The Tampa Bay Rays fell to the Boston Red Sox 3-2 Friday to open what is sure to be an interesting weekend series in New England. This was the first matchup, and is the first series since Yunel Escobar and Jonny Gomes got into it down in Tampa, which lead to three ejections.
The Rays wasted no time getting on the board, as David DeJesus lead the game off with a double into right field and advanced to third base after Grady Sizemore didn’t play the ball off the low-wall correctly. The next batter, Ben Zobrist grounded out and DeJesus came into score.
Things got interesting in the bottom half of the first with one out and one man on, Rays starter David Price plunked David Ortiz, which immediately brought warnings to each dugout from home plate umpire Dan Bellino. Red Sox manager John Farrell thought that Price’s retaliation warranted a harsher punishment, and he was ultimately ejected for arguing with Bellino.
Things calmed down until the bottom of the fourth, when Price went just a bit too inside on Mike Carp, which (obviously) didn’t bode well with the Red Sox, and the benches cleared for the second time in a row in meetings. This resulted in an ejection of Red Sox bench coach and acting manager Torey Lovullo, but not Price.
The Rays would put their second run of the game on the board in the top of the fifth much like they did in the first, with a leadoff double – this time from Escobar – and a DeJesus RBI single to bring him home, and extend the lead to 2-0. The Sox would answer back with their first run of the game in the bottom of the same frame, when Ortiz singled to bring home Xander Bogaerts, who had singled himself just two batters earlier.
But, believe it or not, things would get crazier.
On his 89th pitch of the game and with the rain coming down hard, Red Sox starter Brandon Workman threw a pitch that went behind Evan Longoria, which lead to his ejection – again, much to the dismay of Boston players and fans. The Sox’s third acting manager of the game, third base coach Brian Butterfield was ejected along with Workman.
Boston would tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Bogaerts doubled home Jackie Bradley Jr., who lead off the inning with a single into left field, and the game would remain tied after nine innings, although Joel Peralta made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, allowing two Red Sox to come into scoring position with two out, but got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to send the game into extra innings, and they weren’t very kind to the Rays.
In the top half of the 10th inning, Escobar attempted to leg out an infield single, which he did, but had to leave the field with some help for the Rays staff. The Rays wouldn’t score in their half of the 1oth, either. The game would end in the bottom of the inning in a really bizarre way. With Juan Carlos Oviedo on the mound and Gomes on first base, A.J. Pierzynski sent a 2-1 changeup deep into left center field, and Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings both went after the ball and wound up colliding into each other, allowing the ball to reach the wall in center field, and allowing Pierzynski to score from first base to give the Sox the 3-2 victory.
Price, for all it’s worth, pitched very well, throwing 110 pitches over seven complete innings, allowing just the two runs on six hits, and striking out six as well. Price was high in pitch count all day, not because he had trouble finding the strike zone – in fact, it was just the opposite, as he only walked one batter – the Sox batters simply put great at-bats together, fouled a bunch of pitches off and fought at the plate well. However, in my unprofessional opinion, I do think Price was left in the game an inning too long. Not that he can’t work out of trouble, but with his pitch count already high and a one run game, I probably would have gone to the pen. But maybe that’s why I don’t manage a major league team.
The two teams will get together again, and hopefully will be able to channel their emotions a bit better, in a nationally televised game on Fox at 7. The pitching matchup will pit the 2-4 Jake Odorizzi against Rubby De La Rosa.