The Red Sox topped the Rays by a score 7-4 in Game 2 of the ALDS even though the reigning AL Cy Young was on the mound for Tampa Bay. Here's a closer look ...
Hero: Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz. The Red Sox's center fielder set the tone early as he singled to lead off the home half of the first, stole second, took third on Jose Molina's throwing error and then hustled home on a Dustin Pedroia sac fly. In the third, he doubled home David Ross and later scored on a force-out. He then singled to lead off the fifth and somehow managed to score from first on Pedroia's double to left. Ellsbury's bat, speed and instincts on the bases changed Game 2 and helped put the Rays on the brink.
As for Ortiz, well, he hit two home runs in the game, so you know he's merited a mention. Most impressive is that those homers came off David Price, who in the regular season allowed exactly two home runs to left-handed hitters. Big Papi matched that tally with two swings on Saturday.
Goat: Ben Zobrist. The typically excellent Rays second baseman had a rough Game 2. Specifically, he made a pair of critical outs. When Ben Zobrist stepped to the plate with two out in the fifth, he represented the go-ahead run in what had once been a 5-1 game in favor of Boston. The Rays had already plated a pair of runs in the inning to pull within 5-3. James Loney was on second, Evan Longoria was on first, and Zobrist was locked in a seven-pitch battle with John Lackey. In the end, Lackey got the called third strike on a borderline fastball and escaped further damage. In the seventh, Zobrist came up again with runners on first and second and again representing the go-ahead run. This time, he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. On the night, he went 0-3 with two strikeouts and five runners left on base.
Turning point: There would be a lot near-threats by the Rays in this game, and David Price would have his moments. However, when the Sox hung two on Price in the first inning, you had the almost palpable sense that it wouldn't be the Rays' night.
It was over when: David Ortiz's second home run of the night pushed the Boston advantage to 7-4 in the eighth inning. It would stand.
Next: Now the scene shifts to St. Pete for Game 3. The Rays will return home and attempt to avoid the sweep with Alex Cobb, who'll be going up against Clay Buchholz. First pitch is scheduled for shortly after 6:00 pm EST on Monday.