Rays split doubleheader with Red SoxAug 17, 2011 - 6:50 AM
Desmond Jennings hit a solo homer, while Matt Joyce and Casey Kotchman drove in a run each for the Rays, who dropped the opener Tuesday afternoon by a 3-1 count but rebounded to win for the sixth time in eight games.
Jeff Niemann (8-4) went the distance to notch his seventh straight positive decision, allowing three hits -- two of those solo homers -- and one walk while fanning 10.
"I was just trying to keep those guys off-balanced a bit. Fastball command was pretty good today, so I was able to get early strikes with it," Niemann said.
Jason Varitek and Jacoby Ellsbury went deep for the Red Sox, who have dropped four of their last six.
Erik Bedard (4-8) was charged in the loss for seven hits and three runs -- one earned -- in six full frames.
Despite the setback, Boston managed to turn its first triple play since 1994.
The Rays stretched their precarious one-run lead to four in the eighth, thanks to some baserunning luck. Johnny Damon singled but was erased on Evan Longoria's fielder's choice, and Zobrist followed with a base hit. Upton then singled home Longoria, and Zobrist stole third.
Upton then appeared to be picked off trying to steal second, but during the rundown, Zobrist broke for home and beat the throw, leaving Upton at second. He came in when Kotchman added a base hit for a 6-2 game.
Niemann finished off his first complete game of the season by retiring the final 12 batters he faced.
Tampa picked up two runs in the second. With two runners in scoring position, Sean Rodriguez grounded to third, but Sox third baseman Jed Lowrie's throw to home was late, scoring the Rays' first run and leaving two more in scoring position. Joyce followed with an RBI groundout.
Varitek wrapped a ball around the Pesky Pole in the home third, and the Sox defense pulled off a rare feat to end the top of the fourth.
Upton and Kotchman singled to start the frame, then Rodriguez bounced a ball sharply to Lowrie, who touched third, quickly threw to second, and Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia continued the relay to Adrian Gonzalez at first -- a step ahead of the Tampa runner for a successful 5-4-3 triple play.
It was the second such event in as many nights, as on Monday, Milwaukee turned a triple play in its win over the Dodgers.
"That's one of those plays in baseball you don't see very often or be a part of. So it's exciting," Lowrie said.
Jennings restored the Rays' two-run edge with a two-out solo homer over the Green Monster in the fifth, but Ellsbury reached the bullpen in right-center to start the home sixth.
Niemann's 10 strikeouts was one off his career high of 11, accomplished on July 29 in an 8-0 win at Seattle...It was the first turned triple play for Red Sox since July 8, 1994 against Seattle at Fenway, when shortstop John Valentin recorded one of the unassisted variety from a Marc Newfield line drive...The last time there were triple plays turned on consecutive days was May 22-23, 1981, when the Mariners did it against Texas and Cleveland turned the trick against the Yankees...Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz did not play in either contest due to bursitis in his right heel.
- TAMPA BAY: 6
Aug 16 10:12 PM
- Casey Kotchman single to center scored B.J. Upton with one out. Runner on first with one out and Sean Rodriguez due up.
Rays 6, Red Sox 2 Top 8, 1 OutAug 16 9:44 PM
- Ben Zobrist stole home with one out. B.J. Upton stole second. Runner on second with one out and Casey Kotchman at the plate.
Rays 5, Red Sox 2 Top 8, 1 OutAug 16 9:43 PM
- B.J. Upton single to center scored Evan Longoria with one out. On the play, Ben Zobrist advances to second. Runners on first and second with one out and Casey Kotchman due up.
Rays 4, Red Sox 2 Top 8, 1 OutAug 16 9:37 PM
- Jacoby Ellsbury lead-off Home Run (22) to right. Jed Lowrie due up.
Rays 3, Red Sox 2 Bot 6, 0 OutsAug 16 9:01 PM
- Desmond Jennings two-out, solo Home Run (5) to left. Johnny Damon due up.
Rays 3, Red Sox 1 Top 5, 2 OutsAug 16 8:37 PM
- Jason Varitek lead-off Home Run (8) to right. Darnell McDonald due up.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1 Bot 3, 0 OutsAug 16 8:09 PM
- Matt Joyce groundout to second scored B.J. Upton with two out. On the play, Sean Rodriguez advances to third. Runner on third with two outs and Robinson Chirinos due up.
Rays 2, Red Sox 0 Top 2, 2 OutsAug 16 7:43 PM
- Sean Rodriguez fielder's choice to third scored Ben Zobrist with one out. On the play, B.J. Upton advances to third. Runners on second and third with one out and Matt Joyce due up.
Rays 1, Red Sox 0 Top 2, 1 OutAug 16 7:39 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Aug 16 7:09 PM
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