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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Red Sox Outlast Rays 7-3 in 10 innings thanks to Carp's Pinch-Hit Grand Slam

Tune into a Red Sox game on almost any given day or night and odds are that this season you'll them do something spectacular. Tonight, Boston (89-58 overall, 42-33 away) beat Tampa Bay (78-66 overall, 44-28 home) 7-3 in 10 innings at Tropicana Field. Koji Uehara (4-0) set a team record as he has now retired 34 consecutive batters while ho hum Mike Carp cranked the first pinch-hit grand slam in extra innings in Red Sox history.

The win put Boston 9.5 games up on the Rays which means that the race for the AL East is all but officially over. It also helps that the Red Sox are 12-6 vs. Tampa Bay this season with just tomorrow night's game remaining in the regular season at least. Ryan Dempster (5 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts) was OK but the real story in terms of pitching for the Red Sox was Franklin Morales (1-2-3 6th), Uehara and Junichi Tazawa (scoreless 10th inning).

The Rays handed the Red Sox their first two runs in the third inning when Wil Myers bungled Mike Napoli's sinking liner into a two-run double. Daniel Nava's (2 hits) ground out scored David Ortiz (2 walks, 2 runs) to make it 3-0 good guys. David Dejesus got Tampa Bay on the board in the home half of the third with an RBI double. Evan Longoria (double, walk) cut it to 3-2 with an RBI double in the seventh and former Red Sox great James Loney tied it with a solo homer off Brandon Workman in the eighth.

Roberto Hernandez (don't call him Fausto Carmona) had the honor of giving up Carp's ninth home run of the season, which came on the first pitch he saw. Batting leadoff for the second straight game, Dustin Pedroia reached base three times (2 singles, walk, 2 runs). Boston has already clinched another series win and they continue to open up their lead on other AL contenders (5 more wins than Detroit and Oakland) for the best record in the league.

Jake Peavy (11-5) takes on Jeremy Hellickson (11-8) tomorrow (7:10, NESN) in the series finale. The Rays desperately need a win since they've gone 3-7 in their last 10 games and the Yankees have pulled within a game of their spot as the second AL Wild Card. What's more, the Indians and Orioles are only 1.5 games back and the Royals are just two games behind Tampa Bay.

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