The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays series was set to be a great one as they both won 90+ games during the regular season. Boston finished with the best record in the American League going 97-65. The Tampa Bay Rays finished second in the American League East with a record of 92-71. Boston won the season series 12-7, but it was still poised to be a great series. The Boston Red Sox won the series 3-1 and here is how it happened.
Game 1 was very unexpected to say the least. The Rays got out on top early with a Sean Rodriguez homer over the monster in the second inning. Ben Zobrist followed that with a solo shot of his own in the top of the fourth. Then the flood gates opened for the Sox. Pedroia singled to start the inning, and then “The Wil Myers Play” happened. A deep fly ball to right by David Ortiz and Wil Myers moves out of the way and lets it hit and bounce into the bullpen for a ground rule double. Myers came out and said he saw Desmond Jennings in the corner of his eye causing him to move out of the way. That play was followed by a double, infield single, double and a single and the Red Sox were leading 5-2.
The offense didn’t stop there for the Sox. The Sox scored three more in the 5th and four more in the 8th, to walk to a 12-2 win. The defense of the Rays, which was best in the majors in the regular season, let them down in Game 1 and it wouldn’t stop there.
Red Sox win Game 1 12-2, take 1-0 series lead.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead into Saturday, looking to make it 2-0 and a commanding lead in a best of 5 series. The Red Sox offense didn’t slow down from the day before as they got on the board early with two runs in the first, on a Pedroia sac fly and a David Ortiz home run. This would be the first of two that Ortiz would hit off of David Price. The Rays would get a run back but the Red Sox scored in the third, fourth and fifth innings, to widen their lead. The Rays scored two in the 5th and one in the 6th to make it a three run game. John Lackey would give up 4 in five and a third, but that would be enough to get the win.
Red Sox win Game 2 7-4, take 2-0 series lead heading to Tampa Bay.
Game 3 would be one to remember for Rays fans. The Red Sox got on the board early once again, scoring in the first. The middle of the Red Sox line-up did a lot of damage throughout the entire series, as they added two more in the top of the 5th to take a 3-0 lead. It looked like the Red Sox were going to sweep the Rays and wait on the winner of the Tigers and A’s series. Well the Rays weren’t going down without a fight. An Evan Longoria three run homer in the bottom half of the 5th, tied the game.
The scoring was quiet until the bottom of the eighth, when the postseason hitting machine Delmon Young brought in a run on a RBI groundout. Just then you thought the Rays would live to fight another day. Until Fernando Rodney got on the mound in the ninth. Rodney walked the lead off hitter, followed by a single and sac bunt and the Red Sox were in business with one out. Pedroia came to the plate and grounded out bringing in the tying run. The Rays fans could see the season ending right before their eyes. Rodney got out of the inning with the game tied, going to the bottom of the 9th. After two quick outs, Jose Lobaton came to the plate and on the second pitch of the at bat, sends the ball deep to right center into the Ray tank and the Rays win! We have seen that before from a Rays hitter.
Rays win Game 3 5-4, Red Sox lead series 2-1.
Game 4 was a pitchers duel between Jeremy Hellickson and Jake Peavy. After five scoreless innings the Rays broke through in the bottom of the 6th on a David DeJesus single making it 1-0 Rays. The Red Sox weren’t going to quit as a wild pitch and an infield single would give the Red Sox the 2-1 lead in the top of the 7th inning. Once again the Rays defense and pitching let them down in a big situation. The Red Sox would add one more in the top of the 9th for insurance, as they hold on to win 3-1 and take the series.
Red Sox win Game 4 3-1, Red Sox win series 3-1.
The MVP’s of the series were David Ortiz with great timely hitting, Jacoby Ellsbury stealing four bases throughout the series and putting the Red Sox in great situations to score runs. Last will be Craig Breslow, who was huge out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. Breslow pitched in three games, not giving up a run, and getting some of the biggest outs of the series. The Red Sox move on to face the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series on Saturday at Fenway Park.