Rays hang on, win 3-2 nail-biter against Boston

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Sure enough, those stinkin’ Red Sox came back to tie it in the top of the fourth inning, taking advantage of the Rays’ defensive mistakes. With two outs, J.D. Drew grounded to Rays all-star 3B Evan Longoria, whose throwing error to first allowed Drew to move into second base. Daniel Nava’s single would score Drew and bring the score tied as Sean Rodriguez’s errant throw toward home eliminated a play at the plate.


The Rays went ahead again in the home half of the fifth inning. Rodriguez hit a leadoff triple and scored on Jaso’s ground ball to give the Rays another one-run lead. They threatened to rip the game wide open but failed to get anything done with one out and the bases load in the sixth. Longoria was picked off with a sizable lead at third base. Carlos Pena walked to reload the bases but Rodriguez flied out to right field to squash the threat and keep the Bay Area on edge with such a close score against a demonstrably talented if banged-up Boston club.[image-1]


An offensive stalemate ensued until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Crawford showed that not only can he fly on the base paths and make unbelievable catches, he can put a ball into fuckin’ orbit. This long shot off Boston reliever Hideki Okajima proved to be the winning run in a close game that had just enough fireworks to get T-Bay another notch in the W column. The Bahstahn Rehd Sahx threatened in the top of the ninth and scored a run as Bill Hall came home on Eric Patterson’s triple after walking and stealing second base. The Rays walked Boston monster David Ortiz intentionally for the third time of the evening and got Niuman Romero – in for the injured Kevin Youkilis, who left the game in the fourth inning with pain in his right ankle – to ground out and bring the game to a close.


I hate games like this one. Even against a scrub team a one-run lead is never safe, much less against Boston; while I may despise their obnoxious fans, I respect the organization and the immense level of talent on their roster. Games this close would drive me to drink, if I wasn’t already drinking as I watched the game. Why this club won’t blow a team out in the second inning I don’t know, but it would be a great development for my personal stress level.


[image-2]Tomorrow


Rays all-star David Price gets the start against knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield. This wild righty comes in with an unimpressive 3-6 record and while we’ve rocked his shit before, he’s repaid the favor. I’m calling for a sweep, and looking for Price to go 7-deep. As long as the offense does its job, this should be the end of a great series against our hated division rivals followed by what I hope will be a cakewalk against the second-worst team in the American League, the Cleveland Indians. Did I mention this team is back? Oh yeah, I did, a few days ago. Tell me I’m wrong.

The Tampa Bay Rays did just enough to pull out a win Tuesday night at Tropicana field against the Boston Red Sox. Tampa Bay scored three runs on seven hits, with the game-winning tally coming on Carl Crawford’s monster home run shot to lead off the eighth inning. In a game that was very much an offensive stalemate, Rays starter Jeff Niemann came out on top of Red Sox call-up Felix Doubront as the Rays won 3-2 and climbed to a game and a half above Boston in the American League East race; as of this writing, Tampa Bay sat a game and a half back of the first-place New York Yankees. Niemann picked up his seventh win and closer Rafael Soriano got his 23rd save on 24 opportunities.

So yesterday when I said Niemann would be facing a Triple-A scrub Tuesday night, I failed to realize that a Triple-A scrub in the Boston system meant he is an ace in the making. Okay, maybe not that great, but Doubront was impressive as he pitched against the Rays for five and two-thirds innings; Tampa Bay seemed to figure out his timing after going through the rotation. Once Doubront showed the Rays what he had, it was just a matter of time before they jumped on one. In the bottom of the third inning, C John Jaso singled and moved into second base on a wild pitch. He then scored on Jason Bartlett’s base hit to establish a fragile 1-0 lead that everyone who’s seen this Boston team knew would not hold up.

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