The Rays celebrate their 9-8 win over the Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALCS.

B.J. Upton’s sacrifice fly scored pinch-runner Fernando Perez in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Tampa Bay Rays a 9-8 walk-off win over the Boston Red Sox in front of 34,904 fans at Tropicana Field. The win for the Rays evens the best-of-7 ALCS at 1-1.

Mike Timlin started the bottom of the 11th for the Red Sox and walked Dioner Navarro. Perez came into pinch-run for Navarro and then Timlin walked Ben Zobrist. He did get Jason Bartlett to ground out to third but both runners were on the move on the pitch and moved up 90 feet each. He then intentionally walked Akinori Iwamura to load up the bases for B.J. Upton. Timlin got ahead of Upton 0-2 and after a foul ball, Upton hit one to right field that was caught by J.D. Drew but his throw was offline as the speedy Perez scored to send the Rays and their fans home happy.

It was another rough October outing for Josh Beckett.

It was another rough October outing for Josh Beckett.

Josh Beckett was once again awful on the mound for the Red Sox. He lasted 4 1/3 innings, his shortest postseason start ever, allowing 8 runs on 9 hits and a walk while fanning 5. He just clearly didn’t have anything to offer the Red Sox during the game.

Javier Lopez gave up a hit to the only batter he faced. Manny Delcarmen worked 1 2/3 innings allowing a hit while striking out 1. Hideki Okajima struck out 1 in two perfect innings of work while Justin Masterson allowed a hit and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. Jonathan Papelbon worked 1 1/3 innings with a strikeout. Timlin worked 2/3 of an inning, walking 3 and allowing the winning run.

Jason Bay had a big night for the Red Sox as he was 3-for-5 with a home run and 4 RBI. Dustin Pedroia added 3 hits, including 2 solo home runs while Kevin Youkilis had 3 hits with a solo home run as well. Coco Crisp was the only other player with a hit for the Red Sox and he had 3 hits as well. Jed Lowrie and David Ortiz did reach base 3 times each via the walk.

Rays starter Scott Kazmir wasn’t at his best either as the Red Sox touched him up for 2 runs in the top of the 1st.

Kazmir started the inning by getting the first two outs before he issued a walk to Big Papi. Youk moved him over to second with a single and both of them came around to score on Bay’s double to deep left to put the Red Sox up 2-0. Kazmir then walked Jed Lowrie but he struck out Jason Varitek to end the inning.

Similar troubles for Beckett in the bottom half as he got the first two outs before Carlos Peña smoked a double. Longoria then brought him home as he crushed a Beckett pitch into the stands to tie the game up at 2. The inning would end as Carl Crawford grounded out to shortstop.

Kazmir sent down the Red Sox in order in the 2nd and Beckett worked around a 1-out single by Navarro to keep the score tied at 2.

Pedroia put the Red Sox up 3-2 with the first of his two home runs to leadoff the 3rd. Kazmir then walked Big Papi again but this time he got three straight fly ball outs off the bats of Youk, Bay and Lowrie.

The lead was short-lived though as B.J. Upton crushed one into another zip code with 1-out to tie the game back up at 3.  After Peña fouled out, Longoria stroked a double and then Crawford brought him home with a single to give the Rays a 4-3 lead. The inning would end when Beckett picked Crawford off of first base.

Kazmir was able to work around a 2-out double by Coco to keep the Rays out in front in the top of the 4th.

The lead became 5-3 Rays when Cliff Floyd led off the bottom half of the 4th with a solo shot to center field. Beckett recovered though to get the final 3 outs of the inning.

Neither starting pitcher in the game would escape the 5th inning though. First to go was Kazmir.

Jason Bay's solo home run put the Red Sox back out front 6-5.

Jason Bay's solo home run put the Red Sox back out front 6-5.

Pedroia got things started with his second home run of the night to cut the lead to 5-4. After a fly out by Big Papi, Youk tied the game up at 5 with a solo shot of his own to chase Kazmir from the game. Grant Balfour came into the game and was greeted by Bay who crushed a home run to put the Red Sox back out front 6-5.  The home run seemed to unnerve Balfour as he gave up back-to-back walks to Lowrie and Varitek and he then gave way to J.P. Howell. He came in and got Kotsay to fly out and struck out Coco to end the inning.

Beckett’s 5th inning started with a strikeout of Iwamura. He then issued a walk to Upton and with Peña at the plate, Upton stole second. This proved huge as Peña was able to beat the shift and Upton easily scored from second to tie the game once again, this time at 6-6. Longoria came through again as he crushed a double scoring Peña and giving the Rays the lead at 7-6. Longoria ended up advancing to third on the throw. That was the night for Beckett as Lopez came in and immediately gave up an RBI single to Crawford that pushed the lead to 8-6. Delcarmen came in and got the final two outs of the inning.

Pedroia worked a 1-out walk in the 6th and after a Big Papi strikeout, Chad Bradford came in for Howell and gave up a single to Youk. Bay knocked in his fourth run of the night with a single as Pedroia scored from second base to cut the lead to 8-7 as Youk went to third on the throw. That would be all the Red Sox could get though as Lowrie flew out to center to end the inning.

Delcarmen was back on in the 6th and he worked around a 1-out infield single by Bartlett as Upton took a called strike three for the third out of the inning.

Bradford was able to get the first two outs of the 7th before giving up an infield single to Coco. He got out of the inning as he got Ellsbury to ground back to him.

Okajima took over for Delcarmen in the bottom of the 7th and sent the Rays down 1-2-3 with the Red Sox coming to bat trailing 8-7.

Dustin Pedroia reacts after scoring on Dan Wheeler's wild pitch.

Dustin Pedroia reacts after scoring on Dan Wheeler's wild pitch.

Pedroia led off the top of the 8th with a single to chase Bradford from the game. Trevor Miller came in and walked Big Papi and then was replaced by Dan Wheeler. He came in and immediately got two outs as he got Youk to ground into a double play with Pedroia moving over to third. With Bay at the plate, Wheeler uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Pedroia to score and tie the game up at 8. He eventually walked Bay but got Lowrie to line out for the third out.

Okajima was once again perfect in the 8th sending it to the 9th tied up at 8.

Wheeler got the first two outs of the 9th before Coco hit a ground rule double to center. Wheeler escaped though as he struck out Ellsbury for the third out.

Masterson came in for Okajima in the bottom of the 9th and got Bartlett to ground out. He then gave up an infield single to Iwamura but followed that with a strikeout of Upton. Terry Francona then called for Papelbon and he came in and struck out Peña to send this game into extra innings.

Wheeler came back out for his third inning of work and he retired the Red Sox hitters in the inning, Pedroia, Big Papi and Youk.

Papelbon sent the Rays down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th including an out that deflected off his shoulder off the bat of Crawford. Had it not hit his body, it probably would have gone for a single.

Wheeler started the top half of the 11th with a strikeout of Bay and then he walked Lowrie. David Price came in for Wheeler and walked Drew. He recovered though as he struck out Kotsay and got Coco to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Despite the loss, it was still a productive series for the Red Sox as they head back to Fenway Park with the series tied at 1 and their ace of 2008 on the mound in Jon Lester on Monday afternoon.

Notes and musings:

Red Sox @ Rays ALCS Game 2 Boxscore

Basketball Hall of Famer and ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale threw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch.

Friday’s win was Boston’s 6th straight away from home in the postseason since losing at Cleveland in Game 4 of the 2007 ALCS. This is the longest post-season road winning streak in team history.

Boston is now 4-5 in ALCS openers and 16-12 overall in the 1st Game of a playoff series, 9-7 on the road. Boston has won its last 5 playoff series openers since a loss in Chicago in the 2005 ALDS, the longest streak in club history. In ALCS Game 1 on the road, Boston is 2-2.

Jonathan Papelbon has pitched 6.0 scoreless innings with 2 saves and win in 4 games of this post-season. He has extended his career post-season scoreless string to 20.2 innings in 13 games, the most career playoff innings in history without allowing a run. His 6 career playoff saves are the most in Red Sox history.

Friday marked the 10th time that the Red Sox have pitched a shutout in post-season play, the 1st ever in 45 ALCS contests. The last was Josh Beckett’s complete game SHO in Game 1 of the 2007 ALDS versus Los Angeles at Fenway Park.

Kevin Youkilis has now hit safely in all 9 LCS Games he has played in.

The 7 home runs by both teams was an ALCS record and tied the postseason record.