The Tampa Bay Rays are heading to their first World Series in franchise history, after defeating the Boston Red Sox Sunday night 3-1. The Rays who had once held a 3-1 series advantage in the ALCS, found themselves hosting the Red Sox in game seven with the series tied 3-3. But in a rematch of the starting pitchers from game three Tampa Bay's starter Matt Garza came out on top once again over Boston starter Jon Lester. And unlike most of this year's ALCS, this was a game where the pitching dominated the proceedings.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, put his team on the board in the first as he hit a dinger into left, giving Boston a 1-0 lead. That would be the final run for Boston this season. The Rays tied the game in the fourth when Evan Longoria had a RBI double off of Lester. They took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a Rocco Baldelli RBI single. Tampa Bay added an insurance run in the seventh when Lester gave up a solo homer to Willy Aybar, making it a 3-1 contest.
After giving up the first inning homer to Pedroia Rays starter Matt Garza had his second masterful performance of the series. Garza allowed just the 1 run on 2 hits, walking 3 and striking out 9. Lester pitched well, but not well enough to get the win, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, and struck out 8 in the loss.
Boston put up a valiant effort to climb back out of the hole they had dug themselves into. But unlike 2007, when they were able to overcome the same situation and defeat the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, this time they fell short.
The Rays will host the first game of the World Series as they take on the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night. This should be a well matched World Series, as both teams have a lot of young talent. The Rays have shocked the baseball world this season, as they had their first winning season, their first trip to the playoffs, and now their first appearance in "The Show." They have exceeded expectations all season long, now we find out if they can do it one more time.
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