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Rays 6, Red Sox 5 (second game)

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- The Tampa Bay Rays really had no interest in making up Wednesday night's rainout with a split doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

But if you have to play two, you might as well win them -- and the Rays did just that.

After a controversial 2-1 victory in the opener, the previously struggling Rays wiped out a three-run deficit -- before Yunel Escobar crushed a home run off Boston closer Koji Uehara in the ninth inning -- to give Tampa Bay a 6-5 nightcap win and the sweep of the Red Sox.

Closer Grant Balfour, who saved the first game, caught first baseman Mike Napoli looking at a 3-2 pitch with the tying run on third and one out in the ninth -- and then, after walking outfielder Grady Sizemore, struck rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts out looking to end Balfour's sixth save of the season.

Uehara (0-1) relieved in a tie game and Escobar ripped his second pitch for the shortstop's second homer of the year, a shot that left Fenway Park. It was only the second run of the year allowed by Uehara.

The homer came after winner Jake McGee (2-0) pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth.

Their bats quiet most of the long day after rain postponed the opener of the doubleheader, Boston (13-16) broke through with five runs in the fifth inning, taking a 5-2 lead.

It didn't hold up.

The Rays (13-16) scored a controversial 2-1 victory in an opener that saw second baseman Dustin Pedroia nailed at the plate with the potential tying run in the seventh inning -- a call that held up under an inconclusive review.

Center fielder Desmond Jennings (No. 2) and left fielder Sean Rodriguez (No. 4) also homered for the visitors.

Boston left-hander Felix Doubront worked six innings and was in position to get the win despite giving up a two-run homer to Rodriguez in the sixth. Reliever Junichi Tazawa gave up the lead in the eighth, when Rodriguez had his second double of the game and came home on James Loney's two-out single.

The Red Sox' big inning chased starter Chris Archer.

After right fielder Shane Victorino, who doubled in the ninth, followed three walks by getting hit by a pitch, designated hitter David Ortiz drilled a two-run single. An RBI single by Napoli chased Archer and Sizemore, in a 3-for-40 funk, had an RBI single off reliever Brad Boxberger to make it 5-2.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks misjudged third baseman Evan Longoria's pop and it landed for two bases to start the sixth. Rodriguez homered with one out.

Seven of Rodriguez's eight hits this season have been for extra bases.

The Red Sox wasted a first-inning scoring chance in the nightcap. That got Archer into a groove, but he went off the tracks in the fifth.

Three walks, a two-out hit batter with the bases loaded and the Ortiz single made it 3-2. First baseman Mike Napoli's RBI single scored another run and ended Archer's night.

In the afternoon game, five Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a six-hitter and designated hitter David DeJesus drove in both runs -- with a home run and bases-loaded walk as the Rays made a loser of Boston starter Jake Peavy (1-1).

The key moment of the opener came when Pedroia was called out at the plate on what would have been the tying run in the seventh inning. Replays were inconclusive. Peavy later ripped the new system, saying, "I know what I see. You can't talk me into anything different. You see what you see -- Dustin Pedroia was clearly safe, albeit close, clearly safe. I don't know what else to say."

NOTES: The Red Sox scored their only run in the opener in the first inning, just their fifth first-inning run of the season. ... Rays DH David DeJesus, still not playing the outfield because of a sore shoulder, began the day 4-for-25 lifetime against RHP Jake Peavy, but he homered and drew a bases-loaded walk his first two times up in Game 1. ... Tampa Bay LHP Cesar Ramos started the day game and worked the first 4 2/3 innings, walking six and striking out six. ... LHP David Price opens the Rays' three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, while RHP Clay Buchholz opens Boston's three-game home set against the Oakland A's. ... The announced crowd for the day game was 35,621, but there was only about half of that in attendance. ... Under the rule that permits each team to add a player for the nightcaps of day-night doubleheaders, the Rays recalled RHP Brad Boxberger and the Red Sox promoted LHP Drake Britton. Boxberger entered in relief in the nightcap.
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