Major Leagues: Rays evened series on Saturday
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó B.J. Upton and the Tampa Bay Rays won a game of home run derby with a shallow fly ball.
Pinch-runner Fernando Perez dashed home on Upton’s sacrifice fly in the 11th inning and the Rays outlasted the Boston Red Sox 9-8 early Sunday, evening the AL championship series at one game each.
The teams combined for seven home runs, tying a postseason record. But after 1:30 a.m., the Rays won a game that lasted 5 hours, 27 minutes when Perez beat right fielder J.D. Drew’s throw home.
The series shifts to Fenway Park for Game 3 Monday, with left-hander Jon Lester pitching for Boston against Matt Garza.
Dustin Pedroia homered twice for Boston, and scored his fourth run on a wild pitch in the eighth that made it 8-all.
Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin walked Dioner Navarro and Ben Zobrist to begin the 11th and Jason Bartlett grounded out, moving runners to second and third, and Akinori Iwamura was intentionally walked.
Upton, who had homered earlier, followed with his fly ball down the right-field line.
Drew settled under the ball, but rushed and a two-hop throw up the third-base line. Perez scored easily, showing off his best asset ó he stole 43 bases in Triple-A this season, and went 5-for-5 on steal tries with Tampa Bay.
Rookie David Price earned the win. He entered with a runner on first and one out in the 11th and walked Drew, but struck out Mark Kotsay and retired Coco Crisp on a grounder.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched 12/3 scoreless innings, getting the defending World Series champion Red Sox to the 11th. He extended his career postseason scoreless streak to a major league-record 22 innings over 14 appearances.
Evan Longoria, Cliff Floyd and Upton homered for Tampa Bay off struggling Josh Beckett. The wild-card Red Sox homered three times in the fifth inning, with Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis connecting off Scott Kazmir and Jason Bay tagging Grant Balfour.
After Boston won the ALCS opener 2-0, the teams came out swinging for the fences. All seven homers came in the first five innings.
The Red Sox and Ray matched the postseason record for homers set in the 1989 World Series and tied in the NLCS in 2003 and 2006.