Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay Lightning

ST. PETERSBURG – All eliminated, but until its surprising contrast, the Boston Red Sox played like the World Series Champs from the start and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 Saturday night to force a Game 7 in the of the AL championship series.

“It is very likely to proceed. We come to the last game, and whoever performs better to spend,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “We have great respect for how well they have played, but we like our ballclub.”

Fall Jason Varitek hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning as Boston evened the ALCs at 3-all. No late drama needed by the Red Sox this time – which rallied from seven runs with only seven outings on the left to win Game 5.

Now Jon Lester starts for the Red Sox on Sunday night against Matt Garza in a rematch of Game 3, won 9-1 by lightning at Fenway Park. Last year, the Red Sox trailed Cleveland 3-1 before winning three in a row, and then swept Colorado for its second Series title in four seasons.

“It’s great to get to Game 7, to battle like this,” said Kevin Youkilis, who homer and drove in two runs. “We went there and played as if it were our last game. It’s amazing.”

The young Ray, who never won more than 70 games in a season before this year, I think it is for the challenge.

“We just get to stay positive,” pitcher James Shields said. ”We have one more game, and now is do or die, so let’s find out what we’re all about. ”

The pennant-winning headquarters of the World Series opened Wednesday night against the well-rested Philadelphia Phillies, who won the NL pennant over the Dodgers in Los Angeles in five games.

“It’s all about how to react to the moment, and it’s seventh game,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s a great learning experience. For us to win that game would be something special for us, too. Therefore, it is not to search in the past. They are looking to the future now.”

Red Sox ace Josh Beckett, who struggled in his first two starts of the playoffs, allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, despite the speed reduction, and Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson and Jonathan Papelbon combined for hitless relief.

“The man in suspense,” Boston slugger David Ortiz said of Beckett, who improved to 7-2 in 13 postseason games. “He’s hurt, and that the whole world knows, but what he brings is something special.”

BJ Upton tied an AL record in the first inning with his seventh home run of the postseason. After Boston was ahead 2-1, Tampa Bay tied in Jason Bartlett ‘s fifth inning Homer. But lightning did not achieve another success, and the Red Sox improved to 9-0 in elimination games under ALCs Francon.

Varitek, the captain of the Red Sox, had been 0-for-14 in the series before his homer in the sixth to face Shields, who allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.

“He is wearing a ‘C’ on the shirt for a lot of different reasons, but none more important than how much respect throughout the world that clubhouse, including players, coaches, senior management has for him,” said Beckett.

The Red Sox, trying to become the first repeat champions since the Yankees from 1998-00, were jubilant.

“We’re going to take is all we can achieve this,” said Francon. “But the way it happened, and as hard as he has worked, it meant a lot to everyone.”

Ortiz drove in the last execution against Shields with an RBI single in front of JP Howell to pad the lead.

Boston returned from a 3-1 deficit ALCs in 1986 against the Angels, and then in 2004 became the first major league team to win a best of seven series when trailing 3-0 in postseason, beating the Yankees for the pennant before sweeping St. Louis in the World Series. Then came last year’s return.

“We know what it takes to win games,” Ortiz said. “It is not easy. It’s not like we like to be in those situations, but I guess that is the destination we have in the past few years we have won the World Series.”

It was a strange night in different ways. The first 20 minutes of play does not appear on the TBS television, because there was an equipment failure.

And plate umpire Derryl Cousins left with a bruised collarbone after three innings, causing a 15-minute stoppage. Cousins was beaten by a foul ball hit by Varitek in the second but remained in the game until late. He was replaced by crew chief Tim McClelland, who had been the first base job.

“The delay did not really bug me that much.”He had just come out, Beckett said.” I think probably James Shields had the worst end of that deal. ”

Upton, who hit only nine homers in 531 regular season at-bats, drove the ball off one of the gateways on the ground at the Tropicana when homer off Beckett. Upton tied Troy Glaus (2002) with his seventh Homer in a single postseason, a record-holders behind Barry Bonds (2002) and Carlos Beltran (2004).

Immediately after the television broadcast began.

Youkilis led off the second inning with his drive on the left, center-field seats in front of Shields, then gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the third when grounded after Dustin Pedroia walked and took third place in the double Ortiz on the right – field line.

Bartlett Homer tied in the fifth.

Okajima launched two tickets without annotation, and Masterson came out of a potential tight situation in the eighth. Bartlett hit him with a pitch leading off and went to a 2-0 count on Akinori Iwamura to launch coach John Farrell visited the mound.

Papelbon struck out Iwamura, with two straight outs, and then Papelbon fired a 1-2-3 ninth, extending his Major League record for career postseason record streak to 25 entries over 16 appearances.

“The important thing is that we find a way to win this game,” said Varitek. “It was a great victory for us.”

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