On paper, Game 3 looked like the biggest mismatch of the series, and the final score certainly wasn't close. But it was in the exact opposite direction you would've expected, with the Rays beating up on Red Sox ace Jon Lester and taking the third game, 9-1.
After his game winning sac fly on Saturday night, B.J. Upton has now been part of the two biggest plays in franchise history, as his three run homer in the third was the biggest play of the game, putting the Rays up 4-0 and stunning the Fenway crowd. Rocco Baldelli's homer in the 8th really put it out of reach, and allowed the Rays to save their two best relievers, Grant Balfour and Dan Wheeler. Strangely, J.P. Howell was left in to pitch a second inning when the score was 8-1. He's their top lefty out of the pen, and with another game on Tuesday night, Maddon probably should have put Chad Bradford in, or even tried to get two innings out of Edwin Jackson.
Either way, Matt Garza's excellent performance (6IP, 1R, 5K) allowed Tampa to rest almost their entire pen after Saturday night's marathon, although the same can be said for the Red Sox, who used only Paul Byrd in relief of Lester. Now the Rays just need to split the next two games in Boston, so they can go back home up 3-2. Taking the lead in the series ensures that they won't go back to James Shields on short rest and will send Andy Sonnanstine to the mount in Game 4. Tonight's game also makes the potential Game 7 rematch of Garza vs. Lester look a lot more favorable for the Rays than it did just a few hours ago.