“I’m assuming that the next opponent we have is going to be as tall a challenge as Tampa is,” manager John Farrell said.
“You never feel like you’re comfortable going against them. We’ve had some success against them this year, where maybe in years past it’s been a little bit different,” he added. “They posed a stern challenge for us, no question.”
Both managers mixed and matched all night in a tense game that felt more like a chess match. Desperately trying to force a fifth game, Rays skipper Joe Maddon used nine pitchers — a postseason record for a nine-inning game — and had ace David Price warming up for a potential 10th inning.
“The way it was working at the beginning there, I could see it was just not going to work and we had to do something differently,” Maddon said. “We became a little bit more extemporaneous at that point.”
Breslow relieved Boston starter Jake Peavy in the sixth and struck out his first four batters — all in the middle of Tampa Bay’s lineup. The 33-year-old lefty from Yale has pitched for six teams in eight big-league seasons, including two stints with the Red Sox.
The highest-scoring team in the majors this season, Boston scratched out three runs on six singles in a game that featured only one extra-base hit.
“They didn’t make any mistakes. You could see their grit,” Maddon said. “They’ve got a bunch of gamers over there. ... On the other side, I think our guys were equally as tough. We have had a hard time hitting their pitching staff.”