Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 3, Rays 1
June, 18, 2013
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Pragmatist that he is, Jonny Gomes decided 9½ hours of baseball, a tally that included a lengthy rain delay, was sufficient for all parties involved.
The Boston Red Sox left fielder, whose big league roots can be traced to Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field, hit the first pitch he saw from Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta in the bottom of the ninth for a two-run home run that gave the Sox a 3-1 walk-off win and a doubleheader sweep over his former team.
The Sox won the opener, 5-1, and have now beaten the Rays 9 of 11 times this season, with five of those wins coming in the ninth inning or later.
The Sox also have won 10 of their past 13 games at Fenway Park.
A day that started with Game 1 winner Alfredo Aceves stuck in traffic and was interrupted for three hours by heavy rain ended with Felix Doubront finding only open road in what was easily the best start of his major league career.
Doubront did not walk a batter, allowed just three hits and worked eight scoreless innings, the longest start of his career, and was poised to win his third straight start.
But in a decision that almost certainly will revive a closer crisis in town, manager John Farrell elected to replace Doubront, who had thrown just 93 pitches, with closer Andrew Bailey, despite Bailey's missteps of late.
That decision looked good for all of two pitches, as Kelly Johnson hit Bailey's second pitch over the Red Sox's bullpen to tie the score at 1. Bailey has given up five home runs in just 22 1/3 innings, and three of those home runs have come in the past eight days -- one by Jose Lobaton of the Rays, when Bailey blew an 8-6 lead in the 10th, and a two-run home run to Matt Wieters on Saturday, a game the Sox held on to win by a run.
But Bailey emerged with a tainted win (3-0) when Daniel Nava, whose 10th home run in the second had accounted for Boston's first run, drew a walk to open the ninth against Peralta. Gomes then hit Peralta's next pitch off the AAA sign over the Monster, giving the Sox their sixth walk-off win this season.