ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 14: Pitcher David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays starts against the Boston Red Sox July 14, 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
In the seventh inning, the Rays trailed the Red Sox 2-3. Clay Buchholz was cruising in his first start back from the DL, but somehow the Rays were able to score two runs and take the lead... all without an official at-bat.
Luke Scott drew a walk to lead off the inning and Jeff Keppinger followed by getting hit by a pitch on the hand. Desmond Jennings sacrificed for second time of the night to move the runners to second and third. Next came a bit of gamemanship: Sawks manager Bobby Valentine pulled Buchholz in favor of Matt Albers. Joe Maddon opted to pull the right-handed Jose Molina for the left-handed hitting Hideki Matsui. Bobby V then decided to intentionally walk Matsui and load the bases in order to face the right-hander Sean Rodriguez. Joe Maddon, exchanged Rodriguez for the switch-hitter Jose Lobaton who, batting from the left, drew a walk to plate Luke Scott. Elliot Johnson then hit a sac-fly to center to score Kepp and put the Rays on top 4-3.
So, to recap: Walk, hit-by-pitch, sac bunt, intentional walk, walk, sac fly. That's how you score two runs without recording an official at bat.
Gosh! Baseball is so easy.
More after the jump...
David Price pitched up to his all-star status tonight, allowing three runs (two earned) in seven-and-one-third-innings for his twelfth win of the year. He allowed six hits and three walks while striking out eight on 120 pitches (12 swinging strikes).
The Velociraptor Jesus found himself in a few jams tonight, but got by with a little help from his friends. His biggest pitching mistake came in the fourth inning with Ortiz on base, on an 0-2 not-quite-inside-enough fastball that Will Middlebrooks turned on and deposited into the left-centerfield stands. He also dug himself into a hole in the sixth by allowing Cody Ross to score on an errant pickoff throw to third.
But, it was in the fifth, that the Rays D came through for Price. After Price walked Kelly Shoppach to lead off the inning, he allowed a single to Lillibridge, a line-out by Nava, and another single by Ellsbury to load the bases with one out. Pedro
Cerrano Ciriaco struck a possible sac-fly to right, but Ben Zobrist made a great throw to gun down Shoppach at home. We all know that Shop isn't the fastest out there, but it was more about Zobrist's perfect throw than Shop's lead feet.
B.J. Upton would add on to the Rays score in the eighth with a piss missile down the left field line. I've missed that sound of Upton running into a fastball and crushing it to left.