Gomes Walks Off In Game Two; Sox Sweep Doubleheader

Jonny Gomes connected on the first pitch he saw, and the Boston Red Six finished a thrilling, albeit, long day at Fenway in style with a walk-off win. The Tampa Bay Rays gave their all, and tied the score in the ninth inning, but it was short lived as Boston ended up winning 3-1 on the heels of the afternoon’s 5-1, rain soaked victory.

“Long day at the yard. Two wins kind of sums it all up,” said Gomes after the night game.

Andrew Bailey blew a 1-0 Sox lead in the ninth after a fantastic start by leftie Felix Doubront – but that only set up the ninth inning drama for Gomes.

Doubront pitched eight shutout innings while surrendering just three hits and did not walk a batter. With just 95 pitches under his belt, it seemed feasible for him to attempt the complete game, but Sox manager John Farrell played it the way most managers do as he called struggling closer Andrew Bailey in for the ninth.

Felix Doubront pitched his best game of 2013, but received the no-decision after eight scoreless frames.

Felix Doubront pitched his best game of 2013, but received the no-decision after eight scoreless frames.

Bailey was met by nine-hitter Kelly Johnson and, on the second pitch of the at-bat, gave up a solo home run 411 feet to right field. For Bailey, it was his second blown save in his last four chances as his horrible stretch continued.

The Sox got on the board early off Tampa Bay rookie Jake Odorizzi when Daniel Nava stepped up in the second inning and slugged his 10th home run of the season into right field. Nava, left off the All-Star ballot, just continues to rake and make a case for a write-in vote or a million.

The game would remain scoreless the rest of the way until Johnson’s home run, with both teams having little to no scoring chances. Odorizzi would finish with 5 2/3 sharp innings, but ultimately left on the wrong side if a 1-0 affair.

Alex Torres pitched in relief of Odorizzi to the tune of 2 1/3 scoreless, one-hit innings. On the other side, The Sox bullpen was kept stationary as Doubront retired the final 17 batters he faced, starting with a Sean Rodriguez inning ending double play in the third. Back in the second inning, highly touted prospect Wil Myers singled to left field for his first Major League hit after making his Big League debut in game one.

“It was awesome. It was a very cool experience. Everybody congratulated me on it,” said Myers.

Joel Peralta came on for the ninth for Rays manager Joe Maddon with Nava and Gomes due up – and someone apparently forgot to remind Joe of Gomes’ history against his former teammate. After a Nava walk on five pitches, Gomes trotted to the plate, dragging his career 4-8, one double, two home run line against Peralta to the plate. Gomes would waste no time against Tampa’s ace reliever, connecting on the first pitch he saw for a blast over the AAA sign on the Green Monster for the thrilling win. Gomes, rounding third to face his waiting mob, in typical fashion removed his helmet, then in atypical fashion drop-kicked it approximately the same distance as his home run.

Bailey was very appreciative of his teammates after the game, “We’ve got a really good team here and the sign of a good team is guys picking each other up,” said Bailey,  “Nava’s at-bat and Jonny’s swing obviously got us the win and ultimately that’s what matters. I’ve got to figure out what I’m going thru but these guys are grinding every day and we’ll get through it.”

With the victory, Boston improved to 9-2 over the Rays this season, and got back on the winning side of things following a rough four game outing in Baltimore, where they had lost three of four. Boston and Tampa will wrap the three game series Wednesday night when Jeremy Hellickson takes on Sox veteran Ryan Dempster. With the double-header sweep, the Sox picked up a half game on the victorious Orioles and now stand 2 1/2 games up, while the Rays continued their slide and dropped to seven back in the AL East and just 1 1/2 up on the last place – yet surging – Toronto Blue Jays.

Inside The Game

– In his career-long eight innings, Doubront did not walk a batter, just the second outing of the year in which he did not offer a free pass. The only other such game was his first game of the season.

-At 9-2 against the Rays this season, Boston is poised to win the season series for the first time since going 13-5 against them in their World Series winning 2007 season. Over the previous five seasons they were 39-51 against their foes ( a .433 winning percentage.)

-Jonny GOmes is quietly digging out of his season-long slump, going 9-25 over his last seven games with two doubles and two home runs. He has raised his average from .173 to above the Mendoza line at .209

Jay Coorey – Senior MLB Contributor – Title Town Sports

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