David Price was once again nearly perfect. Manager John Farrell got tossed. Boston squandered two prime scoring opportunities late in the game. And Fernando Rodney was tossing 98 mile per hour fastballs in the end. Just another day in the topsy-turvy battle for first place in the American League East.
Tampa Bay edged Boston 2-1 Monday night in a make-up game complete with enough drama to rival a high school love triangle, including a 39-minute rain delay that will have David Price and Tampa manager Joe Madden needing a Mideast Peace accord to speak again.
Price beat Boston for the second time in the span of five games, matching an 82-year old record, and Tampa moved back into first place by half-a-game in a testy encounter on a number of fronts.
Price checked Boston on one run and four hits to take a 2-1 lead at the end of seven innings, giving up the lone Red Sox run on Brandon Snyder’s Pesky Pole homer. When play resumed 39-minutes later, Price fell behind Jonny Gomes before coming back to strike him out, then was inexplicably lifted by manager Joe Madden for reliever Joel Peralta. Price spent the remainder of the taunt game burying his face in a towel and muttering to himself in the Rays’ dugout, wondering why he was sent back out to face just one batter after the rain delay.
Peralta promptly surrendered a double to Ryan Lavarnway who was lifted for pinch runner Daniel Nava. Stephen Drew followed with a high fly over the head of Tampa right fielder Wil Myers that hung so long in the air, Nava hung up between second and third and only advanced to third ahead of Myers’ getting the ball back into the infield. Boston’s Brandon Snyder followed with a fly to medium left field, fielded by Sam Fuld who fired a one-hop strike to Jose Molina behind the plate to nail Nava trying to score. Repeated TV replays clearly showed Nava beat the tag, which prompted Bosox manager Farrell to go postal and get tossed.
The drama wasn’t over however. After Boston closer Koji Uehara retired the Rays in order in the top of the ninth, Boston threatened again. Jacoby Ellsbury began the ninth by touching Ray’s flame-throwing reliever Fernando Rodney for a bloop single to left. After two failed bunt attempts, Shane Victorino hit a soft line-out to second base that forced Ellsbury back to first without an opportunity to advance. Ellsbury managed to steal his 39th base in 42 attempts to get into scoring position, but could not advance when Dustin Pedroia grounded out to short. The Rays intentionally walked David Ortiz and the move paid off. Rodney permitted Ellsbury to advance to third and pinch runner Jose Iglesias to second in a wild pitch, then worked the count full to Mike Napoli before getting Napoli to strike out on a change up to preserve Tampa’s win.
Price picked up the victory to improve to 6-5 on the season while Boston starter Felix Doubront, who dodged trouble all night long but left after five innings and 102 pitches trailing just 2-0, took the loss to drop to 7-5 on the season. In defeating Boston for the second time in five days at Fenway Park, Price became the first pitcher to do so since Rip Collins of the St. Louis Browns accomplished the task back in 1931.
Tampa moved back in front of Boston by half-a-game and completed a hot road streak of 8-2, and tallied the Rays’ 22nd win in the last 26 games. The Rays improved to 6-10 in series play against the Red Sox while Boston’s home record dipped to 34-20 and 28-20 versus head-to-head play against American League East rivals.
Prior to the eighth inning rain fall, Price had been nearly untouchable. He cruised through seven innings on 70-odd pitches, giving up just a second inning double to David Ortiz and a Pesky Pole 302-foot home run to Brandon Snyder that just nicked the infamous right field namesake, giving Tampa a 2-1 advantage. At one point Price retired 13 straight Boston batters while striking out seven and walking none.
RIP “Boomer.” Red Sox Nation sends its condolences to the family of former Red Sox slugger George “Boomer” Scott. Scott died today at the age of 69. A hulking 6-2 spread out over 250 pounds, Scott played 14 major league seasons, some of the best with the Red Sox. He was part of Boston’s 1967 A.L. Pennant winning team and played with power at the plate and precision in the field, winning a total of 8 Gold Gloves at first base. His monster-sized first baseman’s glove was affectionately nicknamed “Black Beauty.” Scott was traded from Boston to the Brewers in 1972 and in 1975 led the American League in homers with 36. He was a fan favorite during his years with the Red Sox.
The Rays and Red Sox each have 19 games left on their respective schedules against A.L. East rivals. On paper the advantage would seem to favor Boston who entered Monday night’s make-up game with a 28-19 record against A.L. East competition while the Rays came in at just one game better than .500 against the A.L. East at 27-26. The Bosox and the Rays face each other just three more times before the close of regular season play on September 29.
Boston remains at home Tuesday to begin a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
- MLB: Tampa Bay 2, Boston 1 (upi.com)
- Ortiz phones home (run); Lester blanks Birds 5-0 (baseballtrashtalkin.org)