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Updated: October 7, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Tampa Bay avoids sweep vs. Boston with walk-off homerun
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (USA) - Boston Red Sox led 3-0 in the fifth inning on Monday-evening, but Tampa Bay Rays came alongside and went on to win 5-4 on a walk-off homerun in the ninth inning to avoid a sweep in the American League Division Series. Instead, a fourth game was forced and the teams will meet again on Tuesday.

Boston appeared to be leading comfortably with a 3-0 in the fifth inning, but then Tampa Bay tied the score with a 3-run homerun.

The BoSox opened the score in the first inning. Rays-starter Alex Cobb gave up a lead-off single to Jacoby Ellsbury, then hit next batter Shane Victorino with a pitch. Dustin Pedroia then followed with a force out-grounder, which eliminated Victorino at second base. Ellsbury advanced to third base, then scored on a throwing error from second baseman Ben Zobrist trying to complete a double play.

Boston was retired in order in the second and third inning. In the fourth, David Ortiz led off with a walk and Mike Napoli followed with a single, but then three outs followed.

In the fifth, Boston enlarged its lead to 3-0 by scoring twice. With one out, Ellsbury doubled and Victorino singled. A wild pitch then enabled Ellsbury to score. With two outs, Victorino scored the next run when Ortiz singled.

Boston-starter Clay Buchholz gave up a lead-off single to David DeJesus in the first inning, but then retired the next three batters. In the second inning, James Loney led off with a double off of Buchholz, then was eliminated in a double play on a line drive by next batter Desmond Jennings. Buchholz then retired the side in the third, but got the bases loaded in the fourth at bat. He walked lead-off hitter Ben Zobrist, then struckout the next two batters. But then James Loney singled and Desmond Jennings walked to load the bases. Buchholz then ended the threat by striking out Matt Joyce.

In the home of the fifth, Buchholz didn't escape unharmed, as the Rays tied the score. Yunel Escobar led off with a single, then David DeJesus doubled with one out. With two outs, Evan Longoria homered into leftfield to make it a 3-3 score.

After two scoreless innings, Boston got another scoring opportunity in the eighth inning. New pitcher Jake McGee walked lead-off hitter David Ortiz. The veteran slugger was then replaced by pinch-runner Quintin Berry, who stole second base. After a groundput, Jonny Gomes entered as pinch-hitter for Daniel Nava and was walked intentionally to set up a force play. McGee then struckout Jarrod Saltalamacchia and ended the inning when Stephen Drew popped out.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Tampa Bay took the lead for the first time. New pitcher Franklin Morales walked lead-off hitter James Loney, who was replaced by pinch-runner Sam Fuld. He advanced when Desmond Jennings followed with a single. After a pop-fly accounted for the first out, Morales was replaced by Brandon Workman, who then gave up a single to Yunel Escobar that loaded the bases. Delmon Young then entered the game as pinch-hitter and grounded out, but that brought in Fuld to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead. A flyout then ended the inning.

Boston tied the score again in the top of the ninth inning. Fernando Rodney took over the pitching for the Rays and walked lead-off hitter Will Middlebrooks, who was then replaced by pinch-runner Xander Bogaerts. With this, the player of the Dutch National Team made his first appearance for Boston in the ALDS. Bogaerts advanced on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury, then the two runners moved on a sacrifice bunt by Shane Victorino. Next, Dustin Pedroia grounded out, but Bogaerts scored the tying run. Ellsbury then stole third base, but pinch-hitter Mike Carp struckout moments later to end the inning.

In the home half of the ninth inning, Tampa Bay decided the game. Japanese Koji Uehara became the new pitcher for Boston and got two quick outs, but then gave up a walk-off homerun to Josť Lobaton. The Venezuelan had just entered the game in the top of the inning in a double-switch as the new catcher for the Rays.

(October 7)

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