The Devil Rays' Marlon Anderson had better things to do Thursday than hang around Tropicana Field into all hours of the night.
"Had to go home and have a barbecue with my little girl," Anderson said. "So I wanted to get this game over."
That's exactly what he did. He lashed a Mike Timlin sinker that didn't sink into the left-centerfield gap with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th to snap a tie and give the Rays a 6-5 victory over Boston before 12,838 at Tropicana Field.
No need to rub your eyes, it's true. The Rays won a one-run game and finally figured out a way to take a series from the Red Sox.
Despite playing before a crowd that sounded more like Fenway Park than Tampa Bay's homefield, the Rays beat the Red Sox for the first time in nine series.
"I'm glad some of our fans finally got up and quieted some of the Red Sox fans," Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "Pretty exciting win. We came from behind and finally won a series from the Red Sox."
Heck, the Rays finally won a series period. They had gone 0-12-1 since their last series win against Baltimore May 16-18.
"Really? It has been that long, hasn't it," Piniella said. "That's the last one? Hmmm. Well, it feels good, I'll tell you that."
It wasn't easy, of course. Nothing ever is with the Rays. Jeremi Gonzalez, who at times has been the Rays' best pitcher, developed a new pitch Thursday: the gopher ball.
He served up three in the first four innings. Manny Ramirez hit two home runs and David Ortiz hit another to help the Red Sox overcome an early 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead.
Then Rays reliever Brandon Backe gave up a homer to Trot Nixon, the first batter he faced, to give Boston a 5-3 lead. It seemed as if the Rays were headed for another close loss and frustrating night.
But Al Martin hit his first homer of the season _ a two-run shot off good friend and former Pittsburgh teammate Tim Wakefield _ in the eighth to tie it.
"I'm not tied with Tyner anymore," Martin said, referring to teammate Jason Tyner, who has not hit a homer as a professional. "I don't know the last time we won a series, but to do it against a good team, and for myself to contribute, is huge."
The winning inning was a swing of emotions for the Rays. It went from bad to good to gloomy to victorious.
It started with Rocco Baldelli grounding out. Aubrey Huff then singled to right and went to third on Travis Lee's single to right.
"Really good, aggressive baserunning, going from first to third," Piniella said. "That set up the inning. Good, aggressive baserunning, that's what you like to see."
Martin was intentionally walked, and all the Rays needed from Damian Rolls was a deep fly. Instead he struck out.
Anderson, though, came through against his former teammate Timlin.
As Anderson talked to the media after the game, Rolls passed by, pointed at Anderson and said, "That's what teammates are for _ to pick you up. He picked me up."
"He has really been clutch for us," Piniella said.
Anderson is batting a team-best .391 with runners in scoring position. And he's batting 1.000 when he has a barbecue to go to.
"I just wanted to end it," Anderson said.