In Game 1 of their AL Division Series matchup, the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2 to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Rays scored the first two runs of this game thanks to solo homers in the second and fourth innings from Sean Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist, respectively. But from there on out, it was all downhill for Tampa Bay. The chaos started in the bottom of the fourth, when Wil Myers misplayed a catchable David Ortiz fly ball that turned into a ground rule double. With runners on second and third and one out, Matt Moore allowed a two-run double to Jonny Gomes to tie the game at two. Gomes scored on an infield single by Drew when Moore was late covering first base. Then Will Middlebrooks banged one off the Green Monster that went over Rodriguez's head to score Drew and make it 4-2. Shane Victorino concluded the hit parade by singling in Victorino, and it was 5-2 and not looking good.
Boston added three more in the fifth off of Moore, highlighted by a two-run double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The game was pretty much over by then, but the Red Sox exploded in the eighth for four more off of Jamey Wright to put on a stamp on the game. They obviously didn't need 12 runs, because Jon Lester pitched himself a pretty good game aside from the two solo homers, striking out seven and walking three in 7 2/3 innings. The only other hit he allowed was a fourth inning single by Delmon Young that put two on and one out, but the Rays couldn't capitalize. After that half inning, they never were close to winning this game.
Moore turned in an ugly performance, needing 106 pitches to record 13 outs. He only walked two hitters, but threw first pitch strikes to just 12 of the 25 hitters he faced, putting him in an immediate hole. Even before that ugly fourth inning, Moore had hit a batter, walked one, and threw a wild pitch. He just didn't have it, despite his 11 whiffs and six ground ball outs. If Myers did catch that fly ball just feet from the Red Sox bullpen, who knows what would have happened, but Moore likely wouldn't have gone longer than five or six innings with the way his afternoon in Boston was going.
You can't even really get upset at Tampa Bay's offense, because Lester was mowing them down, pair of home runs aside. He started ahead of 21 of the 29 hitters he faced, and generated 15 whiffs on 114 pitches. And with every Red Sox player both recording a hit and scoring a run, Lester didn't need to be great – but he was. In a bit of an ironic twist, the only two Red Sox players to not drive in a run were three hitter Dustin Pedroia and clean-up hitter David Ortiz.
Game 2 will be at 5:37 PM on Saturday in Boston. David Price takes the hill for the Rays in a must-win game, and the Red Sox will counter with John Lackey, making his first playoff appearance as a member of the Red Sox.