March 25, 2018
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Rays sweep Red Sox in twinbill; Butterfield ejected in first game

Mark L. Baer | USA Today Sports
Mark L. Baer | USA Today Sports
Boston Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield argues a call with umpire Dale Scott during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Butterfield was ejected and the Red Sox went on to lose 2-1.
By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange

BOSTON — The Tampa Bay Rays really had no interest in making up Wednesday night’s rainout with a split doubleheader on Thursday.

But if you have to play it, you might as well win it — and the Rays edged the Boston Red Sox 2-1 in a game that featured a controversial call at the plate that led to the ejection of Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield. Butterfield is an Orono native and is a former three-sport star at Orono High School.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak and was only the second in the last eight game for the Rays (13-16), who won the late game 6-5.

The Red Sox, trying to get back to the first time since they were 2-2, fell to 13-16.

Boston closer Koji Uehara gave up a solo homer to Yunel Escobar in the ninth as the Rays rallied for the victory.

Boston lost the first game on Dustin Pedroia Bobblehead Day (the giveaway makeup from Wednesday), and it was Pedroia right in the middle of the controversy.

The second baseman led off the seventh inning with a single off reliever Jake McGee. With one out, designated hitter David Ortiz doubled off the Green Monster in left-center field. Left fielder Matt Joyce got the ball to shortstop Yunel Escobar, who threw home. Catcher Jose Molina put the tag on a sliding Pedroia, who was called out by covering first base umpire Toby Basner as Pedroia tried to hit the corner of the plate.

“I just slid to the back part of the plate, that’s basically it,” Pedroia said.

Asked if he touched the plate, Pedroia said, “Thought so. I haven’t really seen the replay. When it happened, that’s why I was frustrated when he called me out.

“I don’t really know what the rules are. I just know that if you plow the catcher, you’re ejected and out and then fined and then suspended, so … I think my job is to go as hard as I can to the back part of the plate and slide and I did that.”

The Red Sox protested vehemently and the play went to review. Even though the home crowd roared at the replay, there was nothing conclusive to overturn the call. Butterfield was then ejected by Basner.

“Again, whatever the call is on the field, it’s going to stand up unless there’s something overwhelming in the other direction,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I didn’t see anything overwhelmingly in the other direction.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell disagreed.

“I thought not only did Dustin beat the throw, beat the tag, but felt like his left foot made some contact with home plate,” Farrell said. “Our video internally showed that that was the case. Upon review, the call came back, it stood. Felt like there wasn’t conclusive enough evidence to overturn the call on the field.”

Boston fell to 1-4 on challenges.

“We don’t seem to be getting any calls and it’s extremely frustrating,” Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy said. “Obviously, it’s close, I’ll give it to you it’s close. But would you err on the side of what we all saw, and that’s him touching the plate? It’s just extremely frustrating when that decides ballgames. We agreed to replay to get the calls right — that’s the reason we agreed for this to happen. And to not get them right … I don’t want to hear anybody’s explanation.

“I know what I see. You can’t talk me into anything different. You see what you see — Dustin Pedroia was clearly safe, albeit close, clearly safe. I don’t know what else to say.”

Five Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a six-hitter, designated hitter David DeJesus hit a solo homer (No. 2 on the year) and drew a bases-loaded walk off Peavy (1-1) in the fourth inning — Peavy’s third straight walk with a man on and two out.

Reliever Brandon Gomes, the losing pitcher on Tuesday night, raised his record to 2-1 with an inning and a third of work and Grant Balfour notched his fifth save. He retired Ortiz with Pedroia (two hits) and second and two out in the ninth.

The Red Sox, who got a first-inning RBI single from left fielder Jonny Gomes, said the doubleheader scheduling, instead of being at a date later in the season, had nothing to do with the Pedroia giveaway. Regardless, the Rays weren’t thrilled at the whole thing.

Then they won the game.

NOTES: DeJesus, still not playing the outfield because of a sore shoulder, was just 4-for-25 lifetime against Peavy but homered and drew a bases-loaded walk his first two times up. … LHP Cesar Ramos started and worked the first 4 2/3 for Tampa Bay, walking six and striking out six. … LHP David Price opens the Rays’ three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, while RHP Clay Buchholz opens Boston’s three-game home set against Oakland. … The announced crowd for the day game was 35,621 but there was only about half of that in attendance. Some chanted “Let’s Go Bruins” in the ninth inning. … The Rays called up RHP Brad Boxberger and the Red Sox summoned LHP Drake Britton for the second game, which is allowed under the rules.


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