The Rays were plagued by poor throws from rightfield by Gabe Gross in the ALCS, but Boston didn't fare much better.
J.D. Drew's attempt to gun Fernando Perez at home on a short flyball in the bottom of the 11th in Game 2 came nowhere close, as did his relay in the bottom of the fourth Sunday in Game 7 with Carlos Pena chugging home from first. Drew fielded Evan Longoria's double in the corner and struggled to hit 2B Dustin Pedroia, who was deep in right to take the cutoff. Pedroia's throw curled up the third-base line, allowing Pena to score.
BOOM: Pedroia had seen mid 90s fastballs - swinging at and missing the first - in the first inning before lining an 84-mph changeup for a homer to left. It was his third of the postseason, all in the ALCS, after hitting 17 in the regular season.
Pedroia was hit by a pitch on an 0-and-2 count in the third inning and stole second.
He helped squelch a promising Rays fourth inning when he fielded a Pena topper with one out and threw to second to force Akinori Iwamura on a close play.
ENJOY IT: Red Sox manager Terry Francona is the master of the elimination game, having won nine of 10 and five straight entering Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday. It could be difficult to enjoy such high-drama baseball while at the tiller, but Francona said he manages to enjoy the voyage.
"I enjoy the heck out of it. I don't think I have the ability, I hope, to stand back and look at it like a fan," he said. "But there's a lot of things that go through you during the day. There's some anxiety, you get nervous, you get excited. But I love it. It's not all like giggles, but it's thoroughly enjoyable, yeah."
Francona said the twists of the Rays series have been difficult, but hoped his players enjoyed it.
"It takes it out of you. There's a lot of late travel, and I think when it's all said and done everybody collapses - but not until," he said. "There will be no one single part of me that would ever want to complain about a late night. I mean, you've worked so hard to get here, to not enjoy it I think would be a big mistake."