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Both teams struggled much of the time to put anything together, but in the end, a well-placed home run on a not-so-well-placed pitched in the final inning allowed the Tampa Bay Rays to defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-3. Boston might have had something going in the 1st, but Dustin Pedroia was called out and second trying to stretch a single into a double. The tag may or may not have just nicked Pedroia on the jersey, but even with replays it was tough to tell.
Tampa attempted to manufacture a run in the 3rd, but Will Rhymes was caught stealing second on a good throw from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. They did finally break through in the next inning, when with one out Matt Joyce doubled to right, then advanced to third on a throwing error by Adrian Gonzalez (who started the game in right). A groundout from Ben Zobrist then scored Joyce.
In the 7th, the Rays tacked on an insurance run to pad their lead. Sean Rodriguez started by doubling with one out, in a play eerily similar to Pedroia’s attempted stretching of a single in the 1st, but replays this time clearly showed that Rodriguez beat the tag, albeit very closely. Rodriguez later scored on a two-out single.
Boston finally put together their only good string of offense in the 7th. David Ortiz started the inning by drawing a walk, followed by a single up the middle for Kevin Youkilis. Then, fulfilling a soon-to-come home run prophecy by Jerry Remy during Youk’s at bat, Adrian Gonzalez jacked a changeup over the Green Monster to give Boston a 3-2 lead.
Boston had a great chance to pad their lead in the 8th. With two outs and Scott Podsednik at third, David Ortiz was intentionally walked before a pitching change, which was soon followed by Youk drawing a walk to load the bases. The previous inning’s hero Adrian Gonzalez was then at the plate, but unfortunately grounded out easily to short.
Alfredo Aceves then came out to attempt to get the save. Although he gave off a leadoff walk, he then induced a popout. In the next at bat, Aceves tried to work around Sean Rodriguez with a pair of cutters followed by three four-seam fastballs, but the final one was left too far over the plate, and Rodriguez put the ball over the Monster for the lead. After a one-two-three 9th at the hands of Fernando Rodney, Boston took the hurtful loss once again.
Clay Buchholz was impressive most of the time, but Gonzalez gave the Sox their only offense and their best chance to win.
After the Sox finally put something together, Aceves gave it all away. It wasn’t the worst pitch; it was just too far off for such a pressure situation.
W: Jake McGee (2-1)
L: Alfredo Aceves (0-2)
S: Fernando Rodney (16)