Red Sox-Rays Live: Koji Uehara Closes Out Rays, Sox Advance to ALCS With 3-1 Victory

Dustin PedroiaFinal, Red Sox 3-1: The Boston Red Sox are moving on to the ALCS.

Koji Uehara recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning, and the Red Sox have defeated the Rays in four games.

The Rays struck first in Game 4 at Tropicana Field, as David DeJesus knocked in Yunel Escobar with an RBI single in the sixth inning.

The Red Sox responded with two runs in the seventh inning to grab a 2-1 lead.

John Farrell called upon Xander Bogaerts to pinch hit for Stephen Drew with one out in the seventh, and the 21-year-old worked a six-pitch walk. Bogaerts then went from first to third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s two-out single, and scored when Joel Peralta unleashed a wild pitch with Shane Victorino batting. Victorino gave the Red Sox the lead by legging out an infield single on a slow roller to short.

The Red Sox added one more run in the ninth inning when Fernando Rodney struggled to find the strike zone. Rodney walked Bogaerts and Ellsbury, and then plunked Victorino. That loaded the bases for Dustin Pedroia, who provided a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring.

Uehara retired Wil Myers, James Loney and Evan Longoria in order in the ninth inning to finish off his four-out save. Longoria, who knocked the Red Sox out of the playoffs with a home run on the final day of the regular season in 2011, struck out to end the ballgame.

Jake Peavy went 5 2/3 innings and didn’t factor in the decision, but was terrific. Peavy gave up just one run on five hits and struck out three before handing the ball to the bullpen, which came up huge in the victory. Craig Breslow struck out four in 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and Junichi Tazawa struck out the only batter he faced before giving way to Uehara in the eighth inning.

The Rays, meanwhile, used nine pitchers in the losing effort, as Joe Maddon yanked starter Jeremy Hellickson in the second inning after the righty loaded the bases with no outs.

The Red Sox will now play either the Tigers or the Athletics in the ALCS. The Tigers and A’s will play a decisive Game 5 in Oakland on Thursday, and the ALCS will kick off in Boston on Saturday.

Good night, everyone.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 3-1: Here we go.

David Ortiz grounded into the shift to end the top of the ninth inning, and Koji Uehara comes back out. The Red Sox are three outs away from punching their ticket to the ALCS.

Wil Myers, James Loney and Evan Longoria are due up for Tampa Bay.

12:19 a.m., Red Sox 3-1: The Red Sox have added an insurance run.

Dustin Pedroia knocked in Xander Bogaerts with a sacrifice fly to right field. Jacoby Ellsbury took third base on the play, and we’ll have yet another pitching change.

Wesley Wright will be the ninth Rays pitcher used in this game. He’s the last member of the bullpen to pitch, so if this game happens to go to extra innings, it’s possible that we’ll see David Price.

12:16 a.m., Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox have loaded the bases in the ninth inning.

Fernando Rodney issued walks to Xander Bogaerts and Jacoby Ellsbury, and then plunked Shane Victorino.

Joe Maddon will now call upon Chris Archer with the bags packed, one out and Dustin Pedroia coming up.

End 8th, Red Sox 2-1: Koji Uehara struck out David DeJesus to cap the eighth inning, and the Red Sox are now three defensive outs away from advancing to the ALCS.

DeJesus worked the count full against Uehara, but the right-hander put him away with a trademark splitter.

Yunel Escobar was the inning’s only baserunner. He reached with one out on a ground ball up the middle. Xander Bogaerts, who pinch hit for Stephen Drew in the seventh inning, made a great diving stop, but he had no chance to throw out Escobar.

Junichi Tazawa took over for Craig Breslow after Escobar’s infield single, and he struck out Matt Joyce. Uehara ended the inning with his punchout.

Uehara, of course, will be back out in the ninth inning. It’ll be a huge moment for the Red Sox closer. Uehara is seeking to overcome Monday’s loss and put Boston one step closer to the ultimate prize.

Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury are due up in the top of the ninth.

11:56 p.m., Red Sox 2-1: Junichi Tazawa struck out Matt Joyce.

Koji Uehara will now enter and try to record a four-out save. He’ll first face David DeJesus.

11:49 p.m., Red Sox 2-1: Junichi Tazawa will take over with one on and one out in the eighth inning.

Yunel Escobar reached via an infield single. Sean Rodriguez was then announced as a pinch hitter for Jose Lobaton. Once the Red Sox made the move for Tazawa, Matt Joyce was announced as a pinch hitter for Rodriguez.

It’ll be Tazawa versus Joyce when action resumes.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox’ stolen-base streak ended in the eighth inning.

The Sox had swiped 45 straight bases, and had not been caught since Aug. 9. Daniel Nava was thrown out in the eighth inning on a failed hit-and-run attempt.

Nava walked on eight pitches with one out in the eighth. He fouled off three pitches in a row before laying off a 3-2 splitter.

The Red Sox, in a curious move, put a hit-and-run on with David Ross at the plate. Ross swung and missed, and Nava was thrown out by a mile at second base. Ross ended up striking out.

Craig Breslow, who struck out all four hitters he has faced thus far, will come back out for the eighth inning.

End 7th, Red Sox 2-1: Heck of a job — again — by Craig Breslow.

Breslow struck out the side in the seventh inning, and has struck out all four batters he has faced in this game.

Evan Longoria, Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings all struck out swinging in the seventh. Longoria and Myers both unsuccessfully attempted to check their swings.

Myers was particularly upset about the call on his check swing, and Joe Maddon even came out for a conversation with home plate umpire Paul Emmel.

There’s a chance that we could see Breslow again in the eighth inning, as John Farrell appeared to have a conversation with the left-hander after he returned to the Red Sox’ dugout.

It’s also worth noting that David Ross took over behind the plate in the seventh inning. Jonny Gomes pinch hit for Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the top half of the inning.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox rallied to take the lead in the seventh inning.

Jonny Gomes pinch hit for Jarrod Saltalamacchia to lead off the seventh inning against left-hander Jake McGee. Gomes flied out to center field.

John Farrell then called upon Xander Bogaerts to pinch hit for Stephen Drew in a surprising move. Farrell opted not to pinch hit Bogaerts for Drew with McGee on the mound in the eighth inning of Monday’s game, and later defended the decision. It’ll be interesting to see why he changed course and turned to Bogaerts in the seventh inning of this game.

In any event, Bogaerts worked a six-pitch walk. The rookie then went from first to third when Jacoby Ellsbury dropped a single into right-center field.

Joe Maddon turned to Joel Peralta with Shane Victorino coming up, runners at the corners and two outs. Peralta immediately uncorked a wild pitch with Ellsbury running. Bogaerts scored from third base with the tying run as Ellsbury advanced all the way to third base.

Shane Victorino then hit a slow roller to short. Yunel Escobar charged it, but Victorino beat out his throw at first base to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Victorino was visibly fired up upon crossing the bag, as was the Red Sox’ dugout.

Craig Breslow will come back out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

11:08 p.m., Rays 1-0: John Farrell made an interesting move in the seventh inning — one he didn’t make in the eighth inning of Monday’s game.

Farrell called upon Xander Bogaerts to pinch hit for Stephen Drew against lefty Jake McGee. Bogaerts worked a six-pitch walk, and then went from first to third when Jacoby Ellsbury singled into right-center field with two outs.

Joe Maddon will now turn to Joel Peralta with Shane Victorino coming up.

End 6th, Rays 1-0: Craig Breslow struck out James Loney to complete the sixth inning. But the Rays have the upper hand.

Yunel Escobar led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double, and David DeJesus knocked him in with a one-out RBI single.

Jake Peavy’s night ended after 5 2/3 innings. He gave up just the one run on five hits while striking out three. Peavy didn’t walk anyone, and threw 74 pitches (49 strikes) before exiting.

Peavy was very good, but simply didn’t get any run support. Jake McGee will now enter for Tampa Bay.

10:47 p.m., Rays 1-0: The Rays have struck first in Game 4.

Yunel Escobar led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double to left field. The ball banged off the wall, and just missed being a home run by a few feet.

Escobar advanced to third base when Jose Lobaton grounded out to the right side. It was essentially the same thing as a sacrifice bunt, and the Red Sox pulled the infield in with Escobar on third base and only one out.

David DeJesus broke the scoreless tie with a line drive single into right field.

Jake Peavy retired Wil Myers on a flyout to left field, and John Farrell will now turn to the bullpen. Craig Breslow is coming in to pitch with the left-handed-hitting James Loney coming up.

Mid 6th, 0-0: Alex Torres came back out and tossed a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava went down in order against Torres, who was on for his second inning of work.

Ortiz grounded into right field, where Ben Zobrist, who was deep because of the shift, made the play.

Napoli flied out center field, and Nava struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt.

End 5th, 0-0: While Joe Maddon continues to piece together his pitching puzzle, Jake Peavy continues to roll along for the Red Sox.

Peavy tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. He needed just nine pitches to take care of business, and he has only thrown 56 pitches through five innings.

Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings and Kelly Johnson went down in order in the fifth inning. Zobrist and Jennings both flied out, and Johnson struck out swinging on a changeup low.

Zobrist’s fly ball into shallow left-center field almost caused some trouble, as both Daniel Nava and Jacoby Ellsbury raced after it. But it was Nava who ultimately made an awkward catch while avoiding a collision.

Mid 5th, 0-0: The Red Sox put a couple of runners on against Alex Torres in the fifth inning. But we’re still scoreless.

Will Middlebrooks reached with a one-out single, and was then replaced on the bases by Jacoby Ellsbury, who grounded into a forceout. Ellsbury hit a ground ball to short that Yunel Escobar fielded on the backhand. Escobar tossed to second base to retire Middlebrooks, but Ellsbury beat out Ben Zobrist’s relay throw to first base.

Shane Victorino made it first and second when he was plunked on his right elbow. The ball appeared to catch a lot of the plate, but it was high, and it drilled Victorino on the back elbow.

Dustin Pedroia had a chance to put Boston on the scoreboard with the speedy Ellsbury in scoring position, but he couldn’t cash in. Pedroia grounded to second base for the third out.

End 4th, 0-0: For the second straight inning, Jake Peavy benefited from a double play ball.

Wil Myers led off with a high chopper over the second base bag. Dustin Pedroia made a backhanded play, but he had no chance of throwing out Myers, who reached with an infield single. Stephen Drew was actually in a much better position to make the play.

The leadoff hit didn’t affect Peavy, though. The right-hander got James Loney to hit a ground ball up the middle that Drew handled cleanly before stepping on the bag and tossing to first.

Evan Longoria grounded to third base to end the inning.

Mid 4th, 0-0: Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t cash in with two outs in the fourth inning.

Saltalamacchia struck out looking with the bases loaded in the second inning. He struck out looking with runners at first and second in the fourth.

David Ortiz ripped a single into right field with one out in the fourth, and Daniel Nava worked a two-out walk. Salty then failed to offer at a 3-2 pitch on the corner.

End 3rd, 0-0: It was as if the Red Sox said, “Gee, that looks like fun.”

The Sox had two opportunities snuffed out by double plays. So in the bottom of the third inning, they ended a Rays threat with a twin killing.

Yunel Escobar and Game 3 hero Jose Lobaton smacked back-to-back singles with one out in the third inning that put runners at first and second for the top of the Tampa Bay order. Jake Peavy then induced a big ground ball.

David DeJesus hit a bouncer back to the mound. Peavy snagged it and fired a perfect throw to second base to start an inning-ending, 1-6-3 double play.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Matt Moore — like Jamey Wright in the second inning — received a double play upon entering.

Jacoby Ellsbury hit a chopper to second base, and Ben Zobrist made the play. Will Middlebrooks stopped between first and second, prompting Zobrist to go to first with his throw. First baseman James Loney then fired to shortstop Yunel Escobar, who was covering second base, to throw out Middlebrooks.

Shane Victorino struck out swinging to end the inning. Victorino fanned on a 2-2 slider down and out of the zone.

9:24 p.m., 0-0: Game 1 starter Matt Moore is coming in to pitch.

Moore will relieve Jamey Wright, who pitched the Rays out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second inning.

Will Middlebrooks led off the third inning with a walk, and Moore will enter with the top of the Red Sox’ order coming up.

End 2nd, 0-0: Jake Peavy gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed in the second inning.

The Rays had an opportunity to use momentum to their advantage, but Peavy settled things down in a hurry. The right-hander needed just seven pitches to retire the side in order.

Evan Longoria swung at the first pitch and lifted a fly ball to center field for the first out. Daniel Nava flied out to left field, and Desmond Jennings grounded to short.

It’ll be interesting to see how Joe Maddon handles his pitching staff throughout the rest of this game now that starter Jeremy Hellickson is out.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: That couldn’t have worked out any better for Joe Maddon and the Rays.

Maddon wasted no time yanking starter Jeremy Hellickson at the first sign of trouble. The Red Sox loaded the bases on two walks and a single, and Maddon turned to Jamey Wright.

Wright faced two batters and exited the inning unscathed.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out for the inning’s first out. He got a healthy diet of offspeed pitches, and went down looking at a curveball on the outside corner.

Stephen Drew then drilled a line drive to first base. James Loney snagged it and tried to tag out Daniel Nava, who was stationed at first base. Nava dived back in safely, so Loney changed course and fired an off-balance throw to second base to double-up Mike Napoli. Yunel Escobar made a very nice scoop at second base to complete the out.

Talk about a huge, momentum-shifting double play.

9:08 p.m., 0-0: The phrase “quick hook” is an understatement.

Joe Maddon is already turning to his bullpen. Jeremy Hellickson walked David Ortiz and Mike Napoli on eight pitches, and then gave up a single to Daniel Nava.

Jamey Wright is now coming in with the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning.

End 1st, 0-0: James Loney came up a few feet short.

Loney drilled a high fly ball to left field in the first inning. It looked like it had a chance to leave the yard, but Daniel Nava drifted back to make the grab on the warning track.

The deep flyout ended a 1-2-3 first inning for Jake Peavy.

Peavy struck out David DeJesus to begin his night, and then got Wil Myers to ground back to the mound before retiring Loney to end the inning.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Jeremy Hellickson enjoyed a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning to begin his night.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a fly ball to right field, and Wil Myers made a nonchalant grab for the first out. Myers, of course, left Monday’s game with cramping in both legs.

Shane Victorino then swung at the first pitch, and popped it up to the left side. Evan Longoria put it away for the second out.

Dustin Pedroia ended the inning with a popup to Yunel Escobar behind the second base bag.

8:41 p.m.: Jeremy Hellickson delivers a first-pitch strike. We’re underway in Game 4.

8:10 p.m.: Joe Maddon also revealed that Matt Moore, who started Game 1 in Boston, will be available out of the bullpen for Tampa Bay in Game 4.

8:04 p.m.: If — and I apologize to all you Red Sox fans for even bringing up the possibility — the Rays win Game 4, David Price will pitch Game 5 in Boston on Thursday.

Price, who got rocked in Game 2, would presumably go up against Jon Lester. The Red Sox hope to make sure that a Game 5 isn’t necessary, though.

7:50 p.m.: Jake Peavy talked about his brief time in Boston on Monday, and he had some interesting things to say. Peavy has only been with the organization for a little more than two months, yet the 32-year-old already feels “emotionally attached” to the club, the fans and the front office.

Check out the link below for more on Peavy’s stint in Beantown.

Click here for Jake Peavy’s comments about playing in Boston >>

7:33 p.m.: Most times, when things don’t go your way, you want nothing more than to immediately get another crack at it. That seems to be the mood surrounding the Red Sox, who failed to put away the Rays on Monday.

As I mentioned last night, our guys are eager to get going for tonight’s first pitch and looking forward to the challenge of [Jeremy] Hellickson and their lineup,” John Farrell said Tuesday. “And Jake, we know he’ll pitch with a lot of enthusiasm. He’ll probably be screaming at himself, as we’ve seen on the mound. And it will be a matter of how we navigate through those two or three situations inside of tonight’s game that will require a big pitch to be made. This is the stage in which we acquired Jake to come in and contribute to, and we’re looking forward to him taking the mound.”

The Rays, meanwhile, are maintaining the loose mindset that has served them well in high-pressure situations. After all, the Rays have already won three elimination games this year, so the magnitude of Tuesday’s contest is nothing new.

One thing that was different about Monday’s elimination-game victory for the Rays was that it came in front of the hometown crowd. Tropicana Field actually had a playoff feel to it, and manager Joe Maddon hopes that continues into Tuesday’s Game 4.

“We love it. It’s happened quite a bit, actually. Every time it has filled up it seems to bring out the best in us,” Maddon said Tuesday. “Normally, just being honest, over the years you’ve seen a lot of other teams’ fans in the ballpark under those circumstances.

“It definitely had that pro‑Rays vibe to it last night [at Tropicana Field]. We felt it in the dugout through the entire game. It was spectacular.  We’d like to see it look like that more consistently, obviously, because it does matter. It makes a difference. But the group was great last night. We’re hoping to see a lot of the same tonight.”

5:57 p.m.: The lineup cards have been posted. Check them out below.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Jake Peavy, RHP

Rays
David DeJesus, LF
Wil Myers, RF
James Loney, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Desmond Jennings, CF
Kelly Johnson, DH
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Lobaton, C

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP

3:09 p.m.: You’ve got to have amnesia as a big league closer. Koji Uehara must put Monday’s wild finish out of his mind right away.

The talk surrounding Uehara after Monday’s loss, during which he surrendered a walk-off home run to Jose Lobaton, was that the Red Sox closer is only human. While that’s certainly the case — I, for one, agree that he was born on planet earth — it makes the loss no less shocking.

Uehara hadn’t surrendered a home run since June 30, and he only gave up one earned run over his final 37 appearances of the regular season. It seemed like a certainty that we were heading for bonus baseball once he entered with the score tied 4-4 in the ninth inning.

Baseball is a strange game, though. And now, here we are with the Rays looking to send the series back to Boston.

For more on Uehara’s shocking display of humanness and other notes from Monday’s Game 3, check out the link below.

Click here for Game 3 Red Sox notes >>

2:15 p.m.: Monday’s Game 3 included some interesting managerial decisions on both sides. That has obviously led to plenty of second guessing, because, well, hindsight is 20/20.

Two of John Farrell’s decisions during Monday’s game really stand out, though.

First, there was the decision to pitch to Evan Longoria in the fifth inning with two outs, first base open and rookie Wil Myers — who had been 0-for-12 in the series — on deck. That obviously didn’t work out, as Longoria hit a game-changing homer, but Farrell said after the game that he gave “no consideration” to issuing a free pass in that situation.

The other decision was to not pinch hit Xander Bogaerts for Stephen Drew versus lefty Jake McGee in the eighth inning with the potential go-ahead run on second base. Drew, of course, has struggled against left-handers this season, and he ended up popping out to end the inning and the threat.

Bogaerts wound up entering the game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and scored the tying run. It’ll be interesting to see whether Farrell considers giving the 21-year-old a start in Game 4, though. Will Middlebrooks, who went hitless in Monday’s game, is 2-for-10 thus far in the series, and he’s 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts in his career versus Game 4 starter Jeremy Hellickson.

8 a.m. ET: The ALDS kicked up a notch at Tropicana Field on Monday.

The Red Sox, owners of a 2-0 series lead going into the contest, jumped out to a 3-0 lead over Alex Cobb and the Rays. Everything changed, however, when Evan Longoria smacked a three-run home run, and the Rays eventually walked off with a win when Jose Lobaton hit an improbable homer off Koji Uehara with two outs in the ninth inning.

Jake Peavy and Jeremy Hellickson are now asked to step up for their respective clubs. Peavy is trying to show exactly why Boston went out and acquired him just prior to the trade deadline, and Hellickson is looking to put some 2013 struggles in the rearview mirror en route to forcing a decisive Game 5.

Peavy enters with just two career playoff starts under his belt, but the 32-year-old has been around a while, and his teammates and coaches have total confidence that he’s ready to lead the Red Sox into battle in Game 4 on Tuesday.

“Very good,” John Farrell said when asked shortly after Monday’s loss how he felt about Peavy pitching Game 4. “Another guy with playoff experience. He’s pitched well here in Tampa. He got three innings of work this past Wednesday, so even though it’s been a number of days since his last start, we’re looking forward to Jake being on the mound [Tuesday]. It’s one of the main reasons we acquired him at the deadline is to pitch in a game like [Tuesday].”

If the Rays win Tuesday, we’ll have a winner-take-all Game 5 in Boston on Thursday. If the Red Sox come out on top at The Trop, the next game Boston plays will be in the ALCS. Tuesday’s Game 4 action is scheduled to kick off at 8:37 p.m. It should be intense, so stick around.

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