ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBS) — The game of baseball can give you so many twists and turns. One minute you’re on top of the world feeling invincible and the next thing you know … here comes adversity and doubt.
Welcome to the ALDS.
The Red Sox entered Game 3 with a tremendous amount of confidence. After all, they had topped Tampa in Games 1 and 2 in Boston, outscoring the Rays 19-6. They also had Clay Buchholz on the mound, as in 12-1 Clay Buchholz, who hadn’t give up a run in 13 innings in 2013 to the Rays.
However, with one swing of the bat, the Rays got back into the game and series.
With two on and two out, Evan Longoria, who was 7-for-36 at that moment vs. Buchholz lifetime, lifted a home run to left. When the ball first left the bat I thought it was a warning track fly ball out. It looked like Daniel Nava thought he had a chance at it too, but the ball just kept going and out it went. Tie ballgame.
After that, both teams plated runs. The Rays got theirs in the eighth on a walk, a perfectly placed bunt single to Franklin Morales, a strange infield single up the middle where a diving Dustin Pedroia impeded Stephen Drew’s attempt to get to second base for a force out, and then an RBI ground out to Mike Napoli — a play that looked like Napoli couldn’t get a grip on quickly enough to throw home for a force there — so he got an out at first. 4-3 Rays. Weird inning,
The Sox got their run in the top of the ninth. A walk to Will Middlebrooks, a single by Jacoby Ellsbury, and a sac bunt by Shane Victorino put runners on second and third with one out. Dustin Pedroia, who was 0-for-5 lifetime vs. closer Fernando Rodney, tied it back up with a hard hit ground out to short.
On to the bottom of the ninth and with two outs, light-hitting backup catcher Jose Lobaton lifted a Koji Uehara split out of the park for an improbable walk-off win. It was the first home run that the untouchable Uehara had given up since June 30th. Shocking. David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both said afterwards that it just showed that Uehara’s human (and not from another planet). Uehara looked devastated. Amazing how that sense of doubt slightly creeps back in if you’re a Sox fan.
Everyone stood and faced the music after the game to discuss what had happened. No one hid. John Farrell explained his thought process on the various moves made as well.
And now we get to see if the Sox can bounce back. They’ve responded to adversity before.
Jake Peavy gets the ball tonight in Game 4. We know he’ll compete and give you everything he’s got. He also welcomes the opportunity. I’m sure Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson is excited too.
Tip your cap to the Rays for the win last night and get ready for tonight.
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.