Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save of the season in 25 chances, but Boston bailed out their closer scoring six runs in the top of the 12th to outlast the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in extra innings for a 12-6 victory and improve their lead over the New York Yankees to nine games in the division.
Brian Stokes (2-7) walked home the game winning run with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the 12th inning on a pitch far off the plate giving Boston a 7-6 lead and then the Tampa Bay bullpen imploded for five more runs.
Kevin Youkilis added three more runs on a bases clearing double over the head of right fielder Delmon Young to give Boston a 10-6 lead. Stokes was charged with all three runs knocked in on the double by Youkilis that were given up by relief pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu.
Manny Ramirez added a two-out RBI double that seemed to be caught by a wind stream in center field hooking so badly that the ball got by Devil Rays center fielder B.J. Upton allowing Youkils to score from second and David Ortiz to score from first base.
Kyle Snyder pitched two scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th earning his second win of the season and Javier Lopez finished off the game preserving the win for Boston (64-40) in the 12th.
Despite what the box score looks like, Tampa Bay had been jabbing away at the Sox all night long. Their biggest haymaker, that forced extra innings, finally landed in the bottom of the ninth as Jonny Gomes delivered with a two-run homerun on a split finger fastball to tie the game up at 6-6 off of Papelbon.
Papelbon got out of the inning retiring the next three batters, but the damage was done. The Red Sox closer, Papelbon, had not blown a save since May 1st against the Oakland Athletics.
Ortiz had a chance to put the Red Sox ahead in the top of the 11th with Julio Lugo on second base and Youkilis on first, but the usual clutch hitting of Ortiz did not shine through as he struck out and Ramirez followed with a line-out to third baseman Akinori Iwamura to end the threat.
Al Reyes pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Devil Rays and kept them alive in the game getting out of the huge jam in the 11th.
Lester pitched for 6 2/3 innings, giving up six hits, four runs, one walk, three strikeouts, and two homeruns suffering the no-decision in his second start since coming back from cancer.
Boston scored their first three runs in this back and forth game with an RBI single from Jason Varitek in the top of the second and a bases loaded walk drawn by Julio Lugo making it 2-0.
J.D. Drew added an RBI single in the third inning giving Boston an early 3-0 advantage.
Tampa Bay stayed in the game all night starting their scoring on a pair of sacrifice hits in the fourth and sixth innings from Young and Carlos Pena respectively.
Ortiz and Ramirez pushed home two more runs in the seventh as Ortiz had an RBI single and Ramirez got an RBI off of a sacrifice fly scoring Youkilis giving Boston a 5-2 lead.
Gomes and Josh Paul homered off of Lester in the bottom of the seventh inning bringing it to a one run ball game.
Crisp’s grounder into a fielder’s choice in the eigth gave Boston their 6-4 lead before it was blown in the ninth by Papelbon on Gomes’ second homerun of the game.
The bullpens were on opposite sides of the spectrum as Boston’s pen gave up two runs and Tampa’s gave up nine runs in the game.