Rays - 010 000 000 000 03 - 4 12 2Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, and Javier Lopez held the line against the Rays for 7.1 innings (a combined 7.1-3-0-4-6 line), but the Boston bats could not push a single run across the plate to either take the lead or win the game. And so, finally, in the 14th inning, Mike Timlin trotted in from the pen.
Red Sox - 001 000 000 000 01 - 2 8 0
He came into the 1-1 game with no one on and one out. He got the second out on his first pitch, a ground ball to third. Then Akinori Iwamura smacked a 3-0 pitch into center for a hit. Timlin got a swinging strike on Rocco Baldelli, but surrendered a line drive single to left. Still, all Timlin needed was one out.
Carlos Pena looked at a ball, then lofted a pitch high and deep to the opposite field. Jason Bay tracked it to his right in left field, but could only watch as the ball disappeared into the Monster Seats. The three-run dong gave Tampa a 4-1 lead. ... After a walk, Old Yeller got the final out.
Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-6 to that point) began the bottom half of the 14th with a double to right-center off Troy Percival. Dustin Pedroia walked on five pitches (FY reached base six times tonight) and David Ortiz walked on four. With the potential winning run at the plate, Joe Maddon yanked Percival and went with Jason Hammel.
Youkils worked a full count before hitting a routine fly ball to right. Lyndon scored and FY took third. Bay looked overmatched, eventually striking out by lunging at an outside pitch he could not have reached with an oar. That left the Sox's fate in the hands of Alex Cora -- who hacked on 2-0 and flew harmlessly to center.
Lost among the late-inning action was the positively horrific umpiring, especially Dan Iassogna behind the plate. His strike zone to left-handed hitters -- especially Red Sox left-handed hitters -- grew an extra foot outside. And Ron Kulpa blew an easy call at first base in the bottom of the ninth, when Ellsbury beat out a grounder to third. It would have given Pedroia a chance to bat with the bases loaded, but Kulpa's incorrect call (replays showed he clearly blew it) ended the inning.
Boston fell back to 2.5 GB in the East -- with 17 games remaining. The Twins beat the Royals 7-1 to move 5 GB in the wild card. The Angels clinched the AL West with a 4-2> win over the Yankees and the White Sox edged the Blue Jays 6-5.
Andy Sonnanstine (4.66, 93 ERA+) / Josh Beckett (4.20, 108 ERA+)
Sonnanstine has not faced the Red Sox this season.
The BR preview says Beckett has never faced the Rays, but that's not true. He has made eight starts against them: three in 2006 (May 25, July 3, and September 27), two in 2007 (July 5 and September 21) and three times this year (April 27, May 3, and June 4).
Yankees/Angels at 3:30
Blue Jays/White Sox at 8
Royals/Twins at 8
Rays 86 57 --- Magic #
Red Sox 85 59 1.5 18
Blue Jays 78 66 8.5 11
Yankees 77 68 10.0 9
Orioles 64 79 22.0 E
Red Sox 85 59 --- Magic #
Twins 79 65 6.0 13
Blue Jays 78 66 7.0 12
Yankees 77 68 8.5 10