Game 8: Sox Rally Past Rays For Win


Well, the game started off promising for the Rays at least.

In another anticipated pitching duel, Jeremy Hellickson faced off against Clay Buchholz in the second of a four game series. Immediately, it was apparent that this game would be quite different than what was expected. Desmond Jennings drew a leadoff walk to start off the top of the first inning, which was followed by a Carlos Pena double that just missed going over the fence in right center. Jennings scored to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead. Evan Longoria followed with a groundout to short. Matt Joyce struck out. Ben Zobrist drew a walk to bring up Boston’s newest Least Favorite Athlete – Luke Scott. Scott silenced the boos with a three run home run to right, giving the Rays a 4-0 advantage. Jeff Keppinger hit a soft line drive to second to end the inning.

Hellickson had a shaky bottom of the first. After allowing a leadoff single to Mike Aviles, he picked him off first when Aviles slipped getting back to the bag. After a Dustin Pedroia flyout to right, Adrian Gonzalez walked. Hellickson escaped unscathed by inducing Kevin Youkilis to ground out to short to end the inning.

Buchholz settled down in the second, allowing only a Sean Rodriguez single. Hellickson got two quick outs in the bottom of the inning before walking Ryan Sweeney. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two run home run to center, cutting the lead to 4-2. Hellickson avoided further trouble by getting Darnell McDonald to fly out to right to end the frame.

The Rays came right back in the top of the third. Longoria flied out to center to lead off the inning. Joyce drew a walk. Zobrist then flied out to right. Up came Scott again, and once again he responded to the jeers, this time by lacing a double center, scoring Joyce and giving the Rays a 5-2 lead. Buchholz would not give up another run from that point on, as he ended the inning by getting Keppinger to ground out to second.

In the bottom of the third, the Sox got the run right back. With one out, Pedroia hit a home run over the Monster to cut the lead to 5-3. Hellickson then got Gonzalez and Youkilis to ground out to end the inning. Buccholz gave up a leadoff single to Jose Molina in the top of the fourth, however he was able to strand Molina at second.

Hellickson continued to flirt with danger in the bottom of the inning. David Ortiz lead off the inning with a single to right center. Cody Ross lined out to center on a hard hit ball. Sweeney doubled to left center, putting runners on second and third with only one out. Saltalamacchia hit a fly ball to left, which was not deep enough to allow Ortiz to attempt to score. McDonald drew a walk to load the bases with two out, after Hellickson had him down 0-2. After being behind Aviles 3-0 in the count, Hellickson was able to get him to line out to right to end the threat.

Buccholz cruised through the top of the fifth, allowing only a Matt Joyce single. Hellickson got two quick outs in the bottom half of the frame before Youkilis hit a line drive single off the wall in left. Ortiz followed with a home run to right center, tying the game at 5. Cody Ross flied out to left to end the inning, and Hellickson’s afternoon. He would finish having given up 5 earned runs in 5 innings, allowing 7 hits (3 home runs) and 3 walks, while only striking out one batter.

Burke Badenhop came out for the bottom of the sixth, and got the Sox in order, striking out Sweeney and McDonald around a Saltalamacchia fly out. Badenhop came back out for the seventh, and that was where the game turned. Aviles hit a home run to lead off the inning, giving the Sox their first lead of the game at 6-5. After a Pedroia groundout to short, Badenhop was lifted in favor of J.P. Howell. Howell was immediately greeted by a double to center by Gonzalez. Youkilis walked, and Ortiz hit a single to left that loaded the bases. Ross hit a double off the wall in left, driving in Gonzalez and Youkilis to give the Sox an 8-5 advantage. Howell then settled in, getting Sweeney to ground out to second and striking out Saltalamacchia to end the inning.

Franklin Morales came in for the top of the eighth in relief of Clay Buchholz. After the initial rough start, Buchholz settled in nicely, going 7 innings and allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5 batters. Morales pitched a perfect inning, keeping the game at 8-5.

Dane De La Rosa entered the game in the bottom of the inning, having replaced the ineffective Josh Lueke on the roster. Unfortunately for the Rays, de la Rosa was Lueke’s equal. Darnell McDonald led off the inning with a walk. Aviles followed with a double to left. With the infield in, Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball to the first baseman. De la Rosa forgot to cover the bag, allowing Pedroia to reach on an infield single, loading the bases with no one out. Adrian Gonzalez then grounded to second, allwoing the Rays to turn a 4-2-3 double play. For a moment, it appeared that the Rays would escape without any damage, but that hope was dashed. Youkilis walked to load the bases once again, bringing up David Ortiz. Ortiz hit a fly ball to left that continued to tail towards the line, ending just out of the reach of a diving Elliott Johnson. The ball would end up as a bases clearing double, giving the Sox an 11-5 lead. De la Rosa continued his arsonist impression by giving up a home run over the Monster to Cody Ross, giving the Sox a 13-5 advantage. Ryan Sweeney would ground out to short to finally end the inning.

Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves came in for the top of the ninth, despite the game not being in a save situation. He pitched a perfect frame, getting Keppinger to hit a fly ball to right before striking out Jose Molina and Sean Rodriguez to end the game.