In a game that was a polar opposite of last night’s pitcher’s duel, the Red Sox battled back from deficits of 8-1 and 9-5 to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 16-10 on a dreary night at the Fens. Besides the 26 runs scored, the game featured 38 hits, 20 by the Red Sox and 18 by the D’Rays.
The only hitter on the Red Sox who didn’t have two hits was Kevin Cash while Mike Lowell added 4 hits. The only player who started the game for the Devil Rays without a hit was Carl Crawford. Pinch-hitter Greg Norton also didn’t record a hit. Neither starter lasted that long as Sox starter Tim Wakefield exited after 3+ innings and D’Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine went 3 1/3 innings. The two teams used 13 pitchers in all, 7 by the Sox.
The Devil Rays got the scoring going in the 2nd. After Wake got Delmon Young to strikeout, Brendan Harris planted a hanging knuckler into the Green Monstah seats for a 1-0 lead. Jonny Gomes followed that up with a single and he stole second base Dioner Navarro at the plate. Navarro brought in Gomes with a single for a 2-0 lead. Josh Wilson then doubled moving Navarro to third. Akinori Iwamura brought in the third run of the inning with a single scoring Navarro and moving Wilson to third. Crawford then hit a grounder that forced Iwamura at second as Crawford’s speed didn’t allow the Sox to turn the double play. Wilson scored on the fielder’s choice to make it 4-0 D’Rays. Wakefield finished off the inning by getting Carlos PeÃ±a on a comebacker to the mound.
The birthday boy Jacoby Ellsbury got the Sox on the board with a home run in the 3rd inning after Sonnanstine got a strikeout of Cash. Dustin Pedroia followed the homer with a single but was retired when David Ortiz grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Wakefield lasted just three batters in the 4th inning as the D’Rays broke the game open. Navarro led off with double and went to third on a Wilson single. Iwamura chased Wakefield with a double scoring Navarro making it 5-1. Kyle Synder came in and retired Crawford but then he gave up a three-run blast to PeÃ±a putting the D’Rays up comfortably 8-1 or so they thought. Synder settled down after the homer getting B.J. Upton and Young to strikeout.
The local nine battled their way back into this potential laugher in their half of the 4th. Lowell led off with a single and went to second on a J.D. Drew single. Sonnanstine retired Kevin Youkilis on a fly out for the first out of the inning. Crisp then singled to load up the sacks full of Sox for Julio Lugo. Lugo brought in Lowell with the Sox second run and left the bags full for Cash. Cash, who was 2 for 21 since being called up, delivered the knockout blow to Sonnanstine with a 2-run single, cutting the lead to 8-4 D’Rays. Scott Dohmann came in and walked Ellsbury. Pedroia delivered a sacrifice fly as Lugo beat the throw home and knocked over Navarro. The error allowed Crisp and Lugo to move up a base. It was all for naught though as Big Papi flew out on the first pitch to end the inning.
Synder started the 5th inning by getting the first two batters out he faced. He then had some control issues as he walked Navarro and Wilson. Terry Francona went to the bullpen for the lefty Javier Lopez to face Iwamura. Lopez gave up a single to him as Navarro scored putting the D’Rays up by four at 9-5. Lopez ended the 5th with a strikeout of Crawford.
Lowell led off the home half of the 5th with a single and went to second on another Drew single. Youk worked a walk off of Dohmann to load up the bases for Coco. Crisp brought in Lowell with a sacrifice fly and then Lugo doubled in Drew for another run with Youk moving to third. The Sox got to within a run as Cash hit the second sac fly of the inning easily scoring Youk. The three runs cut the lead to 9-8. Jon Switzer came in for Dohmann and retired Ellsbury on a ground out.
The Sox put the game away in the 6th inning off of Switzer, Grant Balfour and Juan Salas. Pedroia tied the game up with a lead-off homer into the Monstah seats. Big Papi chased Switzer from the game with a single. Balfour came in and allowed a single to Lowell. Drew battled with Balfour and worked a walk to load up the bases for Youk. With the crowd chanting “Youkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk”, he delivered and in a big way. He hit a triple that cleared the bases putting the Sox up 12-9. He wasn’t on third too long as Crisp hit a double into the right field corner for a 13-9 lead. Salas came in and finally got the first two outs of the inning by way of Lugo and Cash. The birthday boy came through again as his single plated Crisp giving the Sox a 14-9 lead. Pedroia batting for the second time in the 6th, popped out to first to end the 6-run inning.
The scoring for the Sox wasn’t over yet though. Big Papi, who had the night off last night, hit a solo blast into the Red Sox bullpen giving him 29 home runs and 99 RBIs on the season. Salas then got Lowell to fly out, the only time Lowell didn’t reach base in the game. Drew got into the act as well as he put a Salas offering into the center field seats for a 16-9 Sox lead. Youk followed that up with a double but Salas ended the inning with ground outs by Crisp and Lugo.
Eric GagnÃ© came into mop up in the 9th for his first appearance since August 26th. He gave up two singles in the inning as the second one brought in a run for the Devils making it 16-10. GagnÃ© ended this hitter’s duel with a strike out of Iwamura.
An ugly win for the Red Sox but a much needed win nonetheless. The win plus the Yankees win tonight keeps the lead at 5 in the AL East and keeps their lead for best overall record in the AL at 2 games. Jon Lester hopes to continue his hot streak on the mound as he gets the ball at 7:05 PM tomorrow night.
Notes and musings:
Today is Jacoby Ellsbury’s 24th birthday. Obviously, it’s not the best of days to have a birthday as my mom will attest. But nonetheless, we persevere and move forward stronger then ever. Ellsbury now has 11-game hitting streak and has a hit in every game since being recalled from Pawtucket.
Tim Wakefield came into the game with a 19-2 career record against the Devil Rays and 3 saves.
Manny Ramirez resumed baseball activities yesterday by taking some swings off a tee. There is still no timetable on his return. He has missed 14 straight games so far.
Doug Mirabelli hopes to be ready to catch Tim Wakefield’s next start, which should come next Monday in Toronto.
With the rain, Dice-K had his side session pushed back to tomorrow. Matt Clement also had his session pushed back a day as well. He will face live hitters again on Sunday
The game got underway at 7:17 PM due to the rain in the area. It was raining pretty bad up there all day.
The Red Sox will have a week to decide whether or not they will open up next year in Japan. They will also play 5 of the 6 NL Central teams in interleague play. The Chicago Cubs are the only team they will not play.
The 16 runs was the most scored by the Sox in a game this season.