I stayed up to write a World Series preview and write how Tampa Bay was so amazing in winning the AL pennant and instead, I got this...How in the world does Tampa Bay blow a 7-0 lead? The answer: Dan Wheeler threw 3 and 1/3 innings in Game 2 had nothing tonight and not having a legit closer hurt the Rays tonight in Game 5. Now the series shifts back to Tampa Bay on Saturday.
BJ Upton and Evan Longoria hit back-to-back HRs for the second straight game to put Tampa up big early on. Scott Kazmir pitched well in 6 innings, giving up 2 hits, striking out 7 and walking 3. The main event players for Boston finally awoke in the bottom of the 7th inning. Dustin Pedoria got a two out to put 2 men on for David Ortiz who got the big hit everyone was waiting for, a 3-run shot to right field to cut the Rays' lead to 7-4. JD Drew followed with a 2-run HR in the 8th to bring Boston closer at 7-6. Then Coco Crisp had the at-bat of the night fouling off pitch after pitch and finally got a pitch he could handle and hit a ball over Upton's head in center field and got the tying run to score. The Rays had 2 men on in the top of the 9th but Carlos Pena hit into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the 9th and 2 men out, Kevin Youkillis hit a chopper to third where Longoria made a great play to field the ball but eased up on the throw thus causing the ball to short-hop Pena at first and went into the stands. After an intentional walk to Jason Bay, Tampa manager Joe Maddon elected to pitch to Drew. He wanted the matchup of lefty-lefty with JP Howell but the numbers didn't fare in Tampa's favor. Drew was 4 for 7 in his career off Howell. Drew eventually knocked a ball into right field over the head of Gabe Gross and sent the Red Sox to victory and sent this ALCS to a Game 6 Saturday in Tampa.
Tampa Bay still leads the series 3-2 but with thoughts of 2004 (vs Yankees) and 2007 (vs Indians) in which the BoSox came back from 3-0 and 3-1 respectively, tonight had that feel of uh-oh here we go again. Boston still has alot to accomplish if they're going to make the World Series this year but with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester starting Games 6 and 7, you can't write them off just yet. Tampa counters with James Shields and Matt Garza, if it goes 7. I predicted the Rays would win in 7, but after seeing them up 7-0 tonight I thought there was no need for a Game 7, but now I'm not so sure. I guess it's not over until the fat lady sings, in this case, I hope she's in Tampa Saturday night and is ready to belt out a few notes. In case you didn't notice, I hate Boston and always will, so I was looking for their demise tonight. I guess I'll wait a few more days. Boy I hope my face isn't red after this series is over.