BOSTON – One ball fell between two outfielders. Another took a bad hop off the Green Monster.
One batter reached safely on a dropped third strike and another when the pitcher was slow to cover first. By the time it was over, the Boston Red Sox had scored five runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of Tampa Bay’s bad luck and bad defense to overcome an early deficit and beat the Rays 12-2 on Friday in Game 1 of the A.L. division series.
“You play 162 games, a lot of innings, a lot of pitches, a lot of runs. One thing you can guarantee in the playoffs is you’re going to see something you haven’t seen all year,” said Jonny Gomes, who doubled to tie the game and then scored from second on an infield single to give Boston the lead for good. “And we saw that right away.”
Needing a 163rd game to earn a wild-card berth, the Rays won three win-or-go-home games in three different cities to reach this series. Now they need a victory in Game 2 today to tie the best-of-5 series before it shifts to St. Petersburg, Fla., for Games 3 and 4.
Every Boston starter got a hit and scored a run.