April 16, 2013 in Sports

Boston defeats Tampa Bay on Napoli double in ninth

An hour after game blasts hit Marathon
Howard Ulman Associated Press
 

BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays were making their ways out of Fenway Park when two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon were heard at the stadium.

The Red Sox beat the Rays 3-2 on an RBI double by Mike Napoli in the ninth inning on Monday in Boston’s traditional Patriots’ Day morning game.

It began at 11:05 EDT and ended about 2:10 p.m. A little less than an hour later, about a mile away, the explosions from Copley Square could be heard by those in and around Fenway – but not in the clubhouses.

The players seemed unaware of the explosions as they were interviewed by reporters. In the Red Sox room, they dressed for a trip to Cleveland, where they’re to start a three-game series tonight.

A spokesman sent a text message saying the team had reached the airport.

The game sent the Red Sox fans home happy.

With the scored tied at 2, Napoli drove a line-drive double off the left-field wall in the ninth inning that scored Dustin Pedroia from first with the winning run.

“I was a little out front but I was able to keep my hands back,” Napoli said. “My body went a little forward (and) I just kind of flicked my wrist at it.”

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, whose solo homer in the fifth had given Boston a 2-1 lead, had a good view from the on-deck circle.

“It was awesome; a strong man to be able to hit a ball one handed out in front like that and just hit it off the top of the wall,” he said, “but it’s huge, a guy with that much power, it’s a threat and it’s nice to have that in our lineup.”

Napoli, who signed as a free agent in the offseason, has been batting fourth while designated hitter David Ortiz recovers from Achilles’ tendon soreness. He is on a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket and could return shortly.

Left fielder Matt Joyce had a tough time handling the bounce off the Green Monster.

“I thought the ball would be off the wall so I tried to take the best angle to it,” Joyce said. “It was one of those things where you rush and can’t get it out of your glove. Then, when that tends to happen, you try to force the issue and the ball goes a little high.”

The Rays had two hits before finally showing some offensive punch in the ninth when Desmond Jennings led off with a single, stole second and scored the tying run on a single by Ben Zobrist off Andrew Bailey (1-0).

Joel Peralta (0-1) retired Boston’s first batter in the bottom of the ninth before walking Pedroia. Napoli then ended it.

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