ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox scored twice in the seventh inning with the help of a crucial wild pitch, and they beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Tuesday at Tropicana Field to win the best-of-five American League Division Series in four games.
Boston will face the Detroit Tigers or the Oakland A's in the AL Championship Series beginning at Fenway Park on Saturday. Detroit plays at Oakland in the decisive fifth game of the other ALDS on Thursday.
In their fifth elimination game in 10 games, the Rays finally ran out of escapes, as they were doomed by a costly mistake.
The Red Sox were limited to two hits after the second inning by a committee of Rays relievers, but they banged out three to score twice to take a 2-1 lead in the seventh. A wild pitch from reliever Joel Peralta was their most potent weapon, however.
Rookie Xander Bogaerts drew a walk in his first postseason plate appearance with one out against Jake McGee, and he moved to third with two outs on a Jacoby Ellsbury single. Right-hander Peralta entered to face Shane Victorino, but he unleashed a wild pitch that Game 3 hero Jose Lobaton couldn't corral, scoring Bogaerts and tie the game at 1.
Ellsbury, who was attempting to steal second on the play, raced all the way to third, and he scored for a 2-1 lead when Victorino nubbed an infield single to short.
McGee (0-1) was charged with both runs on a hit and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.
Reliever Craig Breslow (1-0) gave the Red Sox 1 2/3 crucial innings, striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh after Boston took the lead. He allowed one hit and struck out four.
Koji Uehara, who surrendered Lobaton's game-winning homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 3 on Monday, entered with two outs in the eighth and a runner on first, and he recorded the last four outs to earn the save.
Boston added an insurance run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia after Fernando Rodney loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter.
Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, a trade-deadline pickup acquired for these types of games, held the Rays to three hits through the first five innings but was removed after allowing the first run of the game in the sixth.
Yunel Escobar led off the inning with a double to right and scored with one out on a David Dejesus single to right.
Peavy allowed a run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five without walking a batter. None of four Red Sox pitchers issued a walk.
The nine pitchers Tampa Bay used walked a total of eight.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson was lifted without recording an out in the second inning, though he did not give up a run.
NOTES: Game 4 marked the first time that two pitchers who shared a Gold Glove award faced each other in a postseason game. ... Tampa Bay's win in Game 3 marked just the second time in postseason history a team took a lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, lost it in the top of the ninth and won it in the bottom of the ninth. The other time: Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, when the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the New York Yankees on Bill Mazeroski's solo homer off Ralph Terry. ... Ellsbury stole a base in all four games of the series. ... Rays RF Wil Myers returned to the lineup a night after being removed in the eighth inning and receiving intravenous fluids for leg cramps. ... Victorino was hit by a pitch twice Tuesday, four times in the series. He led the AL with 18 HBPs this season