee got Ortiz to fly out to right, ending the threat.
The game moved along until the top of the ninth, as the bullpens held the opposing offenses in check. With two outs, Franklin Morales threw a fastball behind Luke Scott on his first pitch of the at bat. With a 3-1 count, Morales finally hit Scott, drilling him just above the knee with a 97 MPH fastball. Both benches cleared, with the coaching staffs seemingly more irate at one another than the players. Order was finally restored, and Fernando Rodney closed the door on the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth, preserving the 7-4 victory.
Game Notes: Carlos Pena’s home run in the fourth was his sixth career home run against Lester. The Rays have hit back to back home runs twice this year, the first time on May 13 against Baltimore. Despite only having 3 home runs on the season, Elliot Johnson was involved in both occurrences. Matt Joyce hit his fourth career grand slam, and his second in a week. Both grand slams came in the third inning.