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Sox Sweep Rays at Fenway

Clay Buchholz - Shane VictorinoAfter the first game of the four game set between the Red Sox and Rays was rained out, the Sox won the remaining three in dramatic fashion with two walk-off wins, and an almost historic pitching performance from Clay Buchholz

In game two, after out-dueling former Cy Young pitchers like C.C. Sabathia and R.A. Dickey in his previous starts, Sox ace Jon Lester impressed manager John Farrell yet again, as he went the dissidence with the reigning Cy Young winner and Rays pitcher David Price, who pitched six innings allowing one run on eight strikeouts. Lester threw 100 pitches letting up only one run on five hit while striking out five, bringing his ERA down to 1.42 on the year.

From the eighth inning on, the Boston bullpen continued their dominance as Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa all kept the Rays scoreless going into the bottom of the tenth.

After reaching first base on a single, Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury attempted to get into scoring position for Shane Victorino, who was at the plate, by stealing second base.  Rays catcher Jose Lobaton’s throw sailed over second base allowing Ellsbury to advance all the way to third.

Victorino became the hero, driving in Ellsbury on an infield single that scooted between second and short that gave the Sox a 2-1 victory.

In game 3, Clay Buchholz was the story as he flirted with a no hitter all the way to the eight inning until Kelly Johnson singled to right.  Buchholz ended his day going eight strong innings, allowing only two hits while striking out a career high 11.

Even though the Sox would only need one run on this day, they put up five in total on the day, four coming in the bottom of the third. Sox first baseman Mike Napoli doubled off the green monster scoring both Ellsbury and Victorino.

After Sox shortstop Stephen Drew reached first on a fielder’s choice scoring Mike Napoli, The Rays were careless with the baseball committing a throwing error which allowed Daniel Nava to score from second making the score 4-0.

Dustin Pedroia tacked on one more run in the bottom of the eighth off a Will Middlebrooks sacrifice fly making the Sox lead and the final score 5-0, Boston.

In the final game between the AL East Rivals, both teams — along with the rest of the MLB — wore the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.

Dempster took the mound for Boston and picked up right where he left off against Baltimore, where he only allowed one run on five inning of work while striking out seven.

On this day, Dempster pitched his best game in Sox uniform as he went seven innings deep, allowing one run and striking out 10.

Shane Victorino and Jacoby Ellsbury, once again, played the role of tone setters as Ellsbury tripled to lead off the game and then Victorino brought him the rest of the way, as he grounded out to second giving the Sox an early 1-0 lead.

After a pair of homers by Evan Longoria and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fourth and fifth inning respectively, Boston was clinging to a 2-1 lead going into the top of the ninth.

Due to a right hamstring injury to struggling Sox closer Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey took the mound in the ninth and struggled early, blowing the save opportunity allowing Desmond Jennings of the Rays to tie the game off a Ben Zobrist single.

Bailey settled down though and got out of the inning striking out two in the process and the Sox went into the bottom of the ninth with the game tied up at two.

After a Dustin Pedroia walk, Mike Napoli was poised to be the second first year Red Sox to drive in the winning run in 3 days. Napoli doubled off the Green Monster, brining  Pedroia all the way home from first, giving the Red Sox the 3-2 victory and a 3-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays.

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