10/13/08 8:41 PM ET
Rays Short Hops: Game 3
Unfazed by Fenway, Rays use long ball to cut down Red Sox
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Tampa Bay's bats came alive in the crisp New England weather, as four different players went deep and Matt Garza tossed six-plus innings of one-run baseball.
With a runner on first and one out in the seventh, Evan Longoria made a great stop at third, hitting second baseman Akinori Iwamura with a chest-high throw to unleash a critical double play. Boston had already scored one run in the frame, and the Rays' defense kept the Sox from taking any late-game momentum. Big number
9 -- Number of Rays starters with a hit in Monday's game. The solid offensive attack kept Tampa Bay threatening and allowed a steady stream of run support, with runs in four different frames. Game balls Matt Garza
Garza retired the Red Sox's leadoff hitter in the first six innings, and gave up just one run in six-plus innings of work. The young right-hander fanned five and notched his first career postseason victory.
Upton's three-run blast in the top of the third snapped Red Sox starter Jon Lester's streak of 24 2/3 postseason innings without an earned run. Upton also legged out an infield single in the fifth and has a team-leading five postseason homers.
Longoria tied the rookie postseason record with a solo homer in the third inning. The Rays third baseman has gone yard four times in the playoffs, joining Miguel Cabrera, who had four homers with the Marlins in 2003.
Sense of October
The Rays showed no fear at Fenway Park, and responded to the Red Sox's one score in the seventh with three more of their own. Rocco Baldelli launched a one-out blast over the Green Monster to cushion Tampa Bay's lead and send Fenway faithful heading for the exits.
5 AB, 2 2B, R
Comment: Iwamura showed why he is a feared Fenway Park-hitter, twice doubling off the Green Monster's towering wall. The Rays second baseman has hit safely in all 7 of the club's postseason games.
2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 K
Comment: With inherited runners on first and third and no outs, Howell provided serious damage control in the seventh inning. After the Sox scored on a sac fly, Howell got red-hot Dustin Pedroia to ground into an inning-ending double play.
"Tonight, we had a plan -- we had a game plan, we stayed with it and, eventually, we got pitches that we could handle."-- manager Joe Maddon on the Rays' approach to Jon Lester
The Rays will send Andy Sonnanstine to the hill at Fenway Park for a pivotal Game 4. A crafty right-hander, Sonnanstine doesn't light up the radar guns, but he has pitched particularly well against the Red Sox. In two regular-season starts, Sonnanstine has put up 13 scoreless innings against Boston.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.