Wil Myers' misplay opens floodgates as Red Sox rout Rays
BOSTON -- Through 31/3 innings Friday, the Rays had Fenway Park sounding funereal, much as they had done to raucous home atmospheres earlier in the week in Arlington and Cleveland.
Then rookie rightfielder Wil Myers misplayed David Ortiz's fly ball in the bottom of the fourth. That changed everything.
The Red Sox scored five times in the inning, then batted around again in a three-run fifth en route to pounding the Rays, 12-2, in Game 1 of their ALDS.
Game 2 is Saturday at 5:37 p.m. with Boston's John Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA) facing David Price (10-8, 3.33).
"It's not easy for something like that to happen, especially in a big situation like that," the 22-year-old Myers said. "It gave them the momentum."
In the early innings, the Red Sox looked listless against 24-year-old lefthander Matt Moore, who dominated them in two regular-season starts.
Red Sox lefthander Jon Lester wound up allowing two runs and three hits in 7 2/3 innings, but solo homers by Sean Rodriguez in the second and Ben Zobrist in the fourth gave the Rays, who were playing in their fourth city in a six-day span, a 2-0 lead.
Suddenly, Fenway, which had not played host to a playoff game since 2009, went quiet.
But Dustin Pedroia led off the fourth by singling up the middle for the first Boston hit, bringing up Ortiz, who sent a drive to deep right-center.
Myers drifted back and had the ball the entire way. He called off centerfielder Desmond Jennings but suddenly aborted, letting the ball fall. It bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double, putting runners at second and third with none out.
"I saw Des out of the corner of my eye and I backed off," Myers said. "That was totally my fault. I messed it up."
Red Sox manager John Farrell said, "We were fortunate to catch a break."
The dike quickly burst. After Mike Napoli popped out, Jonny Gomes, who played with Tampa Bay from 2003-08, doubled high off the Green Monster to drive in two runs and tie it at 2.
The crowd began to chant "My-ers! My-ers!" and did not let up the rest of the game.
When Stephen Drew beat out an infield single, Gomes scored from second to make it 3-2. Will Middlebrooks then drove a double off the Monster that took an awkward bounce past leftfielder Rodriguez, making it 4-2.
Moore struck out Jacoby Ellsbury, but the ball caromed off Jose Lobaton's glove for a passed ball and Ellsbury reached base. Shane Victorino then singled to right for a 5-2 lead.
It was a shocking inning of defensive ineptitude for the Rays, one of baseball's elite defensive clubs. "We've not been making any mistakes," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "We made a bunch tonight. We're normally not the team that makes those kind of mistakes."
Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled home two runs and scored on Ellsbury's single in the fifth. Victorino and Saltalamacchia added RBI singles in a four-run eighth.