BOSTON – B.J. Upton and Rocco Baldelli hit three-run homers to highlight a Tampa Bay power display in a 9-1 win over Boston in game three of the ALCS. The Rays lead the series two-games-to-one.
Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena added solo homers for Tampa Bay, which has now hit seven home runs in the last two games.
Matt Garza benefitted from the power display. He was staked to a five-run lead after three innings. He did his part by limiting the Red Sox to a run on six hits in six-plus innings. Garza struck out five.
Tampa Bay struck for four runs in the third off Boston starter Jon Lester. Upton and Longoria hit their home runs to account for all the runs in the inning. Baldelli homered in the eighth and Pena went deep in the ninth inning.
Game 4 is scheduled for tomorrow in Boston.
LOS ANGELES — Shane Victorino and the Philadelphia Phillies struck back with long balls rather than beanballs to move within one win of the World Series.
After ducking a pitch thrown over his head the previous day, Victorino and much-traveled pinch-hitter Matt Stairs delivered two-run homers in the eighth inning that lifted Philadelphia over the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 Monday night for a 3-1 lead in the NL championship series.
Lefty ace Cole Hamels, who won the series opener, can pitch the Phillies to their first World Series since 1993 in Game 5 on Wednesday night. He'll be opposed by Game 2 loser Chad Billingsley.
"This was the biggest game we've won so far," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. "But the next one is even bigger. That's kind of how we look at it."
Brad Lidge got his first four-out save for the Phillies, remaining perfect this season. It was the first time the visiting team has won a game in 12 meetings between the clubs this year.
After squandering a pair of leads, Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers have a tough task ahead. Only 11 teams in major league history have come back from 3-1 deficits to win a best-of-seven postseason series — two in the NLCS.
There were no brushback pitches or other trouble Monday night, unlike Game 3 when the benches and bullpens emptied in the third inning, moments after Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a pitch over Victorino's head in retaliation for Philadelphia's high-and-tight pitches earlier in the series.
Victorino was one of seven people fined Monday for their conduct during the near-scuffle.
With a runner at first and one out in the eighth, Victorino lined Cory Wade's first pitch into the right-field bullpen to tie the game at 5.
"We keep fighting," Victorino said. "We keep plugging along."
Then, after a two-out single by Carlos Ruiz, Dodgers manager Joe Torre called upon closer Jonathan Broxton, the seventh Los Angeles pitcher.Broxton tried to throw a 3-1 fastball past Stairs, and the 40-year-old left-handed hitter drove it more than halfway up the right-field pavilion to put the Phillies ahead.
"I try to swing for the fences," Stairs said. "That's what I've done my whole career. I was very fortunate to square one up tonight."
Broxton allowed only two homers in 69 innings during the regular season.
"I fell behind in the count and made a mistake over the plate and he cashed in," Broxton said. "He's a home run hitter. You've got to wipe it out and get ready to play them again. It'd been nice to even up the series."
But that didn't happen.