The Red Sox fell to the Rays 8-6 Thursday thanks to a poor pitching performance from Daisuke Matsuzaka and a bizarre ninth inning.
The Red Sox were hoping from a bounce back start from Daisuke Matsuzaka after a mediocre beginning to spring. Unfortunately, Daisuke provided anything but.
It all started with Daisuke Matsuzaka being what we have sadly come to expect. The first batter of the game, Ben Zobrist? A walk. The second batter of the game, Johnny Damon? A walk. The third, Evan Longoria? An RBI single.
But wait! There’s more!
After a sacrifice fly brought in a second run in the first, Daisuke brought his talents to inning number two. There were no walks this time, and only one hit, but that one, coming off the bat of Jon Jaso, did not come back, making it 3-0 Tampa Bay.
The third inning was a lot like the first, except this time Zobrist and Damon doubled before being brought in by Matt Joyce’s singled. When all was said and done for Daisuke, there were two outs in the fourth inning, and five runs on the board.
The Red Sox offense responded, though, to come within one run by the sixth inning.
A few singles in the fifth inning had brought the first run in before the Sox turned on the power in the sixth. Carl Crawford led off the inning with a single, and moved to third on Kevin Youkilis’ double. Nate Spears kept the pattern going with a two-out triple, scoring both runners before coming home himself on Tim Federowicz’ base hit.
The teams traded scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth to set up a decisive ninth. What followed was one of the more bizarre frames in this year’s spring training.
On a 3-1 count, Brandon Gomes delivered a fastball down the middle. Tejeda took advantage, belting one deep to center field. Desmond Jennings fired back into the infield. The relay throw went to third, where Tejeda was looking for his third triple of the spring…and where no Rays were covering the bag. Hesitating at third as Gomes ran to grab the loose ball, Tejeda turned home, and was just barely caught at the plate.
Except none of that mattered. The second base umpire was pointing out to the stands. The ball was gone, and the score was tied at five-all. Drew Sutton quickly added another to the Sox’ total by blasting a rather more obvious home run of his own.
Entering the bottom of the inning with a 6-5 lead, the Sox just needed three more outs from Alfredo Aceves. They would only get one. Desmond Jennings quickly scored to tie the game after leading off the inning with a single and being doubled home by former Red Sox Casey Kotchman, who then scored the winning run on Robinson Chirinos’ walk-off bomb to left, leaving the final at 8-6, Rays.
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