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Big League Stew

ALDS Game 3: Jose Lobaton’s walkoff homer gives Rays a 5-4 win over the Red Sox

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

The Tampa Bay Rays live to play another day, defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on a Jose Lobaton walkoff homer with two outs in the ninth inning. Backed into a 0-2 corner in their ALDS series with Boston, the Rays overcame a number of mistakes Monday night to pull out the win. Lobaton, their platoon catcher, was one of the team's most unlikely heroes.

The two teams will meet in a Game 4 on Tuesday in which the storyline will be the same: The Rays try to stay alive while the Red Sox try to move on.

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(USA Today)

• Lobaton was 0-for-4 in the series before smashing Koji Uehara's pitch into the fish tank in right-center field. It was Lobaton's eighth homer of the season. He was in the game as a replacement after Rays manager Joe Maddon pinch hit for starting catcher Jose Molina in the eighth inning.

• Delmon Young, who coincidentally pinch hit for Molina, brought home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. He hit the first pitch he saw hard at Boston first baseman Mike Napoli. The bases were loaded and Napoli couldn't transfer the ball quickly enough to get Sam Fuld at the plate.

• Jacoby Ellsbury was in thick of the scoring for the Red Sox. He singled in the first inning and came around to score. He doubled in the fifth and scored again. He had three hits total.

Evan Longoria hit a three-run homer for the Rays in the fifth inning, which erased a 3-0 Red Sox lead and re-energized the Tampa Bay crowd. What makes Longoria's homer historic is the fact that Monday is his birthday. He's only the second player in MLB history to hit a postseason homer on his birthday.

• Uehara was one of the top relievers in baseball this season. He hadn't given up a home run since June 30.

• Fernando Rodney couldn't hold onto a 4-3 lead his team gave him in the ninth inning. He blew the save and allowed the Red Sox to tie the game in the ninth.

• The Rays and their fundamentals. The little things hurt — starting pitcher Alex Cobb hitting Shane Victorino with a pitch in the first inning and letting a run score on an error soon after that. A wild pitch that allowed another run to score in the fifth. In the eighth inning, with the score tied 3-3, nobody out and runners at first and second, Matt Joyce popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt into foul territory. If you're giving up an out, that's not the way to do it.

Lobaton's homer, what else?

This is the fourth elimination game the Rays have survived in the last eight days.

• Rodney blowing the save for the Rays.

• Who the heck is Jose Lobaton?

• Why the Red Sox didn't walk Longoria in the fifth inning with two runners on and a base open. He ended up homering and changing the pace of the game.

• A stolen base by the Red Sox's Quintin Berry in the eighth inning. It was a close play and Berry was called safe, but replays showed he was out. Luckily for the Rays, relief pitcher Jake McGee was able to strand Berry on second base and keep the score tied.

With their win, the Rays force a Game 4 on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. First pitch is scheduled for 8:37 p.m. ET. Once again, the Rays will find their backs against the wall. Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17) will start for the Red Sox while the Rays will send Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 5.17 ERA) to the hill.

The postseason is upon us. Spend it with The Stew.
Follow @MikeOz and @bigleaguestew, on Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page.

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