The Tampa Bay Rays season will continue for at least another day as the Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox by a final score of 5-4 on a walk off solo home run by Jose Lobaton in the bottom of the 9th off Red Sox closer Koji Uehara. It was Lobaton’s third walk off hit of the season and second walk of homer.
It was not a prototypical victory as the Rays fell behind early 3-0 and came back to tie it on a 3-run homer off the bat of Evan Longoria in the bottom of the fifth.
The Jose Connection:
It was the first home run allowed by Uehara since Jose Bautista hit a 2-run home run on June 3oth.
Birthday Boy #1: Alex Cobb – 26 years old
Pitched better than his line score indicates. In 5 innings of work he allowed 3R/2ER on 5 hits walking 2 and striking out 5. The Rays defense let him down in the first which led to an unearned run. The Red Sox added a run on a wild pitch that allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to score but Ellsbury should have been called out on a bang bang play at 3rd prior to scoring on the wild pitch.
He was the 13th pitcher to start a postseason game on his birthday and was trying to become just the 4th starting pitcher to post a win.
Birthday Boy #2: Evan Longoria – 28 years old
Longoria became just the 2nd player to homer in a postseason game on his birthday. With his 3-run homer in the bottom of the 5th inning he joins Willie Mays Aikens who hit two home runs on his 26th birthday (October 14, 1980) in game 1 of the World Series at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
Top of 1st: Defense Lets Cobb Down – Red Sox Jump Out To Early 1-0 Lead
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead and once again it was a costly Rays error that led to the run. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a seeing eye single and advanced to second base when Alex Cobb hit Shane Victorino. Cobb got the double play ball he wanted off the bat of Dustin Pedroia who sent a ground ball to Evan Longoria who threw to second to retire Victorino but Ben Zobrist‘s relay throw was wide of James Loney and Ellsbury came around to score. After issuing the unintentional-intentional walk to David Ortiz Cobb retired Mike Napoli on a fly out to left and made a diving stab on a ground ball back to the left of the mound off the bat of Daniel Nava and threw to first for the out.
Bottom of 2nd: Rays Opportunity Knocks – Double Play Answers
James Loney split the gap in left field for a lead off double in to begin the bottom of the second. Desmond Jennings sent a line drive to Mike Napoli at first who threw back to shortstop Stephen Drew to double off James Loney at second base.
Top of 4th: Red Sox Threaten – Cobb Responds
The Red Sox put their first two hitters on base as David Ortiz drew a walk to lead off walk and advanced to second on a single by Mike Napoli. Oritz tagged up on a fly ball off the bat of Daniel Nava to deep center to put Red Sox on the corner with one out. Cobb was up to the challenge by striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and fielding an infield grounder off the bat of Stephen Drew and running to first to record the final out.
Bottom of 4th: Rays B-Ring Rally Comes Up Short
Ben Zobrist drew a leadoff walk after his foul pop hit one of the rings rendering it a foul ball. Clay Buchholz struck both Evan Longoria and Wil Myers out but James Loney extended the inning with a 2-out single. Desmond Jennings followed with a walk to load the bases for Matt Joyce. Joyce ended the season 0 for 20 with runners in scoring position (dating back to August 21st vs the Orioles). He struck out on three pitches to end the inning.
Top of 5th: Red Sox extend lead to 3-0
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a 1-out double off the diving James Loney glove. He advanced to 3rd when Shane Victorino bounced a ball in the hole at short that Yunel Escobar fielded and threw to third and appeared to beat him to the bag. With Dustin Pedroia pitching Alex Cobb uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Ellsbury to race down the line and score the Red Sox second run but also allowed Victorino to advance to into scoring position at 2nd. Victorino moved to 3rd on a Pedroia ground out and David Ortiz delivered an RBI single to push the Red Sox lead to 3-0.
Bottom of 5th: Rays Tie Game At 3-3
For the fourth time in five innings the Rays got the lead off man on base. Yunel Escobar led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a 1-out double by David DeJesus. Ben Zobrist was unable to deliver as he popped out to shortstop Stephen Drew but Evan Longoria delivered a 3-run home run to tie the game at 3-3.
Bottom of 7th: Rays Threaten But Can’t Capitalize Game Remains Tied
With 1-out Ben Zobrist singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Junichi Tazawa. Evan Longoria was unable to drive him in as he popped out to third baseman Will Middlebrooks for the second out of the inning to bring a struggling Wil Myers to the plate. The struggles for Myers continued as he struck out at a ball in the dirt to end the inning.
Wil Myers appeared to hurt his calf on the swing and was forced to leave the game. He was replaced in right field by designated hitter Matt Joyce.
Myers reportedly left the game due to cramping in his legs and went to the locker room where he took fluids by IV. After the game he said he felt fine.
Top of 8th: Blown Call Leads To Trouble But McGee Up To Task
Jake McGee came in to work the top of the 8th and walked David Oritz to lead off the inning. Ortiz evening was finished as he was replaced by pinch runner Quentin Berry.
Berry stole second base but replay clearly shows that he was blocked from reaching second base as Ben Zobrist applied the tag. After a brief argument Joe Maddon returned to the dugout and McGee retired Mike Napoli on a ground out to Yunel Escobar.
McGee struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the second out of the inning and got Stephen Drew to pop out to end the inning.
Bottom of 8th: Delmon Young Fielders Choice Puts Rays Up 4-3
Left hander Franklin Morales entered the game and walked the left handed hitting James Loney to lead off the inning. Loney was removed for pinch runner Sam Fuld. Desmond Jennings laid down a sacrifice bunt and beat the throw to first for a single pushing Fuld into scoring position. Matt Joyce attempted to sacrifice the runners but popped out to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Top of 9th: Rodney Blows Lead But Score Remains Tied
Fernando Rodney came in to try and protect a precious one run lead and walked Will Middlebrooks to lead of the inning. Middlebrooks was removed for pinch runner Xander Bogaerts. Jacoby Ellsbury moved Bogaerts into scoring position by pushing a blooper over Evan Longoria’s head.
The Red Sox had two on with nobody out and the heart of their order coming up. Rodney was having trouble finding home plate and had the pesky Shane Victorin due up.
John Farrell had Victorino lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance both Bogaerts and Ellsbury into scoring position for Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia grounded out to shortstop Yunel Escobar but Bogaerts raced home with the tying run. With David Ortiz no longer in the game Fernando Rodney faced Mike Carp.
With Carp batting Ellsbury stole third base to put pressure on Fernando Rodney. The move didn’t deter Rodney as he came back from down 3-0 to strike Carp out.
Ice Cream Time: Lobaton Walk Off Home Run
After Uehara retired Ben Zobrist on a ground out to second and Evan Longoria on a line drive to center Jose Lobaton came to the plate in the spot formerly vacated by Wil Myers who departed the game due to cramping in both legs.
Lobaton blasted a home run to center field that deflected into the Rays tank.
Hellickson Looks To Salvage Disappointing Season:
Jeremy Hellickson will have an opportunity to salvage a very disappointing season which saw him post a record of 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA. The Red Sox will counter with Jake Peavy who finished the year 12-5 overall (White Sox and Red Sox) with a 4.17 ERA and 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA with the Red Sox.