Major Leagues: Rays 9, Red Sox 1
By Jimmy Golen
Associated PressBOSTON ó B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria and the rest of the Tampa Bay Rays are bashing their way through their first trip to the playoffs.
Upton and Longoria homered off a suddenly shaky Jon Lester, and the power-packed Rays cleared the Green Monster four times to beat the Boston Red Sox 9-1 Monday for a 2-1 lead in the AL championship series.
Rocco Baldelli and Carlos Pena also sent shots over Fenway Park’s famous left-field wall as Tampa Bay tied the ALCS home run record. Behind Matt Garza’s pitching, the Rays put the defending World Series champions in a postseason hole for the first time since they overcame a 3-1 deficit against Cleveland last year to win the pennant.
“Three-run homers are nice to get. We were very fortunate,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The Rays also hit hard on the basepaths. Carl Crawford bowled over Boston catcher Jason Varitek on a play at the plate ó there was no immediate reprisal in a matchup between teams that have tangled in the past.
Garza, the only Tampa Bay pitcher to lose in the first-round series against the Chicago White Sox, made an early 5-0 lead stand up. He held the Red Sox scoreless through six innings before they scored in the seventh.
Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield faces Andy Sonnanstine in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday night.
Upton, whose shallow sacrifice fly in the 11th inning won Game 2, hit a three-run homer in the third that sailed completely out of the park. It was his fifth home run of the playoffs ó he hit only nine during the regular season.
“He did the same thing to the White Sox,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “We didn’t locate, and he hit it a long way. Plays center field, steals bases, and he has a chance to get better, which is kind of scary.”
Longoria added a solo shot later in the third. Baldelli had a three-run drive in the eighth and Pena hit a solo homer in the ninth.
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