Another night, another walkoff win for the Red Sox, who defeated the Rays 3-2 in extra innings to reach the halfway point on their journey to erase thier ten-game losing streak.
It did not take long for this game to get heated. The bad blood between these two teams has been simmering since the benches cleared on Sunday, and it started boiling over in a hurry. The Rays put up the first run of the game in the top of the first, David DeJesus making his way to third with a leadoff double and an error from Grady Sizemore before scoring on a Ben Zobrist groundout. Perhaps it was because of that lead that David Price felt comfortable plunking David Ortiz square in the back with two outs in the first.
While the benches didn't empty yet, John Farrell did find himself quickly removed from the game after protesting the warnings handed out to both sides.
Having struck first in both the game itself and the...larger affair...the Rays would quickly go on to strike second as well. In the bottom of the fourth, David Price hit his second Red Sox batter of the night in Mike Carp. This time the benches did clear, but despite warnings having been handed out earlier, Price was allowed to stay in the game while Sox third base coach Torey Lovullo got the boot. Then, in the very next inning, Brandon Workman was once again hurt by a leadoff double, this time off the bat of Yunel Escobar. A David DeJesus single was enough to make it a 2-0 Tampa Bay lead.
This time, the Red Sox would answer quickly. A quick two-out rally would see Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz cut Tampa's lead in half with three straight singles. Then, in the top of the sixth, Brandon Workman responded to Tampa's provocations by throwing behind Evan Longoria. Workman claimed a slippery ball in the rain, but where Price had gone unpunished for a pair of actual plunkings, Workman was ejected without hesitation. The warning system is, as ever, completely fair and not at all one-sided in favor of the initial aggressors. Don't worry about it.
If the Rays were winning the extracurricular bout, however, the Red Sox were busy erasing their advantage in the actual game. The rookies got the job done in the bottom of the seventh, with Jackie Bradley Jr. leading off the inning with a single and scoring the tying run when Xander Bogaerts planted a double high off the Monster, not missing a home run by too much. With neither bullpen giving ground in the eighth or ninth, the Red Sox found themselves in extra innings once more.
There, after Edward Mujica and Andrew Miller worked around a leadoff walk, the Rays committed their third hit by pitch of the night, this time of Jonny Gomes who played a major role in Sunday's fracas. Given the situation, it's hard to imagine the Rays were hunting for that particular scalp, and given what followed, you can bet they'd take that pitch back now. With a 1-2 count on A.J. Pierzynski, Juan Carlos Oviedo threw a changeup low and out of the zone. Pierzynski golfed at it, but still managed to put a solid charge on the ball.
The result was not a routine fly ball, but it's hard to say that the Rays did not somehow channel the Braves in the way they handled it. Will Myers and Desmond Jennings both closed in, and while Wil Myers managed to put his glove on the ball,he didn't keep it there. Perhaps he was distracted by the sliding Jennings, who managed to take himself out of the play and Myers off his feet. Whatever the case, the ball clanged off of Myers' glove, then bounced into the triangle as both men hit the dirt. Jonny Gomes took full advantage, coming all the way from first with ease to earn the Red Sox their fifth straight win.
It's not all sunshine in Fenway Park--Dustin Pedroia left the game before the tenth with a hand injury apparently sustained in the early innings. While initial scans are positive, it'll be a tense day as the Sox wait for further news. Still, after ten straight losses the Red Sox have actually managed to claw their way halfway back. And if Rubby De La Rosa can get the job done Saturday, they'll actually get to hand this winning streak back to Lester and Lackey. Things are certainly looking up for Boston.