Rays win Game 3 despite setbacks
After early stumbles at the plate and on the bases, Tampa Bay delivers late
The final score might not reflect it, but the Rays' Game 3 win didn't come easily. In four of the first five innings the Rays put six runners on base, but could not bring around any of them to score. Then, once they did start showing life in the later innings, they had to overcome a baserunning mistake and then an extra-wide strike zone before they could mount their comebacks. Twice in this game the Rays came from behind to force a Game 4.
John Jaso's go-ahead RBI single might have rated the most significant play of the game, but the most important series of events came in the sixth. While the Rays had those six baserunners in the first five innings, they failed to get a hit after a man reached. In the sixth they got off to a good start with an Evan Longoria walk. Matt Joyce hit a soft grounder and avoided getting doubled up, but he still created an out with a runner on base.
Dan Johnson, the second lefty to face relief pitcher Derek Holland, took the first five pitches of his at-bat and worked the count full. Holland went with a fastball away on the sixth pitch, but Johnson reached out and pulled it into right field. The situation for the Rays appeared favorable. They had runners on first and second with one out, which would have given them a win expectancy of 40.1 percent, an increase of 5.9 percent on the play. But the play wasn't over yet.