The Boston Red Sox took full control of the series and put the Tampa Bay Rays on the brink of elimination with a 7-4 victory on Saturday.
Boston’s relentless offensive attack was the story again, jumping on David Price for two runs in the first inning and then adding on bit-by-bit as the game progressed. The Rays had few answers in Boston, but they’ll need to find some that stick as they head home for an elimination game on Monday.
Of course, the one thing they won't lack is confidence. That starts at the top with manager Joe Maddon.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) October 6, 2013
• Jacoby Ellsbury ignited Boston's offense immediately with a lead-off single and a stolen base that resulted in a throwing error. He trotted home with the game's first run on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly. Ellsbury followed with a 95-foot bloop double just over the head of Evan Longoria to score David Ross in the third, and a single in the fifth to finish 3-for-3 with three runs. Pedroia knocked him in all three times.
• David Ortiz provided the thump, book-ending Boston's victory with solo home runs in the first and eight innings. Both came off David Price.
• Like Game 1 starter Matt Moore, left-hander David Price was coming off a strong regular season against the Red Sox, specifically at Fenway Park, where he posted a 1.21 ERA in three starts. Unfortunately, just like Moore, Price's success didn't carry over into the postseason as Boston's offense tagged him for seven earned runs in seven plus innings. Price did do well to avoid the big inning and save Tampa's bullpen, but this wasn't the outing he envisioned.
• Wil Myers followed a tough Game 1 with a tougher Game 2, going 0-for-5.
Ben Zobrist had two chances to be a hero and came up short both times. With runners on first and second in the fifth inning, John Lackey struck him out looking on a pitch very similar to the one Gerrit Cole used to fool Carlos Beltran in St. Louis. Pitch trax showed it just inside, but it was in too-close-to-take territory.
Two innings later, Zobrist came up again with two runners on and one out, only to hit into a slick 4-6-3 inning-ending double play. Tampa was down two runs in each at-bat, making those their two best chances to get back in the game.
As a team, the Rays grounded into four double plays.
• David Ortiz had never homered in 37 career regular season at-bats against David Price.
• The multi-homer game was Ortiz's first in 68 career postseason games.
• Ortiz's 14 postseason home runs are the tenth most in MLB history.
• Is there any way the Rays can slow down Boston's offense?
• The continued dominance of David Ortiz.
The series shifts to Tropicana Field on Monday for a do-or-die elimination game. The Rays will put their fate in the hands of Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76), who pitched them to victory in the wild card game in Cleveland. Boston counters with Clay Buccholz (12-1, 1.74). First pitch is slated for 6:07 p.m. ET.