photo credit: Getty Images
Jose Lobaton is greeted at home plate by his teammates after his walk-off home run gave the Tampa Bay Rays a 5-4 win and forced Game 4 of the American League Division Series.
by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
Spot your opponent, who already won the first two games in the best-of-five series, three runs. Have your star third baseman hit a three-run homer (on his birthday no less) to tie the game. Break the tie thanks to a player who wasn't on the roster until September. Blow the lead with your closer on the mound, and finally win it thanks to a home run in the bottom of the ninth by your backup off arguably the best closer in the league this year.
Sounds fitting for the Tampa Bay Rays, who did exactly that to take Game 3 of the American League Division series with a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Boston wasted little time taking the lead, as Jacoby Ellsbury flared a single to left field, took second after starter Alex Cobb hit Shane Victorino with a pitch, and scored when Ben Zobrist's relay on a possible double play ground ball by Dustin Pedroia went awry for a 1-0 advantage.
The Red Sox added two more in the fifth, as Ellsbury doubled with one out, moved to third on Victorino's infield hit, and scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0, and Ortiz's single brought in Victorino to make it 3-0.
Tampa Bay rallied in the bottom of the inning, as Yunel Escobar legged out an infield hit off Clay Buchholz to start the frame, and moved to third two batters later on a double by David DeJesus. Ben Zobrist popped out for the second out, but Longoria then blasted his first home run of the postseason into the seats in left to tie the game.
The game remained deadlocked until the bottom of the eighth, when the Rays loaded the bases on Franklin Morales and Brandon Workman before Delmon Young's groundout scored pinch-runner Sam Fuld to make it 4-3.
The lead did not last, as Fernando Rodney promptly gave it up in the top of the ninth thanks to an RBI groundout by Pedroia, scoring pinch-runner Xander Bogaerts.
Boston went to closer Koji Uehara, who retired Zobrist and Longoria to start the inning before Jose Lobaton homered into the Ray Tank in center field to end the game.
The Red Sox still lead the best-of-five series two games to one.
Game 4 will be played Tuesday, when Jeremy Hellickson takes on Jake Peavy. First pitch is scheduled for 8:37, with pregame coverage starting at 7:30 on 620 WDAE and 95.3 FM with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.