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Rays Top Sox in Thriller at Fenway

rays-vs.-red-soxIt’s only late July, but Monday’s games between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox sure felt like October. In a game not for the faint of heart if you are a fan of either of these two teams, the Rays took first place back from Boston when Mike Napoli struck out on a 3-2 pitch from Fernando Rodney with the tying run at third and the winning run at second. Tampa Bay now leads the Red Sox by a half game in the American League East at 63-43. Boston fell to 63-44.

The game should not have been so close if you are a Rays fan, but also should have been at least tied if you are a Sox fan. They Rays had runners on all night but failed to get them home most of the time. They also had some rotten luck when the Sox number nine hitter, Brandon Snyder hit a pop fly down the right field line that hit the Pesky Pole. David Price was nearly un-hittable other than that. Price still looked as if the 2-1 lead would be no problem as he was mowing down the other Red Sox hitters. But in the bottom of the eighth, a rain delay put an end to Price’s night.

After the game resumed, price struck out Jonny Gomes and then was lifted.   Joel Peralta came in,  gave up two doubles, and yet the Sox failed to tie the game. Daniel Nava came in to pinch run after Ryan Lavarnway doubled with one out. Nava then failed to score on a double by Stephen Drew. Nava was then cut down at the plate trying to tag up on a Snyder fly ball to medium left center field.

Then in the ninth after Jacoby Ellsbury singled, Shane Victorino failed to sacrifice him to second. He then popped out to second base for the first out. Ellsbury then stole second. Dustin Pedroia then grounded to shortstop for the second out. With first base open, the Rays elected to walk David Ortiz. Mike Napoli then came up to bat with the winning runs on base. Rodney nearly wild pitched them both into scoring position on a 1-0 pitch. After two straight 98 MPH fastballs were swung on an missed, Rodney did wild pitch them both up 90 feet to run the count full. After the next pitch was fouled off, the second 3-2 pitch was swung on and missed to end the game. If this is a preview of things to come, the pennant race should be something.

This begs the question though, why the Rays will not be going back to Boston in the regular season with two months remaining? Boston does have a three game series in St. Petersburg in mid-September. That will be must see baseball.

Tampa Bay ends their ten game road trip through the Eastern Division foes, the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and the Red Sox and 8-2. They will host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Sox will host the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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