May 17, 2013

Middlebrooks powers late Red Sox rally

A bases-clearing double in the top of the ninth caps a thrilling comeback for Boston.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Will Middlebrooks had a three-run double off closer Fernando Rodney with two outs in the ninth inning that lifted the Boston Red Sox past the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Thursday night.

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Boston's Will Middlebrooks lines a three-run, ninth-inning double off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Fernando Rodney Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Associated Press

Daniel Nava, Pedro Ciriaco, Dustin Pedroia
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Red Sox players celebrate after Will Middlebrooks doubled with the bases loaded to give Boston a 4-3 lead – and eventually a win – at St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday.

The Associated Press

Middlebrooks lined a shot to left on a 1-2 pitch from Rodney (1-2) with the base loaded, giving the Red Sox the lead. Rodney is seven for 10 in save opportunities this year.

After walking Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, Rodney struck out Mike Napoli before loading the bases with a walk to Daniel Nava. Stephen Drew struck out, but Middlebrooks then came up with his bases-clearing hit.

Junichi Tazawa (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. He retired James Loney on a grounder with two on and two outs in the ninth.

Felix Doubront gave up two runs, three hits, six walks and had seven strikeouts over five-plus innings for the Red Sox, who are 6-9 in May.

Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb allowed one run and three hits over 61/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.

Cobb struck out 13 in 42/3 innings last Friday night against San Diego, becoming the first pitcher in major league history to fan that many batters and fail to make it through the fifth inning.

The Rays went up 3-1 in the sixth on RBI singles by Desmond Jennings and Scott.

Before the game, Tampa Bay put AL Cy Young Award winner David Price on the 15-day disabled list with a left triceps strain and recalled left-hander Alex Torres from Triple-A Durham. The Rays are hopeful that Price, who departed in the third inning of Wednesday night's game against Boston, will only miss two or three starts.

Doubront was pulled after walking Loney to start the sixth. Clayton Mortensen entered, got an out before issuing a pair of walks to load the bases. Desmond Jennings then singled to put Tampa Bay up 2-1.

Andrew Miller replaced Mortensen and allowed Scott's run-scoring single that made it 3-1.

Ryan Roberts gave the Rays a 1-0 edge on his homer in the second.

Cobb retired his first 10 batters, including four on strikeouts, before Shane Victorino doubled down the right field line with one out in the fourth. Victorino scored to tie it at 1 on Ortiz's two-out single.

NOTES: Ortiz has 69 RBI at Tropicana Field, which ranks second behind Manny Ramirez's 72 for the most by a visiting player.

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