Rays History

Tampa Bay Rays OTD: ALCS Edition

By Austin Reimann
BOSTON - OCTOBER 16: Starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning of game five of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs at Fenway Park on October 16, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
BOSTON - OCTOBER 16: Starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning of game five of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs at Fenway Park on October 16, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /
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A win away from their first American League Pennant, the Tampa Bay Rays squandered a seven run lead with three innings left in game five of the ALCS.

In front of 38,437 fans packed tightly into the confines of Fenway Park, the Rays jumped on Daisuke Matsuzaka scoring five runs in four innings thanks to three home runs. Kazmir threw a gem only to watch it go to waste in the final three innings.

Pitching Matchup:

Scott Kazmir threw six scoreless while striking out seven Red Sox batters. In the final 3 innings Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler, and J.P. Howell proceeded to give up eight runs and the seven run lead. Balfour recorded two outs while allowing four runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Wheeler was charged with a blown save after scattering three runs over an inning and a third, and J.P. Howell allowed the walk-off single to J.D. Drew in the bottom of the ninth.

Matsuzaka surrendered five runs and gave the ball over to the bullpen for the final five innings. The Red Sox bullpen was dominant aside from Manny Delcarmen who gave up two runs with out recording an out. Masterson threw a scoreless ninth allowing the Red Sox to walk-off a half-inning  later.

At the Plate:

B.J. Upton hit a homer in the first inning which was followed in the third by two more blasts off the bats of Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria. Upton also hit a two run double in the seventh inning to cap the scoring for the Rays.

The comeback began with a four run inning in the seventh behind a Pedroia run scoring single and a David Ortiz three run homer. In the eighth they tallied three more runs, thanks, in part, to a J.D. Drew two run last off Wheeler. In the ninth, Drew capped the season saving comeback with a walk-off single scoring Kevin Youkilis.

The Rays lost 8-7.

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