Four real? The four at bats that changed the game Red Sox vs Rays 5-15-13

Game 40: One big inning gives the Sox the win 9-2
All it took was one inning for the bats to come alive in Florida, but when the thunder claps, rain follows. The Red Sox scored eight times in the third inning to break open the game and give Jon Lester breathing room so he could coast to his sixth win of the season. In the seventh inning, Lester's K pushed him past Josh Beckett on the Red Sox's all time strikeout list with 1,109. Here are the four at bats that changed the game:

1) Top of the third inning, and with the Red Sox already up 1-0 and men on the corners, David Ortiz is batting against AL Cy Young winner David Price. Price tries to pitch Ortiz away, but Papi goes with the pitch and knocks it down the left field line to score a run. More importantly, David Price leaves the game early with an apparent injury and Jamey Wright replaces him. Although Price has not pitched extremely well this year, any time the reigning best pitcher in baseball leaves the game, you have to take advantage.

2) Top of the third inning, and Wright can do no right as he gives up RBIs to Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes to put the Sox up 4-0. Stephen Drew delivers the knock out punch by swinging at a 1-1 curve ball and driving it into the first row of right center field. 8-0 Red Sox.

3) Bottom of the third inning, and Tampa Bay has one shot to get back into the game. Desmond Jennings drives a ball deep to right field off of Lester and triples. Shane Victorino starts the relay throw that just misses Ryan Roberts at the plate and the Rays score. Later, a groundout scores Jennings, but Lester stops the bleeding fast and the Rays can only muster two runs. 8-2 Red Sox.

4) While the game may have already been decided by the eight inning, Kyle Farnsworth comes on to face slumping Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks take the first pitch he sees a long distance to right center field to pad the Sox lead to 9-2. Why is this an important at bat? Because it is the third baseman's second extra base hit to right center field in the game, a sign that he is perhaps seeing the ball better and not trying to pull everything. We shall see.

It's a feel good win for Boston to improve to 23-17, and Lester improves to 6-0 on the young season. Boston only had one more hit in the game than the Rays, but they made their hits count, with two homeruns and some clutch extra base hits, including going 5-11 with runners in scoring position. Tomorrow, the Red Sox take on the Rays when Felix Doubront faces Alex Cobb at 7:10 in Tampa Bay.

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