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After a rough 1st inning, the Sox rebounded nicely and put together an excellent performance in the Trop to defeat the Rays 7-3. Things started off well, with Boston jumping out to a quick lead in the opening frame following two one-out walks. Adrian Gonzalez singled home Daniel Nava, to take the 1-0 lead. David Ortiz was tagged out trying to get to third on the play, which helped limit Boston’s offense in the inning.
In response, Tampa took it to Josh Beckett in their half of the 1st, leading off with three straight singles to score a run. After two quick strikeouts, they drew a hit batter, and another singled plated two more runs for a 3-1 Rays lead before the eight batter of the inning resulted in the third out.
After Boston tied the game on a home run from Mike Aviles in the 2nd, Tampa couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities in the 2nd to retake the lead. The shortstop Elliot Johnson was caught stealing second base for the second out, though it was quite close. He may or may not have gotten his leg in under the tag, but the replay wasn’t conclusive enough either way, if baseball used replays in that situation. Ben Zobrist doubled in the inning, as well, and his play at second was eerily similar to the first, being able to go either way, but with calls being made in that sequence, Tampa was unable to score.
Later on in the 5th inning, the Red Sox were finally able to break the game open. Daniel Nava led off the inning with a home run to right, after which the Red Sox worked their way to loading the bases with one out. At that point, Will Middlebrooks singled sharply to center field, which allowed two more runs to score and Boston to take a 6-3 lead. The Sox tacked on their final run in the 6th on a bases loaded sac fly from Cody Ross.
In the 9th, the Rays made a final push to make things interesting, but fortunately for Boston, nothing came of it. Alfredo Aceves came on in a non-save situation to close out the game, and led off with a walk. After force and strikeouts, Aceves gave out two more walks to load the bases. Then Hideki Matsui, a former Yankee, poetically enough, hit the potential tying run deep to right. It stayed in the field, being left for Ross to make the catch and end the game a bit short of the wall.
Aviles really brought the Sox back into the game with his homer, while Middlebrooks similarly gave the Red Sox some breathing room with his two-run single.
After Boston got their cushion, they had nothing to fear until Aceves caused a lot of nails to be chewed down with his three walks.
W: Josh Beckett (5-7)
James Shields (8-6)