video thumbnail

BOS@TB Gm3: Buchholz, Cobb to pitch Game 3 of ALDS

BOSTON -- The Red Sox swore they would keep their foot on the gas pedal following their 12-2 win vs. the Rays in Game 1 of the America League Division Series. Boston delivered with a 7-4 victory Saturday over Tampa Bay, pushing it to the brink of elimination and putting the Sox in an enviable position.

But the Rays, who will head home for the first time in two weeks, know how to handle this kind of thing. And as manager Joe Maddon put it, they're planning on a return trip to Fenway Park later this week.

"We just went through a week of backs against the wall, so it's not new to us," Maddon said of a Rays team that won three elimination games in three different cities before advancing to play Boston. "It's going to be difficult. There's no question it's going to be difficult ... but I don't think it's impossible by any means. We've been in this boat in the past and we've forced Game 5s in those situations, also. So Boston this time of the year is kind of lovely, and I'm looking forward to coming back in a few days."

But the Red Sox have history on their side, as teams that go up 2-0 have a 38-5 series record in Division Series play. They've certainly got the numbers, as well, scoring 19 runs the past two games and showing why they ended the regular season with baseball's best record.

"That's what Joe should say," Dustin Pedroia said of Maddon's vow to return. "He's a great manager. He has those guys believing. They've already played a couple of elimination games, and they've won. I'm not going to say anything bad about Joe. I respect the heck out of him, and so does our whole team. It's going to be tough to put them away. They've been through that before this year. We know that. So we're looking forward to playing Game 3."

Boston will send Clay Buchholz, who missed three months with a right bursa sac injury earlier this season, to the mound on Monday, when the right-hander will be working on nine days' rest. Buchholz has pitched extremely well against Tampa Bay, posting a 2.41 ERA, while the Red Sox -- who struggled in previous seasons at Tropicana Field -- were 6-3 there in 2013, with three series wins.

"That speaks for itself," Jonny Gomes said of the favorable position being up 2-0 affords the Red Sox. "I was over there [with the Rays], that can be a hostile environment. But we are playing these playoffs every single game like our backs are against the wall. A must-win throughout."

The Rays will counter with Alex Cobb, with the fate of their season hanging in the balance.

"You've got to respect these guys," Cobb said over the weekend. "If you don't respect them, you're not going to respect anybody. They're a tough, tough ballclub from top to bottom. They've got everything covered, it seems like. It's going to take everybody's 'A' game every night to try to take this series."

Cobb will need to bring his A-plus game, as the Boston native has struggled against his hometown team, going 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA in seven career starts. The Rays are just 2-5 in those games, and they lost all four of his starts against Boston this season.

Rays: Myers struggling
Wil Myers went 0-for-5 in Saturday's loss and got a sarcastic ovation from the crowd at Fenway Park after catching a routine fly ball in the fifth inning as the rookie continues to struggle in his first taste of the postseason.

"I'm certain that he is pressing a bit. I would not deny that, but we're trying to do everything we can to talk to him and help him through this moment," Maddon said of Myers, who made a key miscue in Game 1. "Like I said, I think he handled yesterday extremely well. Couldn't have been handled any better than he did. And I'm really proud of him for the way he did handle that moment. I was just hoping that he had bowed and tipped his hat when he caught that fly ball. I was really hoping that he would have, but he did not.

"So he's a young man. He's a future All-Star. He's going to put up huge numbers in the future. When you go through a tough moment like this, you don't abandon people; you try to support them. And you try to give your best advice possible, which is what we're doing. There's still three more games left in the series to do a lot of damage. So we'll see how it all plays out."

Red Sox: Papi's yard work
David Ortiz turned in the first multihomer night in his postseason career, collecting a pair of solo shots off Rays ace David Price to extend his Red Sox club record to 14 playoff homers.

"As long as we win, it means a lot," said Ortiz, who went deep in the first and eighth innings. "It's not happening every day, but to happen in this location is good."

Ortiz's two homers are tied for the most in baseball history by a designated hitter in a single postseason game, matching Frank Thomas (Game 1, 2006 ALCS), Jason Giambi (Game 7, 2003 ALCS) and Edgar Martinez (Game 4, 1995 ALDS.)

Worth noting
• The Red Sox ran their mark of consecutive steals to 42 with Jacoby Ellsbury's first-inning swipe Saturday, a stretch that dates back to Aug. 9.

• Boston has won the first two games of a postseason series eight times and has gone on to win that series in seven of those.

• Koji Uehara earned his first career postseason save with a perfect ninth inning on Saturday. He threw 11 pitches in the frame, all for strikes.

• Price allowed more than four runs to the Red Sox for the first time in his career, regular season and postseason, a stretch of 20 games.

• Ben Zobrist's nine-game postseason hitting streak ended Saturday. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Comments