Escobar's ninth-inning HR helps Rays sweep doubleheader from Red Sox
MAY 01, 2014 11:15p ET
The Red Sox got their way. The Rays got the last laugh.
''I really believe that we had vociferously fought for just one game, for a lot of obvious reasons,'' said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. ''I mean, I'm not going to hide from the reasons -- we have a lot of guys injured, we had a lot of very difficult games more recently, so we wanted one game and pick it up later when we're at greater health.
''It just did not work out that way, thus our players came out and made a statement today and I kind of enjoyed it.''
Escobar crushed the second pitch from Uehara (0-1) over the Green Monster in left field for his second homer of the year, and Grant Balfour recorded the final three outs for his second save of the day and sixth of the season.
''He's a very good relief pitcher and it was a very uncomfortable at-bat,'' Escobar said through a translator. ''(I) got a splitter up and (I) just tried to get good wood on the ball and (I) was able to hit it out.''
''I didn't know we didn't want to play. No one asked me,'' Balfour said with a laugh. ''I'm pretty happy that we did.''
So is Maddon.
''I'm so proud of our guys, the way they handled the entire moment,'' he said. ''Nobody complained about anything. Nothing -- and they just went out and played really good baseball for 18 innings. It was pretty astounding to watch the whole thing play out.''
The Rays charged back from a 5-2 deficit in the nightcap.
Rodriguez's two-run homer off Boston starter Felix Doubront in the sixth brought Tampa Bay within one, and Rodriguez tied it in the seventh off reliever Junichi Tazawa, doubling and scoring on James Loney's single.
Uehara then uncharacteristically surrendered Escobar's blast, just the fourth homer he has allowed at Fenway Park since joining Boston before last season.
''It happens every year, April, May,'' Uehara said through a translator. ''I think even last year I didn't pitch that well.''
NOTES: The opener was the makeup of Wednesday night's game that was postponed because of inclement weather. It was the first doubleheader for both teams since last year when the Red Sox swept the Rays in Fenway Park on June 18. ... The Rays open a three-game series against the New York Yankees on Friday. Tampa Bay LHP David Price (3-2, 4.75) will oppose New York LHP Vidal Nuno (0-0, 6.59). ... Boston will host the Oakland Athletics for a three-game series beginning Friday, with Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz (1-2, 6.66) facing Athletics' RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 5.14).