ST. PETERSBURG - SEPTEMBER 17: Infielder Jose Iglesias #58 of the Boston Red Sox congratulates Jacoby Ellsbury #2 after his home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Sometimes when a no-hitter goes wrong, it seems to go very wrong. Such was the case tonight, as the Red Sox made it three wins in four games and helped to knock the Rays further down in the wild card standings with a 5-2 win
The change came from the best possible source: Jacoby Ellsbury. With one man on--Jose Iglesias, courtesy of a HBP--Ellsbury gave the Red Sox their first hit and their first runs in one fell swoop, knocking a fastball over the plate into the stands in right for a two-run shot.
No matter how you feel about Ellsbury or any other player on this offense, it's hard to think of anyone whose performance's going forward over these last couple of weeks are more important then Jacoby Ellsbury's. Nobody has heights so high or lows so low, and each homer makes both the Sox and potential trade partners more and more convinced that there is some semblance of the 2011 Ellsbury still inside.
Of course, that Ellsbury had shown that flash makes it all the stranger that Joe Maddon chose to walk Pedro Ciriaco to load the bases and get to Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh. Ellsbury singled to give the Sox their fifth and final run of the game. It's what that sort of move deserves.
While Ellsbury was the big story on that side of the ball, it's hard to say whether Aaron Cook's pitching or the Rays lineup deserves more credit for how few runs went against Boston. Cook finished with six innings of one-run ball, but that sinker was up a bit too often for comfort.
In the end, though, it hardly matters. Tonight the Red Sox looked less the disaster than the Rays did, complete with a dugout fight between Alex Cobb and Jose Molina. Any time the Sox can take the field and make someone else look the fools, especially a rival like the Rays, it's a good day.