ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Joe Maddon's penchant for understatement was as keen as the Tampa Bay Rays' penchant for postseason survival Monday at Tropicana Field.
"What an interesting, wonderful game to stay solvent with," the manager said after Tampa Bay prolonged its American League Division Series with the Boston Red Sox on Jose Lobaton's two-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 against Koji Uehara.
The 5-4 victory gives the Rays four wins in elimination games in eight days. Game 4 of the ALDS is scheduled for Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
Lobaton's first career postseason walk-off hit landed in the petting tank of rays beyond the right field fence. The catcher was in the game as part of a double switch when Maddon earlier invalidated the designated hitter with a defensive move because starting right fielder Wil Myers was forced to leave the game because of cramps.
"It's unbelievable. It's something you can't explain," Lobaton said. "We never give up. We're going to keep fighting."
Uehera did not allow a home run to any of his previous 142 batters, but Lobaton, who hit seven homers this season, blasted an 0-1 splitter to a rarely reached landmark at Tropicana Field.
"It's something that's in the past already, so I'm not going to think about it," Uehara said through an interpreter.
Tampa Bay earlier overcame a 3-0 deficit -- the comeback largest in franchise postseason history -- on an Evan Longoria three-run homer in the fifth inning. The Rays scored a go-ahead run in the eighth when Boston's defense imploded. Each team scored a run in the ninth inning.
"Tomorrow night, we will be ready to go," Boston manager John Farrell said. "We knew coming in this would be a hard-fought series."
The Rays led 4-3 going into the top of the ninth, but an RBI groundout by Dustin Pedroia tied the game off Rodney. The Red Sox put the first two runners on and advanced them to second and third with one out before Pedroia, who was 0-for-5 lifetime against Rodney, grounded to shortstop.
Rodney was credited with the win.
James Loney (3-for-3) began the Rays' eighth-inning rally with a leadoff walk. Pinch runner Sam Fuld moved to second when Desmond Jennings beat out a bunt as Boston first baseman Mike Napoli couldn't cover the bag in time to take a throw from reliever Franklin Morales.
With one out, Boston second baseman Pedroia slid headlong into shortstop Stephen Drew as Drew was tried to field what appeared to be a potential double-play grounder, loading the bases. Pinch hitter Delmon Young then fought off new reliever Brandon Workman's first pitch and hit a grounder to first base, but Napoli -- obviously frustrated -- could not make a play on Fuld, who scored the lead run. Farrell said he didn't believe Napoli gripped the ball well enough to attempt a throw home.
Rays starter Alex Cobb allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with five strikeouts in five innings. Red Sox counterpart Clay Buchholz couldn't hold a 3-0 lead, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings.
In a game of missed opportunities in the early innings for both teams, the Red Sox took what felt like a huge 3-0 lead with a two-run outburst in the fifth off Cobb.
Jacoby Ellsbury (3-for-5) led off with a double and took third when it was ruled he beat a throw from shortstop Yunel Escobar on a Shane Victorino grounder deep into the hole. Rays third baseman Longoria tagged Ellsbury on the leg. Ellsbury scored on a wild pitch, and Victorino came across for a 3-0 lead on a one-out single by David Ortiz.
The lead didn't last an inning. Longoria tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, walloping an 0-1 pitch from Buchholz just over the wall down the left field line for a three-run homer. Escobar, who led off with a single, and David DeJesus, on with a double, scored on the Longoria's first homer of this postseason and franchise-best ninth in the playoffs.
Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with an unearned run off Cobb. Ellsbury led off with a single and took second when Victorino was hit by a pitch. Ellsbury advanced to third on a potential double-play grounder by Pedroia and scored on the play when second baseman Ben Zobrist threw wildly to first after forcing out Victorino.
The Red Sox squandered a prime chance in the fourth inning, failing to score after Ortiz led off with a walk and took second on a Mike Napoli walk. Ortiz took third on a deep flyout by Daniel Nava, but Cobb struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the second straight time and retired Drew on a grounder to end the inning. Drew nearly made something of the inning, but his liner down the right field line curled foul.
NOTES: Longoria's three-run homer ended Buchholz's run of 17 consecutive scoreless innings against Tampa Bay. ... Tampa Bay has two walk-off postseason wins, both against Boston. ... Before Monday, the Rays had lost four straight postseason home games, their last win coming in Game 2 of the 2008 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. ... Both Cobb (26) and Longoria (28) had birthdays on Monday. It was the 13th time in major league history a pitcher made a postseason start on his birthday, and the first since 2003. Longoria became the second player to homer in the postseason on his birthday. ... The Red Sox lost their fourth consecutive postseason road game dating to the 2008 AL Championship Series against the Rays. ... Rays LHP David Price issued a "deep apology" for calling two TBS analysts "nerds" in a Twitter rant Saturday after allowing seven runs in a Game 2 loss at Boston.