Posted October 07, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Tampa Bay Rays are still afloat in the AL division series. Jose Lobaton hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning into the giant fish tank beyond the center-field wall, and Tampa Bay staved off elimination once again by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Monday night. The Rays cut Boston's lead in the best-of-five series to 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, with Jake Peavy starting for the Red Sox against Jeremy Hellickson. Tampa Bay took a win-or-go-home game for the fourth time in nine days. The Rays did it with an unlikely stroke as Lobaton, who came off the bench late in the game, connected against Red Sox closer Koji Uehara. "It's unbelievable. It's something you can't explain," Lobaton said. "We never give up. We're going to keep fighting." Back home after two weeks on the road, the Rays gave a sellout crowd of 33,675 little to cheer until Evan Longoria homered on his 28th birthday. Longoria's three-run shot off Clay Buchholz with two outs in the fifth rallied Tampa Bay to a 3-all tie. Pinch-hitter Delmon Young, who has a penchant for driving home key runs in October, put the Rays ahead 4-3 with an RBI grounder in the eighth. The Red Sox tied it in the ninth against Rays closer Fernando Rodney. Dustin Pedroia's RBI grounder made it 4-all. Rodney got the win when Lobaton homered to right-center, into the 10,000-gallon tank where cownose rays swim around. Uehara did not give up a home run in his final 37 regular-season appearances. The Rays won three must-win road games in three cities over four days just to get into the division series, so they felt good about their chances of coming back against the Red Sox. Especially with Alex Cobb on the mound. The right-hander beat Cleveland 4-0 in the AL wild-card game last Wednesday and has been one of the consistent pitchers in the majors since August 2012. The Red Sox were just as confident about the prospect of closing out the series. Buchholz, limited to 16 starts this season because of a neck strain that landed him on the disabled list for three months, beat the Rays twice this year while allowing no runs and five hits in 13 innings. He also entered his second career postseason appearance with a 2.26 ERA in nine career starts at Tropicana Field. Cobb settled down after a shaky first inning in which he gave up a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury, hit a batter with a pitch and walked David Ortiz. But the Red Sox got only one run out of it, when second baseman Ben Zobrist made a throwing error while trying to turn a double play. Cobb, celebrating his 26th birthday, retired eight in a row before walking Ortiz leading off the fourth. Mike Napoli followed with a single for the second hit off Cobb, yet Boston was unable to take advantage. Ortiz tagged and went to third on Daniel Nava's fly ball, then was nearly caught too far off the bag when Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out and catcher Jose Molina threw to third base trying to pick off Ortiz. The inning ended with Stephen Drew hitting a grounder back to Cobb. The Rays wasted opportunities against Buchholz, too. James Loney doubled off the left-field wall to begin the second inning, but was erased when Desmond Jennings lined to first baseman Mike Napoli, who threw to second and doubled off Jennings. The Rays loaded the bases on two walks and Loney's second hit of the night, but Buchholz escaped the jam by fanning Matt Joyce. Buchholz wasn't as fortunate in the fifth, when Yunel Escobar beat out an infield single and David DeJesus doubled with one out. Ben Zobrist popped to shortstop, bringing up Longoria, who became the second player in major league history to homer during the postseason on his birthday. Willie Mays Aikens homered twice for Kansas City on his birthday Oct. 14, 1980, against Philadelphia in Game 1 of the World Series. Longoria's homer was his ninth in 109 career postseason at-bats. Loney had three hits off Buchholz, who allowed three runs, seven hits and struck out five in six innings. Ellsbury scored Boston's first two runs, on Zobrist's throwing error in the first and Cobb's wild pitch in the fifth. Ortiz's fifth-inning RBI single put the Red Sox up 3-0 against the Tampa Bay starter. NOTES: Rays rookie RF Wil Myers left before the eighth inning because of cramping in both legs. Myers took an awkward swing on a foul ball in the seventh and grabbed the area around his left calf. He limped back to the dugout after striking out for the third out. Myers went to right field after the inning, then headed back to the infield and was met by a team trainer. The club said Myers received IV fluids. DH Matt Joyce replaced Myers in right field.

Video: Jose Lobaton hits walk off home run into ray tank

For the Tampa Bay Rays, NLDS Game 3 started with a dramatic game-tying 3-run home run by 3-time All-Star 3B Evan Longoria, and ended with a dramatic walk-off home run by relatively obscure backup catcher Jose Lobaton to get the Rays first win in the series and stave off elimination.  Lobaton was inserted as part of a double switch in the pitchers spot, because the Tampa Bay Rays...

Tampa Bay Rays get a walk-off victory; force Game 4

Monday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox was not won with ease, but after a 5-4 victory, the Tampa Bay Rays have forced a Game 4.  The Rays did not play perfect baseball last night, but they got the breaks that they needed, especially when they needed it most.  Jose Lobaton hit a ninth inning walk-off homerun to keep the Rays season alive, and hopefully give them the momentum...

Jose Lobaton hits walk-off home run into Rays Tank (Video)

Your browser does not support iframes. Jose Lobaton on Monday hit a walk-off solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 4-3 win in Game 3 of their ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. The home run cleared the fence in center and […]

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Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America The Tampa Bay Rays staved off elimination on Monday night with a dramatic walk-off home run by catcher Jose Lobaton. Lobaton had seven home runs during the regular season but none of them measure up to his blast off of Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara which landed in the Rays tank in center field. Your browser does not support iframes....

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A day later, Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg is still excited about the result of Game 3 in this American League Division Series. Sternberg called catcher Jose Lobaton's game-ending, 412-foot solo homer Monday "absolutely the most unexpected moment." The hit, which became the third to splashdown into the Rays Touch Tank in center...

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Just when it seemed like this series was over, the unlikeliest of players took center stage and swung the momentum of this American League Divisional Series drastically. But even before the Tampa Bay back up catcher, Jose Lobaton, belted a walk off home run to right center filed to give the Rays the victory, things seemed to be taking a different path than that of the first two games...

Four Real? Rays stave off Sox 10-7-13

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