BOSTON -- For Tampa Bay ace David Price, who drilled David Ortiz on the first pitch with a 94-mile-an-hour fastball in the first inning Friday night, this probably had nothing to do with last Sunday’s brush-up between the Rays and Red Sox in Tropicana Field.
This had the appearance of settling a personal score.
But at the end of the night, the score that mattered most to the Sox tilted in their favor, a 3-2 walkoff win in 10 innings over the Rays. And naturally, the game turned on one more hit batsman. Rays reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo hit Jonny Gomes with a pitch with one out in the 10th, and A.J. Pierzynski followed with a drive into the center-field triangle with two Rays outfielders, Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers, in pursuit. At the last moment, Jennings slid to the ground, Myers went flying over him, and the ball fell safely, Pierzynski sprinting around the bases in jubilation.
The Sox have won five in a row, two straight in walkoff fashion.
Why the bad blood: Last October, Ortiz hit two home runs off Price in Game 2 of the American League division series at Fenway Park. The second home run was a towering drive down the right-field line, over the Pesky Pole. Ortiz lingered at home plate to determine whether the ball was fair or foul before beginning his long, satisfied stroll around the bases. Perhaps too long and too satisfied for Price’s taste.
Price had not faced Ortiz since that moment. The Sox slugger was not in the lineup last Saturday when Price gave up five runs in the first inning, then shut out the`Red Sox on one hit over the next seven innings in a game the Rays ultimately won in 15 innings.
By the looks of things Friday, Price figured he owed Ortiz one. But you don’t hit Boston’s franchise player without consequences, which in this case meant the ejection of Red Sox manager John Farrell and two of his coaches -- bench coach Torey Lovullo and third-base coach Brian Butterfield -- along with Sox starting pitcher Brandon Workman. The hitting coach, Greg Colbrunn, wound up as acting manager.
Farrell was incensed that after Ortiz was hit, plate umpire Dan Bellino issued warnings to both benches and Price, essentially giving Price a free shot at Ortiz without having to worry about retaliation. He argued his point with such vigor that Bellino thumbed him almost immediately.
Lovullo was thrown out in the fourth inning when Price hit Mike Carp with a pitch, leading Carp to express his displeasure to Price and the dugouts to empty, Ortiz screaming at Price while Rays catcher Jose Molina blocked his path to the pitcher. Lovullo erupted when Bellino, who has the discretion to decide intent even after a warning, allowed Price to continue. He flung his cap to the ground as he, too, was ejected.
Red Sox starter Workman did not hit a Rays batter, but he was ejected in the sixth inning after throwing a pitch behind Tampa’s biggest star, Evan Longoria. Longoria had words with Sox catcher Pierzynski while Bellino informed Workman he was out of the game, which also led to Butterfield’s automatic ejection.
Price, meanwhile, stuck around for seven innings, but not before Ortiz launched the third of three straight singles to drive in Boston’s first run in the fifth, and Jackie Bradley Jr. singled and Xander Bogaerts doubled him home to tie the score in the seventh.
The Rays had taken a 1-0 lead in the first when David DeJesus doubled and advanced to third when right-fielder Grady Sizemore bobbled the ball, and Longoria singled him home. They made it 2-0 in the fifth when Yunel Escobar, a villain in Boston’s eyes last Sunday, doubled, was sacrificed to third by Molina and scored on a single by DeJesus.
Late bid to win: Down to their last out in regulation, Brock Holt walked and Xander Bogaerts lined a two-strike single to right-center, sending Holt to third and bringing up Dustin Pedroia. Rays reliever Joel Peralta survived when Pedroia grounded out to Longoria at third, sending the game into extra innings.
Pedroia left the game after that at-bat and was replaced at second base by Jonathan Herrera. No word during the game about his condition.