The dramatic 5-4 win came at the hands of Jose Lobaton. A late game defensive replacement, Lobaton won the game with a titanic home run into the fish tank in right-center field off Red Sox closer Koji Uehara.
The Rays starting pitcher Cobb walked a high-wire act. Despite giving up three runs, Cobb saved that many alone by his fielding. Ranging from third-to-first base, Cobb gobbled everything in sight and kept Tampa in the game early as the Rays looked as lost in the field as they did in their two losses at Fenway.
Longoria, with James Loney, gave Tampa the much-needed punch to wake up their offense.
Longoria tagged Boston starter Clay Buchholz for a game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth into the left field bleachers. From that point on, the teams looked as if they changed identities.
It was Boston, down the stretch, that started stumbling and bumbling in the field.
Tampa took advantage of a one-out collision at second between shortstop Stephen Drew and Dustin Pedroia to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Delmon Young gave Tampa a 4-3 lead when his sharp bounder to Mike Napoli at first was hit at an angle that did not allow Napoli to throw home and retire pinch-runner Sam Fuld.
Rays manager Joe Maddon brought closer Fernando Rodney out to slam the door, but the Red Sox offense scratched and clawed their way for a run off a Will Middlebrooks walk, a Jacoby Ellsbury single and finally a Pedroia ground out that scored pinch-runner Xander Bogaerts.
In the end, Tampa was able to win their fourth straight game facing elimination, grabbing the game off the hottest closer in the AL in Uehara.
Buchholz, for the Sox, did not look good. His pitches lacked movement and pop. His velocity was down and he pitched like he was nervous the entire game.
Add the Red Sox hitting .143, or 2-for-14, with runners in scoring position and you can see how Boston gave Tampa the game plan to win.
Four of Tampa’s runs came with two outs, Longoria’s three-run homer in the fifth and Lobaton’s game-winner in the ninth.
The Rays earned the right to fight for one more day.
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