Where: Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay
When: 5:37 PM, ET – TBS
Series record: 2-1, Boston
After taking the lead early in Game 3, the Boston Red Sox simply needed to hold steady and they’d be en route to the American League Championship.
Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays had other ideas.
Handed a three run lead, Boston starter Clay Buchholz pitched flawlessly sans a mistake to Longoria and the Rays third baseman didn’t miss it, clobbering a three-run blast over the outfield wall bringing the Rays back from postseason death with a 3-3 tie.
Tampa eventually took a one run lead the bottom of the eighth, though closer Fernando Rodney couldn’t shut the door on Boston who scratched and clawed to knot things up. Hoping the momentum had swung their way, Boston sent the almost unhittable Koji Uehara to the mound who for the first two batters looked every bit the force he’s been this season. That didn’t bother Tampa catcher Jose Lobaton though who hit a walk-off, game winning home run into the Ray tank, only the sixth home run Uehera allowed all season.
The win gave the Rays life after they had dropped the first two games of the series and they will now do everything they can to force a winner-take-all Game 5 in Boston on Thursday night. Hoping to send them back to Fenway will be ace Matt Moore who struggled in Game 1, giving up seven earned runs in just over four innings of work. Opposing Moore will be Boston ace Jon Lester, who outside of allowing two solo home runs in Game 1, pitched well, as expected.
The odds are still in Boston’s favor obviously, but Tampa is simply taking it one game at a time, which is all you can do if you’re the Rays.