The Red Sox are suddenly six outs away from dismissing the Rays and advancing to the ALCS.
Tampa Bay scored the first run of this ALDS Game 4 in the bottom of the sixth inning on David DeJesus’ RBI single, but the Red Sox answered right back in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitting for Stephen Drew, rising star Xander Bogaerts took a one-out walk from Rays left-hander Jake McGee. Jacoby Ellsbury then hit a two-out single, moving Bogaerts to third. Rays manager Joe Maddon called for right-hander Joel Peralta, who skipped his first pitch and allowed Bogaerts to scamper home for the tying run. An infield single by Shane Victorino moments later drove in Ellsbury and gave Boston a 2-1 lead.
Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow struck out Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings in order in the bottom of the seventh inning. Breslow also fanned James Loney in the bottom of the sixth.
To the top of the eighth inning we go at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.