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After dropping the second game of the series on Wednesday night, Boston came out guns a’ blazing to take the series against Tampa Bay. Jason Bay’s two RBI in the first got the team going en route to a 6-3 win.
Kevin Youkilis started the game 3-3, gaining a quarter of Boston’s twelve hits. The Rays kept up for as long as they could, but ultimately couldn’t match the Boston’s power.
The Red Sox got things going early. With two outs, Victor Martinez and Youkilis both singled. Bay followed with a line drive double, scoring both. The Rays answered with a Ben Zobrist single, scoring Jason Bartlett, and an Evan Longoria double, which brought Carlos Pena home.
In the second, Rocco Baldelli crushed a home run to left field, putting the Sox up by one. It wasn’t until the fourth when Tampa was able to answer back when a Gerg Zaun double plated Longoria.
After scoring a run in the sixth, the Red Sox got things going one inning later. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled and followed it by stealing his second base of the night. After a Dustin Pedroia single, Martinez chopped a ball over Pena’s head, scoring Ellsbury. Up next was Youkilis, who was able to beat a throw to first that would have turned a double play, scoring Pedroia. A double from Bay and walk to David Ortiz brought up Mike Lowell, who flew out to second to end the top half of the inning, but not before the Sox took a 6-3 lead.
Boston starter Clay Buccholz pitched a great game, going six innings and giving up three runs and only one walk. He retired the final nine batters he faced. His counterpart David Price went only 5.1 innings, giving up four runs, including the Baldelli home run. Sox relievers Billy Wagner, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon finished the game with one hitless inning each.
Boston still remains 7.5 games behind New York for the AL East lead, but the Sox are up three games on Texas and six on Tampa for the Wild Card. The Red Sox will begin a four-game series in Chicago against the White Sox Friday with Paul Bird taking on Freddy Garcia.
Clay Buchholz was 1-3 when pitching indoors before tonight’s game and pitched a six inning gem, giving up three runs and walking only one.
David Ortiz couldn’t get the bat going. He was 0-4 on the night with his only on base appearance coming in the form of an intentional walk.
In the eight inning, Alex Gonzalez was bunting to advance J.D. Drew. Longoria played the ball perfectly, but his throw to first went to no one as Pena wasn’t covering first. Akinori Iwamura got there late and was able to keep the Red Sox runners from advancing any further.
WP: Buchholz (4-3)
LP: Price (7-7)
SV: Papelbon (34)