BOSTON (AP) — Defensive replacement Sam Fuld misplayed Ryan Lavarnway's eighth-inning line drive into a double. Two batters later, the Rays left fielder had a chance to make up for it.
Fuld called off the center fielder on what would have been a game-tying sacrifice fly and threw out pinch-runner Daniel Nava for an inning-ending double play that helped the Rays beat Boston 2-1 on Monday night and retake first place in the AL East.
"Off the bat, I knew I wanted that throw, and I knew it was going to be pretty close," said Fuld, who got so much into the throw that he tumbled over after releasing the ball, a move he called the "Fuld Flop."
"I went from feeling really crummy to really, really good in about five minutes."
David Price allowed just two hits over 7 1-3 innings to beat Boston for the second time in six days and give the Rays their 22nd victory in their last 26 games. Tampa Bay went 8-2 on their road trip to Toronto, Boston, New York and back to Boston on Monday night to make up a game that was rained out on Thursday.
Price (6-5) was dominating before the makeup game was delayed for 39 minutes because of a brief downpour that arrived as fans were singing "Sweet Caroline" and he was warming up for the bottom of the eighth. The Rays left-hander stayed in the game, but retired just one batter — after starting him out with three straight balls — before manager Joe Maddon pulled him from the game.
"He came back and got the strikeout, I understand, but I really didn't like it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
"I kicked myself. ... I knew I made a mistake" sending Price back out after the rain delay, Maddon said. "The guy's way too important to the franchise and he's way too important to himself to jeopardize it on July 29."
Joel Peralta gave up Lavarnway's line drive that Fuld tried to chase instead of playing off the Green Monster for a single. But Nava couldn't score when Stephen Drew's line drive went over right fielder Wil Myers' head for a double.
Nava tagged on Brandon Snyder's fly ball to short left-center, but catcher Jose Molina got his shin guard down as Nava's leg slid under him and home plate umpire Jerry Meals signaled the out. Replays showed that Nava's leg got the plate before the tag.
"What I saw was Molina blocked the plate and Nava's foot lifted. But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava's foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision," Meals told a pool reporter from The Associated Press. "From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina's shin guard."