Monday, October 13, 2008


By JC De La Torre

On the road, the young Rays were supposed to wilt under the pressure of October baseball against the powerful Boston Red Sox. The Sox did their job in St. Pete, getting a win in at least one of the first two games and they controlled the series. Win out and they wouldn't have to hear any more cowbells or deal with catwalks. The experienced Sox had their Ace, John Lester, pitching against the Rays whom he dominated this season. All seemed to be set for a series defining victory.

There was a series defining victory tonight...but it wasn't by the Red Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays lit up Boston for 4 home runs, punching the Sox squarely in the snoz 9-1 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in the American League Championship Series. The Rays apparently failed to get the memo that they weren't supposed to win and became the first team in the long, storied history of the Boston Red Sox to score 8 or more runs in consecutive post-season games against the Red Sox.

The scoring started in the 2nd inning, when Dioner Navarro grounded out, but allowed Evan Longoria to score to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. After the Sox failed to score in the bottom of the 2nd, the game opened up in the 3rd inning. Barlett opened the inning with a single to left. Aki Iwamurra doubled off the monster, putting men on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. BJ Upton would CRUSH a 3 run moonshot over the monster to give the Rays a 4-0 lead. After a Pena strike out, Longoria would add another run, blasting one over the monster as well. After three innings, it was 5-0.

It would stay that way for awhile, as Matt Garza pitched a masterful game. Garza went 6 innings, striking out 5 and and allowing 1 earned run. The run occured in the 7th, when Ellsbury's sacrifice fly off of JP Howell scored Varitek. Howell would then get Dustin Pedrioa to ground into an inning ending double play to end any chance of a Boston rally.

In the top of the 8th, the Red Sox nation began to flee Fenway as Rocco Baldelli blasted a three run homer over the monster to balloon the lead to 8-1. What a story Baldelli is, battling a strange mitochondrial disorder that threatened his career, and he homers to put the game away in game 3 of the ALCS. Carlos Pena would add another insurance run in the top of the 9th with a solo blast to left center field, Edwin Jackson would come in for his first action in the post season to get the final 3 outs.

Tampa Bay takes a 2-1 lead in the series and puts the pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Boston Red Sox. Tomorrow night Tim Wakefield, a Ray-killer goes for Boston. However, the Rays have been able to hit Wakefield this season, getting two wins against him. The Rays will have the steady Andy Sonnanstine on the mound for the good guys. If Tampa Bay gets Game 4, they'll have three shots at closing out the defending World Champions. For the Red Sox, tommorrow night, the series may be on the line.

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