The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays used the long ball to help defeat the Boston Red Sox 11-9 on Monday afternoon at City of Palms Park. Evan Longoria and Kelly Shoppach accounted for two homers a piece in the contest that saw the Rays combine for seven home runs during the game.
The Rays broke the scoreless tie in the second inning. Ben Zobrist led off the inning with a single later followed by a single by Hank Blalock. Sean Rodriguez drove home the first run with a single to left that scored Zobrist. Shoppach followed with his first home run of the day, a three run shot to give the Rays a 4-0 lead.
The Rays increased their lead in the third on a solo home run by Longoria. Then again in the fourth on a solo home run by Shoppach, his second of the game to put the Rays ahead 6-0.
The Red Sox reached the scoreboard in the third inning. Mike Cameron led off the inning with a double to center. Cameron later scored on a sac fly by Dustin Pedroia for the Sox first run of the game.
The Tampa Bay offense kept producing and struck for four runs off three home runs in the fifth inning. Longoria led of the inning with his second home run of the contest. Ben Zobrist followed with a two run homer and Sean Rodriguez a solo home run to give the Rays a 10-1 lead.
The Rays added another run in the seventh inning. Hank Blalock went deep to right field increasing the lead to a commanding 11-1.
The Red Sox began a comeback run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Adrian Beltre singled and Marco Scutaro walked to put two runners on. Then Ray Chang delivered a three run home run to clear the bases and pull the Sox to within seven runs of the lead 11-4.
Boston chipped away at the lead a little more in the eighth inning. Jorge Jimenez reached on an error with two outs to put a runner on. Matt Sheely double to center moving Jimenez to third and put two runners in scoring position. Derrik Gibson drove home two runs with a single to left to pull the Boston within five, 11-6.
The Red Sox rally continued into the bottom of the ninth. Ray Chang singled to lead off the inning then scored on an RBI triple by Mark Wagner. Chris McGuiness then drove home Wagner with an RBI single to the mound. McGuiness would later score on a doubly by Sheely. Heath Rollins managed to recover and get the third out to end the rally and give the Rays the 11-9 win.
James Shields improved to 2-0 by allowing 1 run on 5 hits with a strikeout, 2 walks and a pick-off in 5 2/3 innings on the mound. Mike Ekstrom pitched a no-hit 1/3 of an inning striking out the batter. Winston Abreu followed and surrendered 3 runs on 3 hits with 3 strikeouts and a walk in 1 inning. Carlos Hernandez allowed 5 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. Heath Rollins recorded the save by getting the last out of the ninth inning to end the game.
RP Top Prospect Watch:
Reid Brignac: 0 for 2 with a strikeout.
A Look Ahead: The Rays (13-6) head to Brighthouse Networks Field to face the Philadelphia Phillies (9-7-1) on Tuesday. Matt Garza will get the start followed by Grant Balfour, Randy Choate and Joaquin Benoit.