The "Cinderella" Tampa Bay Rays not only look like they are on the verge of their first World Series, they are embarrassing the reigning champs of baseball in the process. The Rays are just one win away from their first time to the "Big Dance" after simply humiliating the Boston Red Sox Tuesday night at Fenway Park 13-4. They now lead the ALCS 3-1, and have the chance to clinch their first American League pennant Thursday night in front of the Boston faithful.
Boston elected to give the start to 42 year old knuckle ball specialist Tim Wakefield in game four. When the veteran's out pitch is doing it's magic, Wakefield can make batters look silly. When it's not, he is not much more effective than a batting practice pitcher. Tuesday night, the magic was not working.
The long ball has been the main weapon of the Rays since game two of this series, and it was used quite effectively Tuesday night. One of the nicest stories of the success of Tampa Bay this season has been the resurrection of the career of first baseman Carlos Pena. Pena was always one of those players that never performed up to the expectations that were foisted upon him. At the beginning of the season Pena was on the scrap heap of baseball. However he has proven to be a key component of his team's success all season, and in this series in particular.
Pena put the Rays on top in the first with a two run blast into left off of Wakefield. Evan Longoria hit a solo homer to left, and Boston found themselves in a 3-0 hole before they even came up to bat. Tampa Bay DH Willy Aybar knocked Wakefield out of the game in the top of the third as he hit a two run dinger to left putting the Rays ahead 5-0. Boston got on the board in the bottom of the frame as catcher Kevin Cash hit a solo homer to left off Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine, at the end of three innings the Bo-Sox were down 5-1.
Aybar made it a 6-1 game in the fifth as he drove home Carl Crawford with a RBI single. The Rays in the sixth battered their second Boston pitcher of the night, this time reliever Manny Delcarmen. Tampa Bay showed that they could play small ball as well as they dinged up the Red Sox reliever for five runs with a series of singles and bases on balls. At the end of the frame it was 11-1 Tampa Bay, and the Bo-Sox would need to stage a miracle rally to turn this one around.
Boston put a run on the board in the seventh as David Ortiz scored on a Kevin Youkilis ground out. But the Rays got two more back in the eighth, as Crawford drove home Pena with a RBI triple. He scored on a RBI single by Aybar making it 13-2. The Red Sox added two meaningless runs in the bottom of the frame. Dustin Pedroia had a RBI single, Youkilis drove him home with a double.
Sonnanstine got the win for the Rays, Wakefield took the loss for the Red Sox. The two teams will match up Thursday night for game five, with a rematch of the game one starters. Daisuke Matsuzaka who has the only win for Boston will look to extend the series, he will face James Shields for the Rays.
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