This game was supposed to end differently. David Price was supposed to bowl over the Red Sox, but they were going to keep the game close until the late innings and then use some Fenway Magic to pull off the win. Fenway was rocking on Monday night, and the fans got their money's worth; good pitching, exciting defensive plays, and drama. A whole lot of drama, in fact, that got manager John Farrell ejected in the eighth inning. This game was low scoring, but full of game changing plays that resulted in a 2-1 win for Tampa Bay. The "W" put the Rays back in first place in the AL East for the time being. And while David Price should have been the person that was most talked about in this game, home plate umpire Jerry Meals is the talk of the town tonight. Here are the four at bats that changed the game:
1) Two Out Rallys Win Games In the top of the fourth, the Rays have two outs and Yunel Escobar on first. Sox pitcher Felix Doubront, who was pitching out of trouble most of the game, got Jose Molina to a full count, but then loses him when Molina singles to center to put men on the corners. Sean Rodriguez then hits a 1-1 fastball to right field to score Escobar and put the Rays in the lead. 1-0 Rays
2) That Pole is Pesky! In the bottom of the sixth inning, David Price was cruising, only giving up a hard hit double by David Ortiz in the second inning. When third baseman Brandon Synder steps up, he swings at a 1-2 pitch and pops it up to right field. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the wind carries the ball just a bit more then was expected, and it rings off the base of the Pesky Pole in right field for a very short and lucky homerun. 2-1 Rays. Check out the Mini-HR here.
3) 2 doubles= 0 runs? Right before the bottom of the eighth inning, rain exploded over the Friendly Confines, and play was disrupted for three quarters of an hour. The delay caused Price to pitch to one Sox batter before he came out after only 90 pitches. When Joel Peralta took the mound, Boston was given a new life. Ryan Lavarnway doubled and was replaced on the basepaths by Daniel Nava. Stephen Drew followed up with a long shot to right field that looked like it could get caught, but dropped just shy of the right field wall. Nava misread it and does not score from second. The error causes men to be on second and third with one out, instead of tying the game at 2.
4) Everyone wants this Meals for dinner. Still in the bottom of the eighth, Brandon Snyder hits a long fly to left field and Sam Fuld makes the catch. Nava tags up, runs hard and slides for the top left corner of the plate. The throw comes in at the same time, but it is to the first base side of the plate and low. Molina picks it up, blocks the plate and makes the tag. While most of the stadium knew Nava was safe, umpire Jerry Meals calls him out and the stadium errupts. Farrell is ejected and the game goes to the ninth with the Rays still up 2-1. Make the call yourself here
The ninth inning was just as harsh to the Red Sox, as they had men on second and third with two outs until closer Fernando Rodney struck out Mike Napoli with the count full.
This loss really hurts if you are a Sox fan or player, but it still goes to show them that even on an off day with a true ace pitching against you, the game can be won. Boston was one right bounce or one hit away from winning this game, but they have to hit better if they want to win consistently. The Sox only managed two hits in 7 1/3 innings off of Price, and you just can't win that way. I am certain that many Sox players are interested to see who will arrive in Boston as help before the trade deadline approaches.
Boston is back at it again tomorrow night at 7:10pm when Joe Saunders faces Brandon Workman at 7:10pm in Boston.