Just like the first two games of this series, the balls were flying out of Fenway. Tonight, unfortunately, they were mostly off of Matt Garza. The Rays and Red Sox combined to score 52 runs in this three game series, more than tripling the total the last time these teams met in August.
The story of the game--at least according to ESPN--will be Tim Wakefield becoming the oldest player to get a win for the Sox. Of course I'm biased, but color me unimpressed. Wakefield allowed five runs in five innings on six hits and two walks. He struck out four. The Rays started off the night on a good note when John Jaso scored on an Evan Longoria sac fly in the first inning. The Rays would add three more runs on a BJ Upton laser beam over the monster in the second. Dustin Pedroia could be seen in the dugout taking notes for his next "laser show." Wakefield is going to get some praise tonight's game, but it wasn't as much his win as it was Matt Garza's loss.
Garza summoned his inner James Shields tonight, working mostly fast-change. He threw the fastball 76% of the time tonight and averaged about 94MPH. Despite the abundance of heat, Garza didn't fool the Red Sox hitters, generating only ONE swinging strike (on a change-up) in 107 pitches. When you're not blowing it by anyone, a straight fastball just isn't going to miss many bats.
Oh yeah, Garza also surrendered four of the Sox five homeruns: A two run blast by Adrian Beltre in the second, solo-shots by Scutaro and Ortiz in the third, and a game-tying shot to right center by Victor Martinez in the fifth. Garza was pulled with one out and a runner on in the fifth in favor of Chad Qualls who promptly gave up an RBI double to Ryan Kalish that would serve as the game's deciding run and award Wakefield this "historic" feat. Garza's final line: 4.1 IP, 9H, 2BB, 6ER, 1K... 4 HR.
The loss puts the Rays 2.5 games back of the Yanks and 6.5 ahead of the Red Sox in the wild card. The White Sox also lost today putting them 7 back in the wild card. Bullets after the jump.
- On the subject of Ryan Kalish's RBI double: Clearly Crawford could have made that catch at the Trop, but on replay it seemed that he could have made it up against the Monster, too. The ball hit low enough on the wall to make a play at, but Crawford pulled up to play the carom. I'm not indicting Crawford for a lack of effort, but that's two hits off the left field wall (the other being last Sunday against Baltimore) that Crawford has shied away from contact on. On the whole, it's probably a good thing that Crawford doesn't suffer an injury and possibly miss October, but either one of those plays could be game changing outs.
- The Rays got out of a jam in the sixth when Eric Patterson and Victor Martinez got caught standing on third base. Jaso tagged both Patterson (lead runner) and Martinez (trail runner). By rule, the trail runner is out, but Patterson, thinking he was out, jogged off the bag and was tagged out by Randy Choate. This was my favorite defensive play when I played ball. We'd always try to trick the lead runner off of the bag and pull this, but it almost never worked. Nice to see that, even at the highest level, (Red Sox) players can still make boneheaded mental errors.