Rays Bring Home Extra Inning Win


Slow and steady wins the race. It seemed like that was the mantra for the Rays most of the game as they methodically scored one run at a time against the Red Sox Saturday night. Sure, it would be easy to lament the blown lead and the missed opportunities the Rays had in the early parts of the game. After all, they did have the bases loaded in both the first and the third innings, only to come away with one run each time. If we’re trying to be positive here though, and we at RaysColoredGlasses are, let’s focus on the runs that they did score, the lead that they took into the ninth and the crazy win in the eleventh, 6-5.

The Rays plated a run in all but one of the first six innings. Most of those runs were the fundamentally sound kind, the not all that exciting type. Ben Zobrist grounded into a fielder’s choice. Desmond Jennings drove in a run on a groundout. Casey Kotchman drove in Evan Longoria on a sac fly. Sean Rodriguez scored on a sac fly from Longoria. The most thrilling of the runs was a two out solo shot off the bat of Kotchman in the fifth.

Jeremy Hellickson started for the Rays and was by no means dominant, but he gave Tampa another solid performance. Sadly, it was another tough luck night for the rookie. In his last three starts he’s gone at least six innings and has given up two runs or less but has only one win to show for it. He went six innings Saturday night and gave up three runs on five hits. He left the game with a 5-3 lead and gave the ball to the Tampa bullpen to close it out.

Joel Peralta got the ball first and recorded two quick outs before walking Dustin Pedroia and getting lifted in favor of Jake McGee. McGee induced a weak grounder to second from Adrian Gonzalez and it was on to the eighth. J.P. Howell came in and gave up a leadoff single to David Ortiz. He threw a wild pitch allowing Ortiz to move up to second. He settled down and got Darnell McDonald to ground out and struck out Carl Crawford swinging. Howell was pulled and Juan Cruz entered the game and struck out Jed Lowrie to end the threat.

Kyle Farnsworth was brought in to finish things in the ninth. He got ahead of Marco Scutaro then ran the count full, before he got him to ground out to first. The stress level for Rays fans jumped a few notches after a home run to right by Jarrod Saltalamacchia on an 0-2 count. Jacoby Ellsbury homered to right and suddenly the game was tied. Pedroia followed with a double and the winning run was in scoring position with Gonzalez coming to the plate. Farnsworth got ahead again but Gonzalez would eventually draw a walk and that would end the night for the Rays’ closer.

Cesar Ramos entered the game to face David Ortiz and giving the Rays a lefty/lefty matchup. On the second pitch of the at bat Ortiz grounded to second for an inning ending double play. The Red Sox went to their closer Jonathan Papelbon to hold the Rays and get the game to extra innings. He retired the Rays three up, three down and it was free baseball for the fans at the Trop.

Papelbon only threw six pitches in the ninth and was able to come back out and retire the Rays in order again. Ramos and Brandon Gomes kept the Red Sox bats silent in the tenth and the eleventh setting up the dramatic finish.

The Red Sox brought in Daniel Bard and Desmond Jennings greeted him with a leadoff triple. B.J. Upton grounded to first and Jennings had to stay put. With one out and in an 0-2 hole, Evan Longoria lined a single to center and the Rays had their second extra inning walk-off win in the last four days.

The rubber game of the series will match James Shields and Jon Lester. The Rays have taken two, but as we said before the weekend started, a sweep was the goal. As methodical and uneventful as the early innings were for the Rays, the eleventh inning heroics made up for it. Enjoy this one, it was exciting, but get ready because it gets even bigger on Sunday.