Closing Time: A.J. Pierzynski's 10th-inning triple gives Red Sox last laugh against Rays

May 30, 2014 - 7:08 pm
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The rivalry kept on going, and so did the Red Sox' winning streak. On a night the Sox and Rays saw their benches clear once again, it was John Farrell's team that got the last laugh this time, claiming a walk-off, 3-2 win over Tampa Bay, Friday night at Fenway Park. The win handed the Red Sox their fifth straight victory. A.J. Pierzynski launched a run-scoring triple in the 10th inning, scoring Jonny Gomes for the Red Sox' fourth walk-off win of the season. The Pierzynski blast was launched into the right-center field gap, where Tampa Bay center fielder Desmond Jennings collided with right fielder Wil Myers, allowing the ball to skip into the center field triangle. Also proving pivotal once again for the Sox was Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts wasn'€™t fazed by one of the most dominant starters in the league, David Price. The shortstop managed to go 2-for-4 against Price (three hits in all) with a single and a double that knotted the game, 2-2. Jackie Bradley Jr. got things started in the seventh with a single that went under the glove of shortstop Yunel Escobar. Brock Holt was unable to get a bunt down to advance the runner, but that didn'€™t matter much once Bogaerts came to the plate. The 21-year-old took an 0-1 changeup high off the Wall, bringing Bradley in all the way from first without a problem. Bogaerts is now 4-for-8 against Price in his career. With another three hits on Friday night, Bogaerts is batting .440 with six doubles and two home runs over his last 13 games. The shortstop did it on defense as well on Friday, making an outstanding play in the top of the eighth, sliding to his left to field a Ben Zobrist grounder up the middle and making a strong throw to nab him at first. Prior to the first game of the series between the Rays and Red Sox, Rays'€™ skipper Joe Maddon insisted that the skirmish between the clubs that had taken place last weekend in St. Petersburg was a thing of the past, claiming it was a '€œtotally dead issue'€ and that they had '€œkind of forgot about it.'€ Friday night'€™s showdown proved otherwise. Warnings were issued to both benches in the first inning, after Price'€™s first pitch to David Ortiz - a 94-mile-per-hour fastball - drilled the Red Sox designated hitter in the side. Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected almost immediately when he came out to argue the warnings. Tempers would flare again in the bottom of the fourth, when with a runner on second and two men out, Mike Carp was hit with a pitch. Just an inning before, Xander Bogaerts nearly got plunked with a high heater down around his thigh, but he was able to get out of the way. Benches emptied, and Ortiz had to be restrained by Rays catcher Jose Molina as he charged towards Price from the dugout. As the scuffle died down with no punches thrown, acting manager Torey Lovullo was ejected. Third base coach Brian Butterfield took the managerial reigns, with first base coach Arnie Beyeler moving over to the third base box. With one out and 1-0 count on Evan Longoria, Workman launched a cutter high and behind the batter, resulting in his immediate ejection as well as the ejection of Butterfield. The Red Sox used a total of four managers on the night, a group that included Farrell, Lovullo, Butterfield, and finally Greg Colbrunn. After a rough first inning in which he tossed 28 pitches and allowed a double and RBI single, Workman actually settled into a decent outing. The 25-year-old allowed just four hits and two runs in his 5 1/3 innings of work, and bounced back from an ugly pitch count in the first to throw no more than 15 pitches in any subsequent inning. Though he may have left the game a little prematurely thanks to the pitch he tossed behind Longoria, Workman threw 89 pitches on the night with 51 going for strikes (57 percent). Workman had trouble locating all of his pitches at times, but effectively mixed in his offspeed offerings after he began losing fastball velocity in the later innings. While Workman began the game with his fastball sitting in the high-90'€™s and occasionally touching 93 or 94 mph, by the fourth inning it sat around 88-89 mph. He relied more heavily on his change and curve in his last couple innings of work. The righty walked three and struck out four. Three of his strikeouts came on the curve ball. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX - Junichi Tazawa was lights-out in his inning of work, retiring the side in order while fanning one. The righty hasn't allowed a run in his last seven appearances, striking out eight in seven innings. Koji Uehara followed up with a spotless ninth. - Burke Badenhop continued his impressive run, reliving Workman in the sixth and inducing a line-drive double play with one out in the inning. Though he walked one in his second inning of work (as well as completed the walk that Workman had already gotten started before he was ejected), Badenhop held the Rays scoreless through an inning and two-thirds. - Ortiz drove in the Red Sox'€™ first run, sending a sharp liner into left field for a single, bringing in Dustin Pedroia. He finished the evening going 1-for-3. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX - Brock Holt was stymied by Price, going 0-for-4  against the lefty with three strikeouts atop the Red Sox order, including a tough at-bat in which he was unable to get a bunt down in the seventh inning with no outs and a runner on first. Holt is generally a force to be reckoned with against lefties; prior to Friday night, he had hit for a .429 average against southpaws, good for best in the majors among players with more than 25 plate appearances. - Jonny Gomes stranded four runners on base and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on the evening. - Grady Sizemore went 0-for-3 with a strikeout while leaving three men on base. He also misplayed the first hit of the game, a double off the bat of David DeJesus that wrapped around the funky corner in right field by the Pesky Pole, letting the ball squirt by him, which led to DeJesus taking an extra base. He would eventually score the game'€™s first run.

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