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The Boston Red Sox had been struggling mightily over the last few games with runners in scoring position, but on Wednesday night the team broke the trend in a big way against the Tampa Bay Rays, as they snapped a three-game losing streak with a 9-2 win.
In the third inning, Boston broke through against David Price, as Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz delivered RBI hits to stake the Sox to an early 2-0 lead. Price was quickly removed, as he suffered from triceps tightness and couldn’t continue for Tampa Bay.
The Rays bullpen was unprepared to take over in the third inning–which was very apparent as none of the team’s relievers had even trekked to the nearby bullpen when Price was removed from the game. In came Jamey Wright, who allowed RBI hits by Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes, before Stephen Drew broke the game wide open with a grand slam lifted to the seats in right.
The eight-run inning gave Jon Lester over 40 minutes of rest, and the southpaw appeared rusty in the bottom half of the inning. Lester allowed a single and triple before getting the next three batters, and holding the Rays to the only two runs he would surrender on the night. Lester pitched 7.0 innings, allowing eight hits, two earned runs, while striking out five without allowing a walk. He threw 74 of his 107 pitches for strikes, keeping the Rays hitters at bay.
The Sox bullpen held on to close out the victory and Will Middlebrooks went deep for the team’s ninth run. Boston and Tampa Bay will play the rubber game of the three-game series as Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.40 ERA) returns to the rotation, where he’ll square off with Alex Cobb (4-2, 3.09 ERA).