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Boston at Tampa Bay

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Boston (2-1)100020001470
Tampa Bay (1-2) «0000300115111

Rays stave off elimination on Lobaton's walk-off home run

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays are still afloat in the AL division series.

Jose Lobaton hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning into the giant fish tank beyond center field, and Tampa Bay staved off elimination once again by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Monday night.

Evan Longoria had a three-run homer and the Rays averted a playoff sweep, cutting Boston's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-5 series. Game 4 will be Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, with Jake Peavy starting for the Red Sox against Jeremy Hellickson.

"Look at this whole week working up to today, and then this game is even more dramatic than the other games we had already won," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's really an incredible day for the Rays."

Tampa Bay took a win-or-go-home game for the fourth time in nine days. The Rays did it with an unlikely stroke as Lobaton, who came off the bench to catch in the top of the ninth, connected against Red Sox closer Koji Uehara.

"It's unbelievable. It's something you can't explain," Lobaton said. "We never give up. We're going to keep fighting."

Back home after two weeks on the road, the Rays gave a sellout crowd of 33,675 little to cheer until Longoria homered on his 28th birthday. His three-run shot off Clay Buchholz with two outs in the fifth rallied Tampa Bay to a 3-3 tie.

Pinch-hitter Delmon Young, who has a penchant for driving home key runs in October, put the Rays ahead 4-3 with an RBI grounder in the eighth.

The Red Sox tied it in the ninth after closer Fernando Rodney issued a leadoff walk to Will Middlebrooks. Dustin Pedroia's RBI grounder made it 4-all.

With a runner on third, pinch-hitter Mike Carp was called out on strikes to end the inning. Carp batted for Quintin Berry, who entered as a pinch-runner for David Ortiz in the eighth.

Berry stole second on a close play that drew an argument from Maddon. But when Ortiz's spot came up again in the ninth, Boston's big slugger was out of the game.

Rodney got the victory when Lobaton golfed a low pitch to right-center. The ball deflected off a fan trying to catch the souvenir and wound up in the 10,000-gallon tank where cownose rays swim around.

Maddon said he was studying his lineup card when he heard the crack of the bat.

"Look up and the ball is going towards the tank, which, nobody hits home runs there. Nobody does. How about that? It's incredible," he said.

Uehara did not allow a home run in his final 37 regular-season appearances. The last time he served one up was June 30 to Toronto slugger Jose Bautista.

"That was an exciting game. Well-played game," Boston manager John Farrell said.

The Rays won three must-win road games in three cities over four days merely to get into the division series, so they felt good about their chances of coming back against the Red Sox.

Especially with Alex Cobb on the mound. The right-hander beat Cleveland 4-0 in the AL wild-card game last Wednesday and has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the majors since August 2012.

The Red Sox were just as confident about the prospect of closing out the series.

"I'm sure there's an attitude they have nothing to lose and just let it all hang out," Farrell said. "That's what we've been accustomed to for years against the Rays. As I mentioned before the series started, we have tremendous respect for them and we know it will be a very similar game tomorrow night."

Buchholz, limited to 16 starts this season because of a neck strain that landed him on the disabled list for three months, beat the Rays twice this year while allowing no runs and five hits in 13 innings. He also entered his second career postseason appearance with a 2.26 ERA in nine career starts at Tropicana Field.

Cobb settled down after a shaky first inning in which he gave up a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury, hit a batter with a pitch and walked Ortiz. But the Red Sox got only one run out of it, when second baseman Ben Zobrist made a throwing error while trying to turn a double play.

Cobb, celebrating his 26th birthday, retired eight in a row before walking Ortiz leading off the fourth. Mike Napoli followed with a single for the second hit off Cobb, yet Boston was unable to take advantage.

Ortiz tagged and went to third on Daniel Nava's fly ball, then was nearly caught too far off the bag when Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out and catcher Jose Molina threw to third base trying to pick off Ortiz. The inning ended with Stephen Drew hitting a grounder back to Cobb.

The Rays wasted opportunities against Buchholz, too.

James Loney doubled off the left-field wall to begin the second inning, but was erased when Desmond Jennings lined into a double play.

The Rays loaded the bases on two walks and Loney's second hit of the night, but Buchholz escaped the jam by fanning Matt Joyce.

Buchholz wasn't as fortunate in the fifth, when Yunel Escobar beat out an infield single and David DeJesus doubled with one out. Zobrist popped to shortstop, bringing up Longoria, who became the second player in major league history to hit a postseason homer on his birthday.

Willie Mays Aikens hit two home runs for Kansas City on his birthday Oct. 14, 1980, against Philadelphia in Game 1 of the World Series.

Longoria's home run was his ninth in 109 career postseason at-bats.

Loney had three hits off Buchholz, who allowed three runs, seven hits and struck out five in six innings.

Ellsbury scored Boston's first two runs, on Zobrist's throwing error in the first and Cobb's wild pitch in the fifth. Ortiz's fifth-inning RBI single put the Red Sox up 3-0 against the Tampa Bay starter.

Notes

Rays rookie Wil Myers left before the eighth inning because of cramping in both legs. A leading contender for AL Rookie of the Year, Myers took an awkward swing on a foul ball in the seventh and grabbed the area around his left calf. He limped back to the dugout after striking out for the third out. Myers went to right field after the inning, then headed back to the infield and was met by a team trainer. The club said he received IV fluids, and Maddon said Myers probably will be fine for Tuesday night's game. Joyce, the DH, replaced Myers in right field.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jose Lobaton is the unlikely hero for Tampa Bay, which prevails yet again in a must-win situation.  (USATSI)
Jose Lobaton is the unlikely hero for Tampa Bay, which prevails yet again in a must-win situation. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

E. Longoria
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Boston

J. Ellsbury
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Boston Red Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF5230000 .571
Shane Victorino, RF3110010 .455
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5001011 .231
David Ortiz, DH1011300 .444
   Quintin Berry, PR-DH0000000 .000
   a-Mike Carp, PH-DH1000011 .000
Mike Napoli, 1B4010004 .200
Daniel Nava, LF3000013 .000
   b-Jonny Gomes, PH-LF0000100 .250
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C4010034 .375
Stephen Drew, SS4000005 .154
Will Middlebrooks, 3B3000121 .200
   Xander Bogaerts, PR-3B0100000 .000
Clay Buchholz, P0000000 .000
   Craig Breslow, P0000000 .000
   Junichi Tazawa, P0000000 .000
   Franklin Morales, P0000000 .000
   Brandon Workman, P0000000 .000
   Koji Uehara, P0000000 .000
Totals3347259  
a-struck out for Berry in the 9th
b-was walked intentionally for Nava in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jacoby Ellsbury (2, Cobb)
SH - Shane Victorino (1)
RBI - Dustin Pedroia (4), David Ortiz (3)
2-OUT RBI - David Ortiz (2)
SB - Jacoby Ellsbury (3, 3rd base off Rodney/Lobaton), Quintin Berry (1, 2nd base off McGee/Molina)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Napoli-Drew
Boston Red Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Clay Buchholz 6733351 4.50
Craig Breslow 0.1100000 0.00
Junichi Tazawa 0.2000010 0.00
Franklin Morales 0.1111100 27.00
Brandon Workman 0.2100000 0.00
Koji Uehara (L,0-1) 0.2111001 5.40
WP - Junichi Tazawa (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Clay Buchholz 104-64, Craig Breslow 3-2, Junichi Tazawa 11-7, Franklin Morales 11-6, Brandon Workman 9-5, Koji Uehara 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clay Buchholz 3-9, Brandon Workman 1-1, Koji Uehara 1-1
Batters Faced - Clay Buchholz 27, Craig Breslow 2, Junichi Tazawa 2, Franklin Morales 3, Brandon Workman 3, Koji Uehara 3
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, LF3120010 .400
   a-Sean Rodriguez, PH-LF-1B2000002 .167
Ben Zobrist, 2B4010103 .182
Evan Longoria, 3B5113013 .222
Wil Myers, RF3000123 .000
   Jake McGee, P0000000 .000
   Jose Lobaton, C1111000 .200
James Loney, 1B3030100 .625
   Sam Fuld, PR-RF0100000 .000
Desmond Jennings, CF3010102 .300
Matt Joyce, DH-RF-LF4000015 .000
Yunel Escobar, SS4120000 .333
Jose Molina, C3000011 .000
   b-Delmon Young, PH1001000 .286
   Fernando Rodney, P0000000 .000
Alex Cobb, P0000000 .000
   Alex Torres, P0000000 .000
   Joel Peralta, P0000000 .000
Totals36511546  
a-fouled out for DeJesus in the 7th
b-grounded out for Molina in the 8th
Batting
2B - David DeJesus (1, Buchholz), James Loney (2, Buchholz)
HR - Evan Longoria (1, Buchholz), Jose Lobaton (1, Uehara)
RBI - Evan Longoria 3 (3), Jose Lobaton (1), Delmon Young (2)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria 3 (3), Jose Lobaton (1)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Ben Zobrist (2, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alex Cobb 5532250 3.60
Alex Torres 1100020 0.00
Joel Peralta 1000000 0.00
Jake McGee 1000210 0.00
Fernando Rodney (W,1-0; BS,1) 1111110 9.00
IBB - Gomes by Jake McGee
WP - Alex Cobb (1)
HBP - Victorino (by Alex Cobb)
Pitches-Strikes - Alex Cobb 94-61, Alex Torres 15-11, Joel Peralta 13-7, Jake McGee 28-16, Fernando Rodney 19-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 6-4, Jake McGee 1-1, Fernando Rodney 2-0
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 23, Alex Torres 4, Joel Peralta 3, Jake McGee 5, Fernando Rodney 5
Game Information
Attendance - 33675
Game Time - 4:19
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Larry Vanover