The Rays fell to the Boston Red Sox 9-8 in 14 innings in a game that featured a 6-run comeback by the Rays to tie the game in the 8th and a 2-run comeback to come back and tie the game in the 10th. Cesar Ramos (1-2, 4.15 ERA) took the loss and the Rays record falls to 34-29 and Franklin Morales (2-0, 7.04 ERA) earned the victory improving the Red Sox record to 40-25.
The game was the second longest in Rays history at 5 hours and 24 minutes and the loss will be a hard pill to swallow and will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of Rays fans for a long time. The evening was frustrating and included a benches clearing melee sparked by John Lackey intentionally hitting Matt Joyce and the inability for the Rays to get a key hit from their offense as they went 3-16 with runners in scoring position (entering the game first in AL with .307 average). It is one of those games that will bring the Joe Maddon doubters out of the woodwork and any positives from the game will erased by the end result. So be prepared for a full dose of “who lost this game” on the air waves, social media, and blogosphere. The answers will range from Luke Scott (0 fro 7), Joe Maddon (questionable moves), and Evan Longoria (failure with bases loaded and nobody out).
The Rays took the field and the first pitch was delivered at 7:12 p.m. and by 7:30 p.m. the first 8 Red Sox hitters had reached based against Alex Cobb and 6 had scored and by the time the inning had ended Cobb had to make 38 pitches. After the shaky beginning Cobb settled down and gave the Rays 3 scoreless innings of relief allowing the Rays to cut into the Red Sox lead.
Alex Cobb either had little control of his breaking ball, was tipping his pitches, or the Red Sox advanced scouts had done a really good job preparing their hitters. On the evening Cobb worked a season low 4 innings allowing 6R/ER on 7 hits while striking out 4 and walking 3.
Where to begin? Rays Trail 6-0
The Rays offense got things started with the very first batter to come to the plate. Matt Joyce got the Rays on the board with a lead off home run and Evan Longoria hit a solo home run to cut the Red Sox lead to 6-2.
Pressure Situation 2nd Inning: Rays Trail 6-2
With 2-out in the bottom of the second the Rays had runners on 1st and 3rd and Matt Joyce at the plate. The count went to 3-0 and Joyce had the green light and sent a long smash down the line in right that went foul before grounding out to end the inning. As Lackey walked off the mound he was having an animated discussion with someone in the Rays dugout.
Pressure Situation 3rd Inning: Rays Score One To Cut Lead To 6-3 But Leave Runners In Scoring Position
The Rays loaded the bases with nobody out in the 3rd inning and James Loney sent a scorcher that found Mike Carp‘s glove to possibly save 3 runs. Luke Scott followed with a fielders choice that drove in a run to cut the Red Sox lead to 6-3. With 2-out and runners on the corners Desmond Jennings struck out.
Pressure Situation 4th Inning: Rays Add Another Run To Pull To 6-4 But Leave Runners In Scoring Position
Yunel Escobar and Jose Lobaton opened the inning with singles and Lobaton came in to score the Rays 4th run on a 1-out single by Ben Zobrist. The Rays used aggressive base running to advance both Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist to 2nd and 3rd on a Kelly Johnson fly out to give Evan Longoria a chance to deliver a key 2-out hit but he lined out left field to end the inning.
Pressure Situation #4: All Hell Breaks Lose, Rays Trail 6-4
With 2-out and nobody on base Matt Joyce stepped to the plate and John Lackey hit him right between the shoulder blades. Joyce pointed to the mound and told Lackey that was bullsh*t and Lackey said “I didn’t mean to hit you”…Joyce reiterated that he felt it was bulsh*t as both benches cleared. After order was resumed Ben Zobrist hit a double into the right field corner but 3rd base coach Tom Foley held Joyce at 3rd. With 2-runners and scoring position and 2-out Kelly Johnson had a chance to deliver the key hit to cut into the Red Sox lead but struck out against Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow.
Rays Pressure 7th Inning: James Loney Crushes Homer To Cut Lead To 6-5
Rays Pressure 8th Inning: Rays Tie Game At 6-6 On Wild Pitch; Zobrist Left In Scoring Position
Yunel Escobar doubled with 1-out in the bottom of the 8th and moved to 3rd on a ground out to 2b. Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa uncorked a wild pitch and Escobar aggressively came in to score the tying run. Ben Zobrist followed with a double but Kelly Johnson popped the ball up toward the pitchers mound. Dustin Pedroia came in to make a diving catch.
Red Sox Regain The Lead 8-6 In 10th Inning
After a questionable decision to pinch run Sean Rodriguez in the 9th inning for James Loney and then never have Rodriguez attempt to steal second, especially with 2-out, Joe Maddon made several decisions that many will question. The first was bringing Fernando Rodney out for a second inning of work. Then Rodney walks the leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia and Jamey Wright is warming in the bullpen but is not brought into the game.
With Pedroia at first David Ortiz sent a slow roller to Ben Zobrist whose momentum was carrying him toward 2nd base but he decided to throw Ortiz out and allow Pedroia to take second. With a 3-ball count to Daniel Nava Rodney never looked at Pedroia who stole third on the ball 4 pitch.
Fernando Rodney came back to strike out Mike Carp for the second out to bring up Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Rays allowed Nava to advance to second on indifference which put an extra run in scoring position for the Red Sox. Saltalamacchia made the Rays pay for the decision as he laced a single to score both runners and give the Red Sox a 8-6 lead.
Rays Pressure 10th Inning: Tie Game But Failed To Deliver Key Hit With Bases Loaded And Nobody Out
The Red Sox inserted their closer Andrew Bailey into the game and Jose Lobaton greeted him with a solo home run to cut the Red Sox lead to 8-7. After the home run Bailey seemed to lose control and issued back to back walks to Yunel Escobar and Matt Joyce. Ben Zobrist followed with a hard single to right to load the bases for Kelly Johnson who drew a walk to tie the game at 8-8 and leave the bases loaded for Evan Longoria.
Longoria sent a 1-hopper to Will Middlebrooks at 3rd base who threw home for the first out and Saltalamacchia threw to 1st to get the double play. With runners on the corner and 2-out Sam Fuld was called on to pinch hit for Sean Rodriguez. Fuld attempted a bunt and got it by Bailey but Dustin Pedroia came charging in to make an outstanding defensive play to once again save the game for the Red Sox.
Red Sox Tack On 2 Runs In 14th
Cesar Ramos was forced into duty after working 3 innings in Sunday’s 10-7 after Kyle Farnsworth suffered an arm injury after working the 12th inning. He worked into the 14th inning before allowing RBI singles to Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to give the Red Sox their final two runs.
The Rays and Red Sox will play the middle game of their series later tonight at 7:10. The Rays will send Roberto Hernandez (3-6, 5.03 ERA) to the mound against the Red Sox Ace Jon Lester (6-2, 3.60 ERA).