St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays may just have the Boston Red Sox right where they want them.
Jose Lobaton smacked a game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the die-hard Rays overcame a three-run deficit earlier on to pull out a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Red Sox and force a Game 4 of the American League Division Series.
Lobaton's pinch-hit blast off Koji Uehara (0-1) enabled Tampa Bay to stave off elimination for the fourth time in the past eight days and bounce back from one-sided defeats in the first two tests of this best-of-five set.
Evan Longoria ignited the Rays' comeback with a game-tying three-run homer against Clay Buchholz in the fifth inning, and Tampa Bay survived a blown save from closer Fernando Rodney (1-0) in the top of the ninth to live another day.
James Loney went 3-for-3 in the win, with David DeJesus and Yunel Escobar each collecting two hits and a run scored for the Rays.
Jacoby Ellsbury finished 3-for-5 and scored twice for Boston, which had outscored its AL East rival by a 19-6 margin in the previous two meetings, while David Ortiz had an RBI single in the loss. Buchholz grinded through six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out five.
Game 4 will take place Tuesday at Tropicana Field, with Jeremy Hellickson getting the start for Tampa Bay opposite Jake Peavy.
The Sports Network