BOSTON — The Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays just love drama.
It seems things always get interesting when the teams hook up. Friday was no exception, as there were four ejections, three hit batters and the benches emptied before A.J. Pierzynski drove a ball into the triangle in the 10th inning to give Boston a 3-2, walk-off win at Fenway Park.
It was a wild night at the yard. Let’s go over some details.
– David Price drilled David Ortiz with a first-pitch fastball in the first inning. Both benches were warned by home plate umpire Dan Bellino.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was upset that Price wasn’t immediately ejected. The skipper got the hook for arguing.
“There wasn’t really much of an explanation as to why they didn’t throw him out,” Farrell said. “Clearly, we felt like he should have.”
– Price plunked Mike Carp in the fourth inning, at which point the benches emptied for the second time in six days. Jonny Gomes and Yunel Escobar, of course, were at the heart of a bench-clearing incident Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Ortiz stormed onto the field and tried to get after Price. Ortiz and Price have a history dating back to last year’s ALDS, and Big Papi absolutely went off on the Rays ace after the game.
“I was surprised for a minute until I watched the video,” Ortiz said of getting hit in his first at-bat since last season’s beef. “I thought everything was cool. You can’t be acting like a little girl out there. You’re not going to win every time. When you give it up, that’s an experience for the next time. But when you’re to be acting like a little (expletive) every time you give it up, bounce back like that and put your teammates in jeopardy, that’s going to cost you.”
Bench coach Torey Lovullo, who was serving as the manager following Farrell’s ejection, got tossed in the fourth inning.
– Brandon Workman was ejected in the sixth inning for throwing a pitch behind Evan Longoria. Workman said the ball slipped out of his hand because of the wet conditions, which actually is somewhat believable because it was absolutely pouring at the time.
Third base coach Brian Butterfield, serving as Boston’s third manager of the night, was automatically ejected. Hitting coach Greg Colbrunn became the Red Sox’s fourth manager.
– Workman gave up two earned runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four, walked three and threw 89 pitches (51 strikes).
The right-hander said Friday’s fireworks didn’t have much of an effect on his overall game plan.
– Ortiz knocked in Boston’s first run in the fifth inning with an RBI single into left-center field. The hit put Ortiz into sole possession of eighth place on the Red Sox’s all-time list with 1,681.
– Xander Bogaerts continues to rake. He’s using all fields and looks extremely confident.
Bogaerts went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. He tied the game in the seventh inning with an RBI double off the Green Monster.
The 21-year-old is the youngest Red Sox player ever to record at least three hits in three consecutive games. He’s hitting .389 (28-for-72) with two homers, seven doubles, a triple and seven RBIs over his last 18 contests.
Bogaerts also made a very nice defensive play ranging up the middle in the eighth inning. The shortstop dived to make the stop, popped up and delivered a strong throw to retire Ben Zobrist.
– Jonny Gomes was struck on the elbow by an 82 mph changeup with two outs in the 10th inning. Pierzynski followed with a line drive toward the right-center field gap, and Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers collided while coming up empty.
– The Red Sox’s bullpen has been outstanding. The unit has not allowed a run in its last 18 1/3 innings after tossing 4 2/3 scoreless frames.
– Dustin Pedroia left the game after his ninth-inning at-bat with a right hand contusion.