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Rays-Red Sox notebook: Lobaton emulates Maz

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays' ninth-inning, walk-off home run to win Game 3 of the American League Division Series was not only riveting. It also was historic.

In pushing the Rays past the Boston Red Sox, 5-4, Tampa Bay catcher Jose Lobaton joined elite company: Bill Mazeroski.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Monday's win was just the second in postseason history in which a team took a lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, lost it in the top of the ninth and won it in the bottom of the inning. The other time: Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.

In that game, Pittsburgh trailed the Yankees 7-4 entering the bottom of the eighth but scored five times for a 9-7 lead, only to allow two runs in the top of the ninth.

Mazeroski's solo homer off Ralph Terry won the game and the World Series for the Pirates.

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The Red Sox entered Tuesday's game leading the postseason with five stolen bases, including two Monday, one by Jacoby Ellsbury and one by pinch runner Quintin Berry. They were successful on their past 44 attempts since Aug. 9.

Ellsbury became the first American League player to steal a base in each of his team's first three postseason games since Johnny Damon did so for Boston in 2004.

"The bottom line is we try to outline things for guys that they have a hundred percent assurance in their own mind that they can steal a base," Boston manager John Farrell said. "And we outline what unloading times would give them that ability, too.

"It's a matter of having our communication in the moment, that they know what the keys are on a given pitcher and they know what the times are with the combination of the guy behind the plate and the guy on the mound. And then it's the trust in themselves that they can get there. But our success rate probably says that we've been doing OK at that, but more importantly, it's the buy in from the players."

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Former outfielder Rocco Baldelli, a one-time building block of a then-woeful Rays organization that was felled by numerous injuries, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday.

The native of Woonsocket, R.I., was drafted by and played parts of six seasons for the Rays -- including the 2008 American League championship campaign -- but his career was ultimately ended by a mitochondrial disorder. He retired at age 29 after several attempted comebacks, the last in 2010.

Baldelli played for the Red Sox in 2009, and he returned to the Rays in 2010. He is currently a member of the Tampa Bay front office. He played just 519 big-league games and was a .278 hitter. Baldelli admitted before the game he had not played catch for three season, making him a bit worried about his pitch.

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Rays right fielder Wil Myers returned to the lineup one night after being removed in the eighth inning and receiving intravenous fluids for leg cramps.
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