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Red Sox take advantage of Rays' fourth-inning miscues

Red Sox take advantage of Rays' fourth-inning miscues

Red Sox take advantage of Rays' fourth-inning miscues

BOSTON -- The Red Sox had no hits until the fourth inning of Friday's 12-2 win over the Rays in Game 1 of their American League Division Series.

Dustin Pedroia singled to start the fourth and the Red Sox showed some signs of life against Rays starter Matt Moore. Then David Ortiz launched a fly ball into right field for what appeared to be an easy out.

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But right fielder Wil Myers thought center fielder Desmond Jennings may have called for it, so Myers moved at the last second, and the ball dropped for a ground-rule double.

NLDS

Given the opportunity to strike, the Red Sox erupted for five runs in the inning and scored seven more before the game was over.

"Tampa has good pitching," Ortiz said. "And whatever the numbers say, you have to take advantage of [mistakes]."

Two batters after Ortiz's fly-ball double, Jonny Gomes launched a double off the Green Monster to score two.

Then with two outs and Gomes on second, the Rays were caught napping. Stephen Drew hit a weak grounder to first base, forcing James Loney off the bag and leaving Moore in a footrace with Drew. Meanwhile, Gomes turned from third and darted home. Loney opted to go for the out at first, and Drew beat Moore to the bag as another run scored.

More Rays defensive blunders followed, as Will Middlebrooks smacked a double off the left-field wall the next at-bat and left fielder Sean Rodriguez, who had made a diving catch earlier in the game, overplayed the bounce and let the ball squeak by him back toward the infield. Drew scored from first.

Then, another defensive mistake. Moore struck out Jacoby Ellsbury on a two-seamer, but catcher Jose Lobaton couldn't corral it cleanly and the ball ricocheted off his glove, allowing Ellsbury to advance to first and Middlebrooks to third.

Shane Victorino drove in Middlebrooks with a single.

The Red Sox batted around in the fourth. Then they did it again in the fifth.

"If you can catch a break, that's what it's about, taking advantage of that," Middlebrooks said. "So we were able to take advantage and turn it into a big inning."

By the time it was over, all nine of the Red Sox's starting players had collected a hit and scored. It was the third time that had been done by any team in postseason history and the first time since 1936.

"You hope that keeps going," Victorino said. "Obviously, as I've said, we've done that all year long."

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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