BOSTON - Shane Victorino didn't even notice Tampa Bay's unusual five-man infield. His only thought was to make contact with the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury standing on third base.
Victorino, a St. Anthony High School alumnus, had a well-placed RBI single into an overloaded infield in the 10th inning Saturday, lifting the Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 win over the Rays.
Ellsbury singled with one out against Brandon Gomes (0-1), stole second and advanced on catcher Jose Lobaton's throwing error when the ball deflected off shortstop Yunel Escobar's glove and into short right field. Victorino then hit a hard grounder into the unusual infield configuration that second baseman Ben Zobrist made a diving stop on to his right, but was unable to make a throw home.
Boston’s Shane Victorino sprints to first base on his game-winning RBI single in the 10th inning on Saturday with Tampa Bay’s Jose Lobaton behind the plate.
Boston’s Shane Victorino is congratulated after driving in the winning run against Tampa Bay’s five-man infield.
"That's the goal right there," Victorino said. "Just put the ball in play. I've been in that spot before."
Ellsbury knew he'd score easily once the ball got past the pitcher.
"When I saw him dive, I knew I was going to get in," he said. "It's probably got to be hit right at someone to have them make a throw."
David Ross had a solo homer for Boston, which snapped a two-game losing streak.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said he had the "contact play on" in the 10th, where Ellsbury was breaking on any ball hit on the ground.
"We felt like we had the combination we could take advantage of," he said.
Rays manager Joe Maddon felt it was just hit in the wrong spot for his defense.
"The ball was perfect," he said. "You bisect two guys on the same side of the infield and then furthermore, hit it at the right speed. It's just very unfortunate for us. But something we work on. They beat us."
Junichi Tazawa (2-0) pitched one inning for the win, getting out of a jam after giving up a leadoff double to Jose Molina, who was lifted for a pinch runner.
Tampa went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"In my career, I've noticed early in the season a lot of teams struggle with that," Tampa Bay's Shelley Duncan said of his team's clutch hitting woes. "Sometimes guys press a little more earlier than they do in the middle of the year."