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The Boston Red Sox were down to their last strike against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night, trailing 3-1 with Will Middlebrooks at the plate in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded against Rodney. The third baseman delivered for Boston, drilling a bases-clearing double into the left-center gap, giving the Red Sox the eventual 4-3 win.
Felix Doubront started for Boston, pitching 5.0 innings while allowing two runs on three hits. His control was a significant issue in his return to the rotation, as Doubront walked six batters despite striking out seven. He allowed a solo home run to Ryan Roberts in the second inning, and his second run came after he walked James Loney in the sixth and was relieved by Clayton Mortensen, who allowed the inherited run to score.
Tampa Bay added a third run and the woeful Red Sox offense was tasked with a two-run deficit against a pitcher who had closed them out on Tuesday night while striking out the side. This time though, the Sox patience at the plate paid off, as Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Daniel Nava each walked to load the bases for Middlebrooks, who came through to lead the team to the improbable victory.
The game was closed out by Junichi Tazawa, who pitched the final two innings to earn the victory. The Red Sox improved to 24-17 with the victory, putting them alone in second place in the American League East, just 1.0 game behind the first place New York Yankees. Tomorrow night the Red Sox travel to Minnesota to begin a three-game series with the Twins, who recently took three of four from Boston at Fenway Park.