ALDS roundup, Oct. 8
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Evan Longoria savored another win-or-go-home victory for the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I think we all understand the stakes. We all understand that we have our backs to the wall. And it seems like those moments have been fueling us," the three-time All-Star said Monday night after Jose Lobaton's two-out, ninth-inning homer gave the Rays a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox and renewed hope in the AL division series.
"These are the game that we've really played well in. Although you'd like to be on the other side, maybe we need that now."
Tampa Bay won when facing elimination for the fourth time in nine days, trimming Boston's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-five matchup. Game 4 is Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, with Jake Peavy starting for the Red Sox against Jeremy Hellickson.
"They have a great team. They never quit. We've seen that ... everyone knows that. We've just got to be one run better than them (Tuesday)," Boston's Dustin Pedroia said. "We'll be all right. We'll be fine."
As he's done so often in his career, Longoria provided the spark that turned a potentially bleak night into a special moment in Rays history.
The only player who's appeared in every postseason game Tampa Bay has ever played homered off Clay Buchholz in the fifth inning. The three-run shot erased a 3-0 deficit and boosted sagging hopes.
We needed that badly, there's no denying," manager Joe Maddon said.
"After we saw that ... it's kind of like the energy came back," Lobaton added. "Everybody was kind of like, we've got a chance now."
Lobaton's solo homer off Koji Uehara landed into the giant fish tank beyond the center-field wall. The Red Sox closer didn't allow a home run in his last 37 regular-season appearances.
"Koji has been tough, man. He's been a really bright spot on that ballclub. To be able to come through in that moment, those are the kind of things that we're going to need to propel us forward," Longoria said.
Back home after two weeks on the road, the Rays gave a sellout crowd of 33,675 little to cheer until Longoria homered on his 28th birthday.
Pinch-hitter Delmon Young, who has a penchant for driving home key runs in October, put the Rays ahead 4-3 with an RBI grounder in the eighth.
The Red Sox made it 4-all in the ninth on Pedroia's RBI grounder after closer Fernando Rodney issued a leadoff walk to Will Middlebrooks.
Rodney got the win when Lobaton golfed a low pitch to right-center, ending the 4-hour, 19-minute game. The ball deflected off a fan trying to catch the souvenir and wound up in the 10,000-gallon tank where cownose rays swim around.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he was studying his lineup when he heard the crack of the bat.
"Look up and the ball is going towards the tank, which nobody hits home runs there. Nobody does. How about that? It's incredible," he said.
The last time Uehara gave up a homer was June 30 to Toronto slugger Jose Bautista.
"You don't expect it ... I think that's what makes it a little tougher," Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino said of Lobaton's homer. "I'll hand the ball to Koji (Tuesday) if we need to. I have all the confidence in him. We look at the positive that we battled back against their closer to tie the game."
Athletics 6, Tigers 3
DETROIT (AP) -- Turns out the Oakland Athletics don't need a brilliant pitching performance to beat Detroit.
They can outslug the Tigers too.
Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith homered for the Athletics, who chased Anibal Sanchez in the fifth inning Monday and beat the Tigers 6-3 for a 2-1 AL division series lead.
Moss broke a 3-all tie in the fifth with a solo shot, and Smith's two-run drive later in the inning ended Sanchez's day. It was an impressive offensive show after the teams split two tense, low-scoring games in Oakland.
Oakland can close out the series Tuesday.
Sanchez, the American League's ERA leader, allowed six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in 4.1 innings.
Jarrod Parker gave up three runs in five innings for Oakland, and the Tigers couldn't rally against the bullpen.
Grant Balfour pitched a hitless ninth for the save -- and he became involved in shouting with Victor Martinez that caused the benches and bullpens to empty. Martinez had just hit a foul ball out of play when he and Balfour appeared to start jawing at each other.
Martinez started slowly toward the mound, and players from both teams came running out. The situation eventually calmed and no players were ejected.
Coco Crisp had two doubles and a single for the A's.