Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/20/12
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - B.J. Upton hit a walk-off three-run home run off Vicente Padilla, and the Tampa Bay Rays spoiled a stellar outing by Clay Buchholz with a 7-4 victory over Boston onThursday night at Tropicana Field. The Rays went to the bottom of the ninth trailing 4-1 after Buchholz pitched seven scoreless innings, but Tampa Bay rallied against Andrew Bailey. Desmond Jennings' two-run single off Bailey tied the game, and Upton's 24th homer gave the Rays a 2-2 split in the series. Buchholz allowed only two legitimate hits in his marquee matchup against David Price, a single to Jennings and a double to Luke Scott. Doubles by Evan Longoria and Upton came on misplays by center fielder Pedro Ciriaco. Price again didn't get any help from his offense at home. After pitching eight shutout innings in each of his previous two Tropicana Field starts without getting decisions in 1-0 losses, the major league leader in ERA left this one trailing 2-0 with one out in the eighth. Ryan Lavarnway had doubled and was on second, and he scored on a triple by Mauro Gomez off Wade Davis to make it 3-0 in the eighth. Tampa Bay cut Boston's lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist after a leadoff double by Jennings, but Jose Iglesias hit a solo home run - his first major league homer - off J.P. Howell in the ninth to make it 4-1. Jose Iglesias, who entered the night hitting .057, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI for Boston. Cody Ross' two-out double to center after Iglesias beat out an infield single and advanced on a wild pitch gave Boston its first run.Lavarnway followed with a single off diving shortstop Ben Zobrist's glove, and the Red Sox led 2-0. The Rays wasted a couple of early scoring chances that were presented because Ciriaco had trouble picking up the ball against the dome ceiling in center field. Longoria's lead-off fly ball in the second inning fell between Ciriaco and right fielder Daniel Nava for a double, but after Longoria made it to third with two out and Luke Scott walked, Carlos Pena whiffed on Buchholz's full-count fastball. Then, in the third, Ciriaco let Upton's routine fly ball fall in front of him for a double. That brought up the Rays' leading RBI man, Zobrist, but Buchholz again picked up the extra out by coaxing an infield pop out.Ciriaco, who has played mostly in the infield since his call-up in July, was replaced in the fourth by Jacoby Ellsbury, even though manager Bobby Valentine had planned to give Ellsbury the night off. The Red Sox put only three men on base through the first five innings against Price, one of them on a fielding error by Price in the first. Iglesias singled with one out in the third, and Mike Aviles led off with a single in the fifth, only to be caught stealing. The Rays also had runners at the corners with two outs in the fifth before Upton flew out to right. NOTES: Red Sox infielder Aviles' first start of the series was also his first at third base since Game 162 last year. Aviles hadn't worked out at third all year, but with the Red Sox wanting to get the 22-year-old Iglesias some playing time at shortstop, Aviles accepted Valentine's invitation to play the hot corner. "Sitting isn't his cup of tea, for sure," Valentine said. ... Ellsbury entered Thursday hitting .517 against the Rays and .303 against the AL East this year. ... Aviles and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the only Boston position players who've been active for all 151 games this season. ... With an AL-high (and club-record) 1,256 strikeouts entering Thursday, Rays pitchers were 10 shy of tying the AL season record held by the 2001 New York Yankees. ... Longoria made a second consecutive start at third base, only the fourth time he's played in the field in consecutive starts since coming off the DL on Aug. 7. ... Before scoring a season-high-tying 13 runs Wednesday, the Rays had pushed across only 26 runs over eight games while hitting .201. ... Infielder Elliot Johnson was getting some national attention for responding to a tweet from a fan before Wednesday's game and meeting him in the parking lot to play catch.
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