The Red Sox made it two walkoff wins in three days Monday thanks to a ninth-inning wall ball double from Mike Napoli.
Between a blown save and the walkoff, it was quite the roller coaster ninth, but before that could take place it was Ryan Dempster picking up the slack for a lineup that still just wasn't clicking. After going just five innings in his first two outings, Dempster finally pitched into the sixth, and then beyond it into the seventh. Taking full-advantage of his repertoire of off-speed pitches, Dempster had the Rays off balance throughout the game, striking out ten batters in the process.
His day, however, was not completely without blips. In the fourth, Evan Longoria cleaned out an inside fastball and easily cleared the Monster in left to get the Rays on the board. That would tie the game, with the Red Sox having pushed across a run in the first after Jacoby Ellsbury led off the frame with a triple. Jarrod Saltalamacchia would see to putting Boston back up in the fifth, taking Jeremy Hellickson deep to right field to make it 2-1.
That lead seemed like it might be slipping away in the sixth, when Dempster walked Kelly Johnson and Ben Zobrist. He appeared to have caught Evan Longoria looking at strike three on the inside corner, but poor umpiring would once again take center stage, first as Dana DeMuth missed the strike call, and then again when first base umpire Angel Hernandez called Longoria out when he beat out a valiant attempt from Stephen Drew on a ground ball up the middle by half a second. The missed calls cancelled out, but it's still another black mark against the umpiring crews that have been so bad this year.
The Red Sox would end up taking a 2-1 lead into the ninth, giving Andrew Bailey his first chance to close for the 2013 team. Unfortunately, his reintroduction to the role did not go smoothly. A pair of line drives from Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist to left quickly tied the game, leaving Bailey with one blown save in one opportunity, and while he managed to rein it in from there, striking out Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce to keep Zobrist from scoring.
The good news was that the Red Sox lineup was ready to score again. It would not, however, come without yet more controversy courtesy of the umpires. This time it was Dustin Pedroia getting the benefit of a call from Dana DeMuth, walking on a 3-2 pitch that seemed to catch the top of the strike zone. DeMuth saw it differently, and gave him first. Five pitches later it was Mike Napoli catching ahold of a splitter that stayed up in the zone, launching it off the Monster and letting Pedroia come all the way home to score the winning run, giving the Red Sox their first sweep of the season and pushing them to 8-4.
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