The Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the ALDS, winning their series three games to one.
Joe Maddon went all-out in this game, using every pitcher in his bullpen after an ineffective Jeremy Hellickson recorded just three outs and faced only six batters. And for six innings, it worked, as Boston was held scoreless for the first two-thirds of the game. But they broke through in the seventh after Jake McGee walked Xander Bogaerts with one out. After striking out Will Middlebrooks, McGee allowed a single to Jacoby Ellsbury to put men on the corners for Shane Victorino. Joel Peralta replaced McGee and promptly allowed Bogaerts to score on a wild pitch to tie the game at one while Ellsbury moved up two bases. Victorino then hit a slow roller to short and touched first safely ahead of the throw from Yunel Escobar, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
The Rays offense couldn't do much of anything against an effective Jake Peavy. In 5 2/3 innings, Peavy allowed one run on five hits, striking out three without a walk. Tampa Bay got on the board first in the sixth after Escobar led off the inning with a double and scored on a single by David DeJesus. After the DeJesus single, the Rays put just one runner on base over the rest of the game. Boston's bullpen gave up just one hit in 3 1/3 shutout innings, punching out seven without a walk.
You have to wonder what would have happened if the Rays got a solid effort from their starting pitcher. Instead, Hellickson's night was done in the second inning, and it turned into a bullpen game for Tampa Bay. There was only so much that the Rays could do faced with those circumstances, and despite allowing just six singles in the game, the eight walks that the pitching staff allowed was just too much to overcome. Boston's pitching staff didn't walk a hitter all night, and that massive disparity in free bases had a significant effect on tonight's result.
The Red Sox will await the winner of Thursday's Game 5 between the Tigers and Athletics in Oakland. The ALCS will kick off on Saturday night at Fenway Park as the Red Sox look to win their third pennant in a decade.