Rays
Red Sox
5 - 4 Final
  for this game

Johnson, Navarro help reeling Rays rock Papelbon

Sep 10, 2008 - 4:52 AM By Tony Lee PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- If the Tampa Bay Rays hang on to win an improbable American League East crown, Dan Johnson's effort Tuesday night will be a big reason why. That's the same Dan Johnson who woke up a minor leaguer and couldn't even get to the ballpark on time.

Called up from Class AAA Durham earlier in the day but scratched from the starting lineup due to travel delays, Johnson hit a pinch-hit, game-tying home run off All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon in the top of the ninth inning and Dioner Navarro delivered an RBI double moments later to lift the Rays to a wild 5-4 triumph over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

A loser of six of seven overall and 0-7 at Fenway this year entering the contest, Tampa Bay (86-57) opened up a 1 1/2-game lead in the division over Boston (85-59), which threatened to claim the division's top spot for the first time since July 13 after Jason Bay hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth.

That was before Johnson ended a dramatic day that saw him awakened by a phone call at 9 a.m. telling him he was wanted by the big club. Multiple travel delays followed.

"This was a hectic day, but I'll take it anytime," said Johnson, who took a 3-2 offering from Papelbon into the bleachers in right-center field.

Storms in the Boston area forced Johnson to scramble. He and fellow call-up Michel Hernandez arrived at Fenway via taxi at around 6:50 p.m. First pitch came at 7:06.

"On behalf of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, we would like to thank U.S. Airways for getting Dan Johnson here in time tonight," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.

Maddon had penciled Johnson into the original lineup but took him out about five minutes before he arrived.

Bay had struck for his third home run in as many games with two outs in the eighth, sending Fenway into a frenzy in advance of a raucous curtain call.

But it took just six pitches for Papelbon to record his fifth blown save of the season, as Johnson took a 3-2 offering into the bleachers in right-center field for his first major league home run since September 18, 2007.

"It's been awhile since I've been up here," Johnson said. "The first couple of pitches I was a little bit antsy but I was able to track a few pitches. The sixth pitch of the at-bat ended up being a fastball again and I just got to it."

Even those on the losing end had some appreciation for a contest with a strong postseason feel to it.

"I'm sure that was a fun game to watch," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "It was a fun game to be a part of, but we didn't like the ending very much."

Rookie Fernando Perez, also a recent call-up, followed Johnson's homer with a double off the "Green Monster" for his second career hit and Navarro drove him in with a two-base hit down the line in left.

In the clubhouse after having left with a 3-2 lead, Rays starter Scott Kazmir could hardly control himself.

"There was definitely emotions flying around, in the clubhouse I just couldn't stay in my seat," said Kazmir, who allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. "It just shows what kind of team we have. We really don't give up.

"This is huge for us to get a win at Fenway because we haven't done it this year so far and it kind of feels like we have that monkey off our back. It's a huge confidence builder for us."

Despite giving up the homer to Bay, Dan Wheeler (4-5) got the win with an inning of relief. Troy Percival got the last three outs for his 28th save, getting Coco Crisp to pop out with a runner on third to end it.

Tampa Bay is now assured of leaving town with the division lead after Wednesday's rubber game. The rivals play three more in Florida next week.

"To be able to take charge of the game the way we did, it's very significant I believe, particularly here, with what's going on, where we're at in the race," said Maddon, whose team ended August with a 5 1/2-game lead on the Red Sox. "It's a pretty significant win."

Kazmir struck out four and walked three, giving up only a first-inning RBI double to Kevin Youkilis and a solo homer to Mike Lowell in the fourth.

Tampa Bay scratched two runs in the third. Cliff Floyd was hit by a pitch from Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka with the bases loaded, and Willy Aybar followed with a sacrifice fly.

Jason Bartlett's RBI double in the fourth put the Rays ahead, 3-1. Lowell cut Boston's deficit in half in the bottom of the frame with his 16th of the year.

Matsuzaka gave up three runs and eight hits in five shaky innings, walking four and striking out five.

The Rays were without center fielder B.J. Upton, who injured a quad in Tuesday's loss. He joined rookie star Evan Longoria and speedster Carl Crawford among the growing list of injured Tampa Bay bats.

Johnson's presence may help, at least in the short-term.

"He'll play tomorrow," Maddon said.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 5 12 1
    BOSTON 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 4 6 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR, GRANT BALFOUR (7TH), DAN WHEELER (8TH), TROY
    PERCIVAL (9TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO
    BOS - DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, JAVIER LOPEZ (6TH), MANNY
    DELCARMEN (7T

    Sep 9 10:46 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DIONER NAVARRO SCORED FERNANDO PEREZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D NAVARRO ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 5
    BOSTON 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: G GROSS (.248, 2-FOR-4)

    Rays 5, Red Sox 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 9 10:27 PM
  • 89
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    RUWTbot Took away 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 5, Red Sox 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 9 10:27 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAN JOHNSON (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF JONATHAN PAPELBON.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4, BOSTON 4
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: W AYBAR (.257, 2-FOR-3, SF, RBI)

    Rays 4, Red Sox 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 9 10:21 PM
  • 126
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    RUWTbot Added 61 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 4, Red Sox 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 9 10:21 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JASON BAY (7) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF DAN WHEELER SCORED KEVIN YOUKILIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3, BOSTON 4
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M LOWELL (.278, 2-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Rays 3, Red Sox 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsSep 9 10:11 PM
  • 65
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    RUWTbot Took away 24 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 3, Red Sox 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsSep 9 10:11 PM
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    Rays 3, Red Sox 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 9 9:48 PM
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    McTool Added 5 roots

    Rays 3, Red Sox 2  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 9 8:36 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MIKE LOWELL (16) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF SCOTT KAZMIR.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3, BOSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M KOTSAY (.289, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 3, Red Sox 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 9 8:34 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JASON BARTLETT SCORED GABE GROSS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BARTLETT ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3
    BOSTON 1 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.279, 1-FOR-2)

    Rays 3, Red Sox 1  Top 4, 0 OutsSep 9 8:17 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY WILLY AYBAR SCORED BEN ZOBRIST.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C FLOYD ON FIRST, C PENA ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2
    BOSTON 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E HINSKE (.249, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 2, Red Sox 1  Top 3, 0 OutsSep 9 7:58 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    CLIFF FLOYD HIT BY DAISUKE MATSUZAKA PITCH WITH BASES
    LOADED SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C FLOYD ON FIRST, C PENA ON SECOND, B
    ZOBRIST ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    BOSTON 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: W AYBAR (.252, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 1, Red Sox 1  Top 3, 0 OutsSep 9 7:55 PM
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    JDR824 Added 5 roots

    Rays 0, Red Sox 1  Top 2, 0 OutsSep 9 7:31 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED DUSTIN PEDROIA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K YOUKILIS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J BAY (.313, 6 HR, 31 RBI)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 9 7:23 PM
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