Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 5, Rays 3

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
10:47
PM ET



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox right fielder Cody Ross, whose miscue on a fly ball on Wednesday allowed the eventual game-winning run to score on a sacrifice fly, answered with his bat on Thursday to help Boston to a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Ross went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, a run and a walk.

He hit his seventh homer of the season, a solo shot, in the top of the third inning. Then, with the Sox clinging to a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth, Ross delivered a two-out, two-run single.

"Cody was big tonight," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said after the game. "He busted the third changeup he saw over the center-field fence and he busted their shift with two RBI that turned out to be the two that we needed. Cody will give you everything he has and that's enough for me. He's a good player."

Red Sox starter Felix Doubront worked 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. He tossed 97 pitches, 62 for strikes. On the other side, Tampa starter Matt Moore worked six innings and allowed three runs on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

Moore tossed 33 pitches in the first inning and walked in Boston's first run of the game when Ross drew the free pass with the bases loaded.

CATCHER'S INTERFERENCE: Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach is a strong, solid defender behind the plate. There's a reason the club signed him to a one-year deal in the offseason to serve as Jarrod Saltalamacchia's backup. Shoppach, playing against his former team, served as Felix Doubront's batterymate Thursday. The Red Sox held a 3-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the third inning when Shoppach interfered on a swing by the Rays' B.J. Upton. The batter was awarded first base and he later scored to give Tampa its first run of the game. Shoppach also allowed a passed ball and went 0-for-3 at the plate and was pinch-hit for by Saltalamacchia in the top of the ninth inning.

BYE-BYE BYRDIE: Recently acquired Red Sox outfielder, Marlon Byrd, hit is first home run of the season with Boston to lead off the top of the second inning Thursday night. He crushed a 3-2 offering from Moore and deposited it into the left-field seats. It was his first homer in 126 at-bats, dating back to last season when he was with the Cubs.

HEADS-UP: In the early afternoon hours on Thursday, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price retweeted this from a fan: "Moore should put one right between his numbers."

What Price's Twitter follower was referring to was the fact that Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez predicted after Wednesday's 2-1 loss that he would hit a home run in Thursday's game against the Rays at Tropicana.

Gonzalez is stuck at two homers this season and hasn't hit one since April 17. So, with two runners on and one out in the top of the first inning, he stepped into the batter's box against Tampa starter Matt Moore and, on the first offering, the right-hander drilled Gonzalez in the back.

Gonzalez led off the top of the third inning and absolutely crushed a foul ball deep down the right-field line. On the next pitch, he struck out looking. In the bottom half of the inning, Red Sox starter Felix Doubront returned the favor and drilled the Rays' Luke Scott in the back, who appeared a little upset with the HBP as he made his way to first base.

Gonzalez grounded out to shortstop in the fifth inning and then just got under one in the eighth inning, flying out to right field.

TOSSED: Gonzalez had also complained about the balls and strikes calls in Wednesday's game. Well, teammate Mike Aviles took it a step further and got ejected in Thursday's game. Plate umpire Dan Bellino tossed Aviles for arguing a called third strike. It was the first ejection of Aviles' career.

"It was just frustrating, I guess," Aviles said after the game. "I really wasn't questioning if it was a ball or strike on the last one. It was more of the fact that he had called two [other pitches] very similar balls, so I kind of shut off that pitch and when it got called a strike, I thought he gave me the hook prematurely, but at that point I definitely lost my cool and I apologize for that. It was definitely a little frustrating."

REHAB START: Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka made his fifth minor league rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday night in Durham, N.C. The rehabbing right-hander worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. He also surrendered two home runs and tossed 95 pitches, 64 for strikes. He's slated to make another rehab start on Tuesday.

UP NEXT: Bring on interleague play. After a quick two-game set in Tampa, the Red Sox head to Philadelphia for a three-game series against the Phillies and Jonathan Papelbon. On Friday, Boston right-hander Daniel Bard (3-4, 4.30 ER) toes the rubber against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels (5-1, 2.28).

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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