BOSTON — One ball fell between two outfielders. Another took a bad hop off the Green Monster standings. One batter reached safely on a dropped third strike and another when the pitcher was slow to cover first.
By the time it was over, the Boston Red Sox had scored five runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of Tampa Bay’s bad luck and bad defense to beat the Rays 12-2 on Friday in Game 1 of the AL division series.
Every Boston starter got a hit and scored a run. The Red Sox tweeted that it was the first time a team had done that in the postseason since 1936 — Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees did it in the World Series.
Needing a 163rd game to earn a wild-card berth, the Rays took three win-or-go home matchups in three different cities to reach this series. Now they need a victory in Game 2 on Saturday to tie the series before the teams shift to St. Petersburg, Fla., for Games 3 and 4.
Jon Lester allowed three hits in 7 2-3 innings for the AL East champions, giving up a pair of solo homers over the Monster by Sean Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist to spot the Rays a 2-0 lead through the top of the fourth. Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore had still not given up a hit.
But Dustin Pedroia led off the bottom half with a single up the middle, and then David Ortiz hit a high fly ball that center fielder Desmond Jennings and rookie right fielder Wil Myers converged on. Myers raised his left hand to call off Jennings but let it fall behind him, bouncing off the warning track a few feet in front of the fence and into the bullpen for a double.
Braves 4, Dodgers 3: ATLANTA — Mike Minor slammed his fist into his glove after getting out of a jam with a strikeout. Luis Avilan pumped his arm wildly after escaping another mess with a huge double play.
The Braves were fired up for this one, with good reason.
Atlanta got the win it had to have before heading to Los Angeles.
Minor pitched six strong innings, Jason Heyward had a two-run single and the Braves pulled off some nifty plays in the field, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Friday night to even the NL division series at one game apiece.
In a postseason already marked by defensive miscues all over the place, including some shaky plays by the Braves in Game 1, Atlanta’s defense came through by turning three double plays — none more crucial than the one Avilan started in the seventh to escape the inning with a 2-1 lead intact.