Red Sox
Rays
8 - 6 Final
  for this game

Red Sox get to Reyes again, punch ticket to October

Sep 23, 2007 - 4:39 AM By Ted Fleming PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The Boston Red Sox became the first team in the major leagues to clinch a postseason berth with some unexpected ninth-inning power.

Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo each homered in the ninth inning to erase a one-run deficit and lead the Red Sox to an 8-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Saturday night.

J.D. Drew also homered and drove in three runs for Boston (92-63), which kept its advantage over the New York Yankees (89-65) in the American League East at 2 1/2 games with the win.

"Oh man, like you can't believe," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said when asked how satisfying this win was. "It was about as rollercoaster as it gets. I talked the other day about depending on people and I mentioned Varitek's name. That's how you win with guys like that. Heck, I was celebrating the game (not the clinching).

"You can't script or fake how you feel after the way the game ended. It was very appropriate that we met. There's not a problem with taking five minutes to reinforce what we have accomplished."

With the Detroit Tigers (84-71) suffering a loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Red Sox clinched at least the wild card, assuring the team of making the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

The Devil Rays held a 6-5 lead going into the ninth inning before handing the ball to closer Al Reyes (2-4). The righthander allowed a leadoff solo blast to Varitek to tie the game at 6-6.

Eric Hinske followed with a double before Reyes got Coco Crisp to pop out. Lugo was up next, and he lined the first pitch he saw into the seats in left field to give Boston an 8-6 lead.

"We are where we want to be," said Lugo, downplaying his playoff-clinching homer. "I felt like David Ortiz floating around the bases. It's nice to be able to do something to win. It's a release for us. That's what you come here for. When you have the good team, the good guys, now we just have to put it together to win it all."

It was the fourth blown save of the season for Reyes, with three of those coming against the Red Sox. He allowed a walk-off homer to David Ortiz on September 12 at Fenway Park in his last appearance against the division rival.

"With Varitek I tried to stay away but I left the pitch up," Reyes said. "Everything feels good. My arm feels good. I just missed a couple of pitches. A team like that, they see a mistake and they jump on it."

Embattled reliever Eric Gagne (4-2) earned the win by tossing a scoreless eighth inning - his second straight scoreless appearance - and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 36th save.

The loss obscured another tremendous night by Tampa Bay slugger Carlos Pena, who homered twice, including a three-run blast in the seventh inning off lefthander Javier Lopez that gave his team a 6-5 lead.

Pena, who grew up outside of Boston and spent the final month of last season with his hometown team, made the Tampa Bay roster in spring training and has been one of the most prolific hitters in the AL this season. His two blasts on Saturday bring his season total to 42 - second in the league only to Alex Rodriguez.

"It's fun to watch," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said about Pena's season. "It's been impressive to see him cap it off without any fall-off. It's good for us and him."

Japanese righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka got the start for Boston after seven days of rest, and was clearly not his sharpest. He was charged with five runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings while walking three and striking out seven.

The highly touted rookie has earned just one win in eight starts since August 10, and will finish the season 0-3 in four starts against the lowly Devil Rays.

"Coming into the game I knew we had a chance to clinch," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "It would have been nothing greater than to get the win and be the winning pitcher. Looking at the situation I'm pretty excited that we made the playoffs."

The Red Sox opened the scoring on Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single off starter Tampa Bay starter Andy Sonnanstine in the third and added two more the next frame with Drew and Varitek knocking in a run apiece.

Pena got the Rays on the board in the fourth, belting his first homer of the night into the right field seats. Greg Norton singled in another run to make it 3-2.

Drew's 10th homer of the season with Mike Lowell aboard landed about 15 rows up in right and gave Matsuzaka some breathing room.

Norton, who had three hits, singled in B.J. Upton in the sixth. After Matsuzaka yielded a pair of two-out walks in the seventh, he was lifted in favor of the lefthander Lopez, who allowed Pena's second homer.

"We know we can still put together a rally and still make a game out of it," Lowell said. "We should be happy. We're one of four teams that will play after September 30th. This is a fun time to scoreboard watch."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BOSTON 0 0 1 2 0 2 0 0 3 8 13 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 2 0 1 3 0 0 6 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BOS - DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, JAVIER LOPEZ (7TH), MIKE TIMLIN (7TH), ERIC
    GAGNE (8TH), JONATHAN PAPELBON (9TH) AND JASON VARITEK
    TAM - ANDY SONNANSTINE, JON SWITZER (6TH

    Sep 22 10:43 PM
  • cramyamel Way to go Lugo!

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 10:28 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JULIO LUGO (8) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF AL REYES SCORED ERIC HINSKE.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 8, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J ELLSBURY (.367, 1-FOR-4, RBI)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 10:28 PM
  • 10
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 60 roots (Close Finish)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 10:28 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JASON VARITEK (15) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF AL REYES.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 6, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: E HINSKE (.207, 0-FOR-3)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 10:20 PM
  • 70
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 25 roots (Close Finish)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 10:20 PM
  • 45
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 10:17 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY CARLOS PENA (42) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 7TH OFF JAVIER LOPEZ SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA AND JORGE
    VELANDIA.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 5, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.304, 0-FOR-3)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 9:51 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GREG NORTON SCORED B.J. UPTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G NORTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 5
    TAMPA BAY 3 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: J GOMES (.245, 0-FOR-2)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 9:19 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY J.D. DREW (10) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF ANDY SONNANSTINE SCORED MIKE LOWELL.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 5, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J VARITEK (.254, 1-FOR-1, BB, RBI)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 9:00 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GREG NORTON SCORED DELMON YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, G NORTON ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 3
    TAMPA BAY 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: J GOMES (.246, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 8:30 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS PENA (41) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 4TH OFF DAISUKE MATSUZAKA.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 3, TAMPA BAY 1
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.305, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 8:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON VARITEK SCORED J.D. DREW.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J VARITEK ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 3
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: E HINSKE (.209, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 8:15 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY J.D. DREW SCORED MIKE LOWELL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J DREW ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 2
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J VARITEK (.252, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 8:12 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACOBY ELLSBURY SCORED COCO CRISP.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J ELLSBURY ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D PEDROIA (.318, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 7:57 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 7:56 PM
  • 5
    roots
    cramyamel Added 5 roots

    Red Sox vs. RaysSep 22 6:06 PM