Boston at Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay
W: C. Breslow (1-0) L: J. McGee (0-1) S: K. Uehara (2)
HR: BOS - None   TB - None

Red Sox beat Rays in Game 4, advance to ALCS wire reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- From worst to first, and now back in the AL Championship Series.

Shane Victorino's infield single snapped a seventh-inning tie and journeyman Craig Breslow gave Boston a huge boost out of the bullpen, sending the Red Sox into the ALCS with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.

Koji Uehara got the final four outs -- one night after giving up a game-winning homer -- and Boston rebounded to take the best-of-five playoff 3-1.

A year after finishing in last place, the AL East champion Red Sox won 97 games to match St. Louis for the best record in baseball. Now, they're moving on to the ALCS for the first time in five years.

"It's great, but we've still got one more to get where we want to be," Victorino said. "We're going to get a few days off to rest and see what happens in the other division series, and we'll go from there."

After the resilient Rays were finally eliminated, Boston will open at home Saturday against the Athletics or Tigers. Oakland hosts Detroit in a decisive Game 5 on Thursday.

Both managers mixed and matched all night at Tropicana Field in a tense game that felt more like a chess match. Desperately trying to force a fifth game, Rays skipper Joe Maddon used nine pitchers and had ace David Price warming up for a potential 10th inning.

"The way it was working at the beginning there, I could see it was just not going to work and we had to do something differently," Maddon said. "We became a little bit more extemporaneous at that point."

Breslow relieved Boston starter Jake Peavy in the sixth and struck out his first four batters -- all of them in the middle of Tampa Bay's lineup. The 33-year-old lefty from Yale has pitched for six teams in eight big league seasons, including two stints with the Red Sox.

The highest-scoring team in the majors this year, Boston scratched out three runs on six singles in a game that featured only one extra-base hit. But that was enough to knock out the wild-card Rays, who won four win-or-go-home games over the previous nine days.

"They didn't make any mistakes. You could see their grit," Maddon said. "They've got a bunch of gamers over there. ... On the other side, I think our guys were equally as tough. We have had a hard time hitting their pitching staff."

Making their fourth playoff appearance in six years, the low-budget Rays have not advanced past the division series since reaching the 2008 World Series.

Xander Bogaerts scored the tying run on Joel Peralta's wild pitch in the seventh and Victorino followed with an RBI infield single. Dustin Pedroia drove in Bogaerts with a sacrifice fly in the ninth to make it 3-1, and Uehara struck out Evan Longoria to end it.

"It feels great," outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury said. "We played a great team over there. It was a hard-fought game. It's more mentally tiring than anything. But it's a fun group of guys."

David DeJesus snapped a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the sixth for the Rays, and Boston squandered several opportunities before finally breaking through in the seventh.

Bogaerts drew a pinch-hit walk with one out and raced to third on Ellsbury's two-out single off Jake McGee. The Rays brought on their sixth pitcher, Peralta, and the game shifted suddenly on his first pitch, which skipped in the dirt past catcher Jose Lobaton -- allowing the tying run to score.

Ellsbury was stealing second on the pitch and continued to third when the ball rolled toward the backstop. Victorino beat out a slow chopper to shortstop, putting the Red Sox ahead 2-1.

"Victorino really adds a different dimension to that group, and you saw that again tonight. He just drips with intangibles," Maddon said.

Breslow pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Uehara earned a save, bouncing back from Lobaton's ninth-inning homer in Game 3.

Tampa Bay won three win-or-go-home games just to get into the division series last week. Coming from behind in another elimination game Monday gave them hope of taking the series back to Fenway Park, where the Rays were outscored 19-6 in the first two games.

The trip to the ALCS will be Boston's first since 2008, when the Red Sox lost in seven games to Tampa Bay.

When the Red Sox acquired Peavy from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline, they had nights like this in mind. The 32-year-old right-hander made his third career postseason start 2,562 days -- a span of seven years, five days -- after starting Game 1 of the NL division series for San Diego in 2006.

Both he and Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson were working with plenty of rest.

Although he pitched two innings in a simulated game last week while the Red Sox were waiting to learn who they would face, Peavy hadn't appeared in a major league game in 13 days. Hellickson hadn't pitched since Sept. 27, and his selection as Tampa Bay's starter in an elimination game was somewhat of a surprise.

He didn't last long.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, Hellickson walked David Ortiz and Mike Napoli on eight straight pitches to begin the second. Daniel Nava singled to load the bases, and Maddon had seen enough.

Jamey Wright, an 18-year veteran in his first postseason series, worked out of the jam by striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and getting Stephen Drew to line into a double play.


Peavy allowed one run, five hits and struck out three in 5 2/3 innings. ... Former major leaguer Rocco Baldelli, a Rhode Island native who played for both the Rays and Red Sox, threw the ceremonial first pitch. ... Rookie RF Wil Myers was back in Tampa Bay's lineup after leaving Game 3 with leg cramps. ... Victorino was hit by a pitch four times in the series, twice in Game 4. ... Lobaton's game-ending homer Monday night landed in the giant fish tank beyond center field. Only two others players -- Miguel Cabrera earlier this season and Luis Gonzalez in 2007 -- have homered into the tank that has been home to cownose rays since it was installed in 2006.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Boston teammates greet Jacoby Ellsbury, who scores the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.  (USATSI)
Boston teammates greet Jacoby Ellsbury, who scores the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

Y. Escobar
AB 3
R 1
H 3
HR 0

J. Ellsbury
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0

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Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4110102 .500
Shane Victorino, RF3011010 .429
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4011002 .235
David Ortiz, DH4010114 .385
Mike Napoli, 1B3000121 .154
Daniel Nava, LF2010210 .200
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C2000025 .300
   a-Jonny Gomes, PH1000000 .222
   David Ross, C1000010 .200
Stephen Drew, SS2000003 .133
   b-Xander Bogaerts, PH-SS0200200 .000
Will Middlebrooks, 3B3010122 .231
Jake Peavy, P0000000 .000
   Craig Breslow, P0000000 .000
   Junichi Tazawa, P0000000 .000
   Koji Uehara, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Saltalamacchia in the 7th
b-walked for Drew in the 7th
SF - Dustin Pedroia (2)
RBI - Shane Victorino (3), Dustin Pedroia (5)
2-OUT RBI - Shane Victorino (2)
SB - Jacoby Ellsbury (4, 3rd base off Peralta/Lobaton)
CS - Daniel Nava (1, 2nd base by Peralta/Lobaton)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Peavy-Drew-Napoli, Peavy-Drew-Napoli-Drew-Napoli
Boston Red Sox
Jake Peavy 5.2511030 1.59
Craig Breslow (W,1-0) 1.2100040 0.00
Junichi Tazawa (H,2) 0.1000010 0.00
Koji Uehara (S,2) 1.1000020 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Peavy 74-49, Craig Breslow 23-16, Junichi Tazawa 5-3, Koji Uehara 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Peavy 6-6, Craig Breslow 1-0, Koji Uehara 1-1
Batters Faced - Jake Peavy 20, Craig Breslow 6, Junichi Tazawa 1, Koji Uehara 4
Tampa Bay Rays
David DeJesus, LF4011022 .333
   Jose Molina, C0000000 .000
Wil Myers, RF4010001 .063
James Loney, 1B4000012 .417
Evan Longoria, 3B4000020 .154
Ben Zobrist, 2B3000010 .143
Desmond Jennings, CF3000010 .231
Kelly Johnson, DH2000020 .333
   a-Delmon Young, PH-DH1000000 .250
Yunel Escobar, SS3130000 .467
Jose Lobaton, C2010001 .286
   b-Sean Rodriguez, PH0000000 .167
   c-Matt Joyce, PH-LF1000011 .000
Jeremy Hellickson, P0000000 .000
   Jamey Wright, P0000000 .000
   Matt Moore, P0000000 .000
   Alex Torres, P0000000 .000
   Jake McGee, P0000000 .000
   Joel Peralta, P0000000 .000
   Fernando Rodney, P0000000 .000
   Chris Archer, P0000000 .000
   Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Johnson in the 8th
b-announced for Lobaton in the 8th
c-struck out for S. Rodriguez in the 8th
2B - Yunel Escobar (2, Peavy)
RBI - David DeJesus (1)
Team LOB - 3
DP - Loney-Escobar, Loney-Escobar-Zobrist-Loney-Escobar
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeremy Hellickson 1100200 0.00
Jamey Wright 1000110 18.00
Matt Moore 2100130 9.95
Alex Torres 2100010 0.00
Jake McGee (L,0-1; H,1) 0.2122110 6.75
Joel Peralta (BS,1) 1.1200130 0.00
Fernando Rodney 0.1011210 13.50
Chris Archer 0.1000000 0.00
Wesley Wright 0.1000000 0.00
WP - Joel Peralta (1), Fernando Rodney (1)
HBP - Victorino (by Alex Torres), Victorino (by Fernando Rodney)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 22-10, Jamey Wright 12-6, Matt Moore 30-17, Alex Torres 29-15, Jake McGee 21-11, Joel Peralta 26-18, Fernando Rodney 19-7, Chris Archer 2-2, Wesley Wright 2-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Moore 1-1, Alex Torres 3-2, Wesley Wright 1-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 6, Jamey Wright 3, Matt Moore 7, Alex Torres 8, Jake McGee 4, Joel Peralta 6, Fernando Rodney 4, Chris Archer 1, Wesley Wright 1
Game Information
Attendance - 32807
Game Time - 3:49
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Chris Guccione