Monday, October 13, 2008
ALCS Game 4: Rays 9, Red Sox 1
Evan Longoria blasts a 2-2 mistake pitch over the heart of the plate into the Green Monster seats to make it 5-0 Rays. Lester's losing it this inning, and the Red Sox bullpen gets into action.
Lester gets out of the inning by striking out Carl Crawford and getting Willie Aybar to fly out. It's a deflating inning for Boston.
Bottom 6th: The Red Sox have had a man on in each of the last three innings, but none of them have made it even as far as second. Matt Garza is probably done, as he's thrown 107 pitches.
Paul Byrd entered the game in relief to make the last out of the top of the sixth, so Lester is done for the day and on the hook for a loss with three frames left to go.
Bottom 7th: Garza gives up a single to Alex Cora after walking Jason Varitek, leaving the game with men on the corners with nobody out; it was almost a run when Rocco Baldelli's throw went offline to short, but the Sox failed to capitalize. J.P. Howell enters the game to face Boston's 1-2-3 batters.
Ellsbury hits a sac fly to right to make it 5-1 Rays as Cora does not advance on the out. That works out well for the Rays, who get Dustin Pedroia to bounce into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Top 8th: Byrd gives up a pair of singles to Crawford and Aybar to lead off the frame; Crawford tries to muscle his way to the plate through Varitek on Navarro's infield bouncer, but Varitek holds on for the out. That brings up Rocco Baldelli, who crushes one to make it 8-1 Rays. It's in blowout territory now, and even though Byrd finally makes the inning's final out, it's looking like a near-certain win for Tampa Bay.
Top 9th: After another harmless bottom of the eighth, Terry Francona decides to leave Byrd in the game to save his bullpen. Byrd then coughs up a solo homer to Carlos Pena, but retires the other three men he faces. It's 9-1 Rays, and the Fenway crowd starts to head for the exits.
Bottom 9th: Edwin Jackson, who didn't make the ALDS roster, comes in to finish the game facing the 7-8-9 batters. He gets Mark Kotsay to line out hard to third, in to Evan Longoria's glove but not the webbing, prompting an "ouch" moment. Varitek bounces out easily to second for the second out of the inning, and then it's Alex Cora's turn. Cora flies out to Crawford in left at the warning track to end it, and the game goes final; the Rays take an early 2-1 lead in the series.