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April 22, 2013

Red Sox rally in 9th to beat Rays 3-2

BOSTON — Mike Napoli drove in the winning run with a double in the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the light-hitting Tampa Bay Rays with a 3-2 win on Monday.

The Rays had two hits before finally showing some offensive punch in the ninth when Desmond Jennings led off with a single, stole second and scored the tying run on a single by Ben Zobrist off Andrew Bailey (1-0).

Joel Peralta (0-1) retired Boston’s first batter in the bottom of the ninth before walking Dustin Pedroia. Napoli then hit a liner off the left-field wall and Pedroia easily beat the throw home.

The Red Sox had lost all three of their previous traditional morning games against Tampa Bay on Patriots’ Day, a Massachusetts state holiday.

It was also Jackie Robinson Day around the majors.

All uniformed team personnel wore the number 42 on their uniforms in recognition of Robinson, marking the 66th anniversary of his breaking the Major League Baseball color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Red Sox had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on a leadoff triple by Jacoby Ellsbury and an RBI-groundout by Shane Victorino. Evan Longoria tied it in the fourth with his first homer of the season before Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the fifth with his second.

Both starters were outstanding. Boston’s Ryan Dempster struck out 10 and allowed two hits and two walks in seven innings. Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson also worked seven innings, giving up two runs, three hits and one walk while striking out nine.

Koji Uehara pitched a perfect eighth for Boston before Bailey tried for his first save this season. He filled in for Joel Hanrahan, who struggled as Boston’s closer before being sidelined for a few days with soreness in his right hamstring.

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