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Mike Napoli’s Double Gives Red Sox Walk-Off Win, 3-Game Sweep of Rays

Mike Napoli (Facebook/Boston Red Sox)

Mike Napoli came on with one out in the inning after Dustin Pedroia worked a seven-pitch walk to get on first base. Napoli was fighting at the plate before he fouled a ball off the mask of catcher Jose Molina and Molina needed to replace it. The next pitch from reliever Joel Peralta (0-1) was hit high off the Green Monster and Pedroia scored all the way from first to give the Boston Red Sox (8-4) the 3-2 victory in the bottom of the ninth against the Tampa Bay Rays (4-8).

Ryan Dempster made his first start passed five innings in 2013, with seven strong innings, where his only run allowed was a bomb off the bat of Evan Longoria in the fourth inning. He struck out a season-high 10 batters and allowed two hits and two walks on 101 pitches.

Jeremy Hellickson was able to hold the Red Sox in check, besides a Jacoby Ellsbury triple to lead off the game and a Jarrod Saltalamacchia home run in the fifth inning. Hellickson finished with two earned runs on three hits, one walk while striking out nine.

Shane Victorino gave the Red Sox the 1-0 edge after he grounded out to second to score Ellsbury after his triple to leadoff the game.

Longoria hit a pitch that Dempster left high in the zone over the Monster in left to tie the game 1-1.

In the fifth inning, Saltalamacchia led off the inning with a shot into the bullpens in right after retiring 12 Red Sox’ hitters in a row after the Ellsbury triple.

Dempster was able to handle getting the Red Sox into the eighth where the bullpen took control of the victory for the Red Sox. Koji Uehara came in and retired the side in order, including striking out Kelly Johnson to end the inning.

Andrew Bailey (1-0) came in for the save in the ninth and got welcomed with a single through the left side from Desmond Jennings. Jennings then stole second when the throw sailed from Saltalamacchia into center field. Jennings did not see the throw, so he remained at second. Ben Zobrist then lined a ball to left and Jackie Bradley Jr. was able to gather it on a hop. He then threw it to home and Zobrist moved to second.

Bailey was able to regain his composure while striking out Longoria looking and Matt Joyce swinging. Ryan Roberts popped out to end the frame.

This was the first sweep for the Red Sox against the Rays since 2010.

For now, the Red Sox will face the Cleveland Indians and former manager Terry Francona on Tuesday evening for a three-game set, pending possible cancellation due to the Boston Marathon bombings. The Rays will head to Camden Yards to take on the Baltimore Orioles.

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