Facing elimination, the Tampa Bay Rays dug deep and found a way to win in the last possible moment. The Boston Red Sox entered Monday’s game with a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Divisional Series, and were looking to leave the ball park with a sweep. The Rays had other plans, driving in a walk off run to keep the series alive in the ninth, escaping with a much needed, series extending victory.
Early on, this one looked like the Red Sox would succeed in accomplishing their goal. A 3-0 Sox lead was opened up in the top of the fifth at Tropicana Field, forcing their opponent into desperation mode.
This is where the Rays came up clutch. A three-run fifth by Tampa Bay tied the ballgame at 3 apiece, and the Red Sox would not see the lead again. Evan Longoria drove in all three runs after driving the ball out of the park, seizing the momentum in game three on his 28th birthday.
The eighth inning is where the Rays took the lead and looked to wrap up their first victory in the ALDS. With the bases loaded, Jose Molina his a ground ball to first base. It wasn’t a hit, but Sam Fuld was able to scramble home to make the game 4-3.
Victory would not be so simple for the Rays however, in the ninth inning the Red Sox were able to cross the plate and even the score at 4-4. Momentum back in hand, the Sox just had to get three outs in the Rays half of the ninth to force extra innings and keep the sweep possibility alive.
In the ninth inning the Rays showed their resolve. Jose Lobaton stepped into the batter’s box and delivered the most clutch at bat of the season for Tampa Bay. A walk off home run by Lobaton secured a 5-4 victory and forced the Red Sox to play game 4.
Tampa Bay doesn’t appear willing to go down without a fight. Suddenly we have a series on hand. The ALDS looked like a Red Sox cakewalk, but anything can happen in the playoffs, if the Rays can take this momentum with them who knows what can happen.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express