10/12/08 1:54 AM EST
Rays Short Hops: Game 2
Perseverance, rediscovered stroke even ALCS in extras
By Mark Remme / MLB.com
A sacrifice fly by B.J. Upton in the 11th inning spoiled a strong performance from the Red Sox's bullpen and knotted the series at 1. Frozen moment
After Mike Timlin walked the bases loaded (one intentional) in the 11th inning, Upton battled with a two-strike count and lofted a fly ball down the right-field line. Despite a shallow fly and a strong throw by J.D. Drew, Fernando Perez slid safely across the plate for the game-winning run. Big number
3 -- Homers allowed by Josh Beckett on Saturday, matching the most he'd allowed in an entire postseason (2003) prior to the 2008 campaign. Game balls
After going 0-for-4 in Game 1, Longoria unloaded in Game 2. The rookie went 3-for-5 with a homer, two doubles, three runs and three RBIs -- including a two-run shot in the first inning that gave Tampa Bay its first runs of the series.
The center fielder scored twice, including a game-tying blast in the third inning, and hit the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 11th.
Pena scored twice in the ballgame, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and set the table for Longoria's big night in both the first and fifth innings.
Sense of October
Being down 1-0 in the series, there was a sense of urgency from the Rays all game long. Knowing Jon Lester is waiting to pitch at Fenway Park in Game 3, tying up the series at home was imperative for this young Tampa Bay club. It battled again and again, finally earning the win in a classic postseason tilt at the Trop.
5 AB, 3 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 2B
Comment: The rookie third baseman bounced back from a hitless performance in Game 1 to produce three extra-base hits on Saturday.
4 1/3 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 3 HR
Comment: Kazmir allowed five extra-base hits and certainly didn't have the start he would've liked, but he did keep the Rays in the ballgame by matching Beckett's performance.
Both teams saw their starting pitchers struggle on Saturday night, but both can bank on both Lester and Matt Garza giving strong pitching performances in Game 3. There's a good chance the Game 3 box score will look more like the final five innings on Saturday, not the first six.
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.