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Tampa Bay at Boston

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Tampa Bay (86-57) «0021000025121
Boston (85-59)100100020460

Rays rally in ninth to increase lead over BoSox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Dan Johnson woke up in Pennsylvania in Triple-A on Tuesday. He'll go to bed in New York on Thursday as a member of the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

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Unlikely first-place Rays get help from unlikely hero
by Danny Knobler
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Johnson, scratched from Tampa Bay's starting lineup because he didn't get into town until just before the first pitch, hit a game-tying, pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning, and Dioner Navarro doubled in the go-ahead run to help the Rays beat Boston 5-4 Tuesday night and extend their division lead.

"Sometimes things work out just in your favor," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who credited the victory to the airline that flew Johnson to Boston. "It's a pretty significant win, particularly here, what's been going on (and) where we're at in the race."

The Rays had lost four straight and six of seven games -- and the Red Sox had won six of seven, including a 3-0 victory in the series opener -- to cut Tampa Bay's division lead from 5½ games to just a half-game.

With a victory Tuesday, the Red Sox could have moved into first place for the first time since June 28; instead, the Rays are 1½ up and assured of leading the AL East when they begin a weekend series against the New York Yankees on Friday.

It was the first win for a road team in the season series between the Red Sox and Rays, who finish up the series on Wednesday and have Thursday off. Boston holds a six-game lead in the AL wild-card standings over Minnesota, which beat Kansas City.

"If it comes down to them winning the home field by one game, maybe we'll look back at this game," said Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, who homered. "But we'll see."

Tampa Bay took a 3-1 lead in the fourth and still led 3-2 with two outs in the eighth when Dan Wheeler (4-5) walked Kevin Youkilis and then Jason Bay barely cleared the Green Monster to give Boston the lead. Bay, acquired at the trade deadline, homered for the third straight game.

But Jonathan Papelbon (5-4) blew a save opportunity for the fifth time this season.

"Jason's home run gave us a good feeling and we have all the confidence in the world in Pap," Lowell said. "But Pap's a human being. He's been so good for three years, it's almost like he's automatic."

Johnson got a call at 9 a.m. telling him he was being called up from Triple-A Durham, which was set to open the International League's championship series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Most of the planes out of Scranton were grounded due to the weather, but he found a seat on a much-delayed early morning flight to Philadelphia.

After buying a pair of shoes in the airport -- he'd only packed a couple of T-shirts for Durham's two-day road trip -- he got on a plane scheduled to land in Boston at 4:30. It didn't arrive until closer to 6:30, about 30 minutes before game time.

"It's been real hectic, so there's not really much time to reflect," he said. "It went from not being able to hit in the cage, to not being able to loosen up my arm. I'm just cutting things off, saying, 'Well, maybe I'll be able to swing in on deck."'

Johnson made it into the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, hitting a drive over the Red Sox bullpen in right to tie it. One out later, Fernando Perez doubled and Navarro did the same to make it 5-4.

Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his 28th save. Wheeler earned the victory despite coughing up the lead, allowing two runs in the eighth inning.

The Rays stranded 12 in the first eight innings, going 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position before Navarro's double in the ninth.

Notes

  • Tampa Bay brought up Johnson and C Michael Hernandez from Durham and designated INF Joel Guzman for assignment.
  • The Red Sox recalled RHP Bartolo Colon from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket and sent RHP David Aardsma on a rehab assignment to Class-A Lowell of the New York-Penn League.
  • The game was delayed for a couple of minutes in the fifth when plate umpire Mark Wegner went for a new mask after being hit by a foul tip.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The Rays' offense gets to closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning with a solo HR and an RBI double.  (AP)
The Rays' offense gets to closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning with a solo HR and an RBI double. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

D. Johnson
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Boston

M. Lowell
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B5120001 .280
Ben Zobrist, CF-LF4100121 .217
Carlos Pena, 1B3010211 .245
Cliff Floyd, DH3001024 .274
   a- Justin Ruggiano, PH-DH0000000 .186
   b- Dan Johnson, PH-DH1111000 .500
Willy Aybar, 3B4021000 .256
Eric Hinske, LF2000102 .249
   c- Fernando Perez, PH-CF1110100 .182
Dioner Navarro, C5021003 .299
Gabe Gross, RF5120015 .241
Jason Bartlett, SS5011007 .281
Totals38512556  
a-announced for Floyd in the 9th
b-homered for Ruggiano in the 9th
c-walked for Hinske in the 7th
Batting
2B - Fernando Perez (1, Papelbon), Dioner Navarro (24, Papelbon), Jason Bartlett (20, Matsuzaka)
HR - Dan Johnson (1, Papelbon)
SF - Willy Aybar (1)
RBI - Cliff Floyd (36), Dan Johnson (1), Willy Aybar (27), Dioner Navarro (46), Jason Bartlett (29)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Iwamura-Bartlett-Pena
E - Dioner Navarro (4, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
Scott Kazmir 6522341 2.99
Grant Balfour (H,13) 1000000 1.66
Dan Wheeler (BS,4; W,4-5) 1122111 2.74
Troy Percival (S,28) 1000110 4.79
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 108-68, Grant Balfour 11-8, Dan Wheeler 19-11, Troy Percival 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 3-10, Dan Wheeler 2-0
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 25, Grant Balfour 3, Dan Wheeler 5, Troy Percival 4
Boston Red Sox
Coco Crisp, CF5010001 .290
Jed Lowrie, SS2000210 .272
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4110003 .327
Kevin Youkilis, 1B3111100 .315
Jason Bay, LF3112120 .291
Mike Lowell, 3B4121002 .277
Mark Kotsay, RF3000111 .288
    Jacoby Ellsbury, PR0000000 .263
Jason Varitek, C4000011 .225
Jeff Bailey, DH2000010 .286
   a- David Ortiz, PH-DH2000001 .268
Totals3246456  
a-flied out for Bailey in the 7th
Batting
2B - Kevin Youkilis (38, Kazmir)
HR - Jason Bay (29, Wheeler), Mike Lowell (16, Kazmir)
RBI - Kevin Youkilis (99), Jason Bay 2 (97), Mike Lowell (72)
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Youkilis (31), Jason Bay 2 (38), Mike Lowell (29)
SB - Jacoby Ellsbury (45, 3rd base off Percival/Navarro)
Team LOB - 6
Boston Red Sox
Daisuke Matsuzaka 5833450 2.97
Javier Lopez 1100100 2.67
Manny Delcarmen 1.2000000 3.76
Hideki Okajima 0.1000010 2.93
Jonathan Papelbon (BS,5; L,5-4) 1322001 1.89
HBP - Floyd (by Daisuke Matsuzaka)
Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 102-61, Javier Lopez 16-10, Manny Delcarmen 11-8, Hideki Okajima 4-3, Jonathan Papelbon 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 4-6, Javier Lopez 2-1, Manny Delcarmen 3-2, Jonathan Papelbon 1-2
Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 28, Javier Lopez 5, Manny Delcarmen 5, Hideki Okajima 1, Jonathan Papelbon 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37573
Game Time - 3:40
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Dale Scott