Blown call helps Price, Rays beat Red Sox and regain first place
Tampa Bay Rays' Joel Peralta, left, raises his arms as Boston Red Sox's Daniel Nava slams his helmet after being called out at home plate in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Boston, Monday, July 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Red Sox's Brandon Snyder watches his solo home run in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Boston, Monday, July 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Home plate umpire Jerry Meals, left, ejects Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Boston, Monday, July 29, 2013. The Rays won 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Clouds form over Fenway Park during a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays in Boston, Monday, July 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
The Fenway Park grounds crew brings out the tarp during a rain delay in the eighth inning of a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays in Boston, Monday, July 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Tampa Bay Rays' Fernando Rodney celebrates after defeating the Boston Red Sox 2-1 in a baseball game in Boston, Monday, July 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
BOSTON – With help from a quick thunderstorm, the Red Sox had David Price out of the game.
The problem was they didn’t get a break on an umpire’s admitted missed call in a 2-1 loss to the Rays last night.
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning, pinch-runner Daniel Nava was called out at home by plate umpire Jerry Meals – even though replays clearly showed and Meals said afterward that Nava got under the tag of catcher Jose Molina.
“No, there was no doubt. I knew I was safe. I wouldn’t try and sell it, if I – on replay you’d see that I was safe,” Nava said. “So I knew that I was safe. Unfortunately, that was the situation, and obviously that was the call, but at the same time, I probably should have been there the at-bat before.”
Ryan Lavarnway doubled off the Green Monster against reliever Joel Peralta, but Nava couldn’t score when Stephen Drew’s line drive went over right fielder Wil Myers’s head for a double. Nava then tagged on Brandon Snyder’s fly ball to short left-center. Nava and Manager John Farrell both argued, with Farrell getting ejected by Meals.
Meals spoke to a pool reporter after the game.
“What I saw was Molina blocked the plate and Nava’s foot lifted,” he said. “But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava’s foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina’s shin guard.”
Boston outfielder Shane Victorino said the decision hurt, but it’s part of the game.
“I wasn’t bothering stopping him. He had every right to be upset,” Victorino said when asked about Farrell’s ejection. “Again, the human error is part of the game and that stuff happens. Sure it gets frustrating, especially when you battle and you grind like that and something like that happens. Sure you get frustrated, but we put ourselves (in position) to win again in the bottom of the ninth.”
Price allowed just two hits over 7 1∕3 innings to beat the Boston Red Sox for the second time in six days, and Tampa Bay retook first place in the AL East.
Price (6-5) was dominating the makeup game before it was delayed for 39 minutes because of a brief downpour that arrived as fans were singing “Sweet Caroline” and he was warming up for the bottom of the eighth. The Rays left-hander stayed in the game, but retired just one batter – after starting him out with three straight balls – before Manager Joe Maddon pulled him from the game.
“He came back and got the strikeout, I understand, but I really didn’t like it,” Maddon said.
“I kicked myself. ... I knew I made a mistake” sending Price back out after the rain delay, Maddon said. “The guy’s way too important to the franchise and he’s way too important to himself to jeopardize it on July 29.”
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 26th save. He gave up a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury, who stole second with one out, and walked David Ortiz with two outs. A 100 mph wild pitch moved the runners to second and third but Mike Napoli struck out on a 3-2 changeup to end the game.
Felix Doubront (7-5) allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out four in five innings.
Price pitched a five-hitter to beat the Red Sox on Wednesday and help the Rays move a half-game back in the AL East behind Boston, which had been in first since May 27. But the series finale was rained out on Thursday, bringing the teams back to Boston for the makeup last night.
Before they could finish things up at Fenway Park for the season, the Rays took over first place in the division on Friday and then gave it back on Sunday.
Price allowed just Ortiz’s double high off the Green Monster to lead off the second inning and Snyder’s 302-foot fly ball off the Pesky Pole for a home run in the sixth. That was the only runner to get past second base against Price, who walked none and struck out eight to win for the fifth time in six starts since coming off the disabled list on July 2.
The Rays led 2-0 after five on an RBI double from Sean Rodriguez and a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Myers.
∎ The Rays acquired injured White Sox reliever Jesse Crain for future considerations.
∎ The Red Sox learned Ortiz won’t be suspended for destroying the phones in the Baltimore dugout with a bat after being ejected for complaining about a pair of called strikes on Saturday.
∎ Rays 3B Evan Longoria has an 11-game hitting streak, his third streak of the year of 10 or more games.
∎ Doubront has allowed three runs or fewer in 18 of 19 starts, including his last 14, the longest streak by a Red Sox LHP starter since at least 1920. It matches the longest by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2002.
∎ The Rays, who lost the series finale against the New York Yankees on Sunday, haven’t lost back-to-back games since June.