The game moved into extra innings tied at 2 when Juan Carlos Oviedo hit Jonny Gomes with one out in the 10th to start the winning rally. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a blast to right-center field that saw right fielder Wil Myers and center fielder Desmond Jennings collide. Pierzynski ended up with a triple while Gomes raced home with the winning run.
"They couldn't have made a better effort and they got tangled up at the end," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Myers said they were just doing whatever they could to flag down Pierzynski's drive.
"It was one of those balls where neither one of us knew who was going to make the play," Myers said. "Both of us just trying to get there and we got there at the same time.
"...Going after it, I thought maybe I had a play, but you never know. It never got in the webbing. I saw the replay; it touched the end of my glove."
The Rays took a 1-0 lead when Ben Zobrist returned from the disabled list to drive home David DeJesus in the first on a groundout. DeJesus then singled home a run in the fifth to push the lead to 2-0.
The texture of the game changed dramatically in the bottom of the first when a 94-mph fastball from Rays starter David Price drilled Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in the back.
Bad blood permeated Sunday's game at between the two teams during a benches-clearing altercation at Tropicana Field. Given the climate, there were questions about Price's intentions when he hit Ortiz. Did the pitch stem from recent events?
"Well that's an easy assumption to make -- that what happened last week caused that," Maddon said. "I don't agree with that. And it's always going to be from the perspective of, of course I'm going to defend the Rays, and the Red Sox are going to defend the Red Sox. Whether it's me or the other manager, or social media, whatever. But that moment was not precipitated by what happened last week."
Or did Price's pitch date back to Game 2 of last season's Rays-Red Sox AL Division Series when Ortiz hit two home runs off of him? After the second home run, the slugger stood at home and admired his work, and Price took exception. On Friday night, Price faced Ortiz for the first time since Ortiz's home run. Coincidence?
"Nope," answered Price when asked if the pitch had anything to do with Ortiz's playoff home runs against him. "I have to establish my fastball in. I have six lefties in that lineup. It's my favorite side of the plate to go to. I had to establish it in."
Ortiz had little trouble giving his opinion of Price.
"It is a war," Ortiz said. "It's on. Next time he hits me he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more.
"... I respect everyone in this league and expect the same from everyone. If you are mad because I take you deep twice, I'll let you know. I have almost 500 home runs in this league. That is part of the game."
In the aftermath of the hit by pitch, home-plate umpire Dan Bellino issued warnings to Price and both benches. That led to Red Sox manager John Farrell arguing with Bellino and getting ejected before Price threw another pitch.
"You know, David's a heck of a pitcher," Farrell said. "He comes in with two hit batters and eight walks on the year. He comes in with the lowest walk rate in the American League. When he throws a ball and hits David Ortiz in the back, there's intent to that. They can dispute that all they want. There's intent to that pitch. As emphatic as Dan Bellino's warning was, it sure seemed like Dan Bellino felt like there was intent as well. I disagreed with it. He took the ball out of our hand."
Pierzynski got Boston's first hit off Price when he doubled with two outs in the fourth. Price then hit the next batter, Mike Carp, on the forearm with a 93-mph fastball. Both benches emptied and members of the bullpens ran to the infield in anticipation of more action.
Price did not get ejected, but Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo did.
"Well we all watched it," Farrell said. "There wasn't really much of an explanation as to why they didn't throw him out. Clearly we felt like he should have."
Price has twice hit two batters in a game. He first did it on April 7, 2011, against the White Sox. In his next start, on April 12, he again hit two batters, this time against the Red Sox.
Ortiz got the Red Sox on the scoreboard with an RBI single off Price in the fifth.
The ugliness continued in the sixth when Evan Longoria batted with one out and Brandon Workman threw behind his head. That earned Workman an immediate ejection along with third-base coach and acting manager Brian Butterfield.
"I wish he would have hit me so it could have been done and over with right there," Longoria said. "I know he tried. And I told A.J., 'I'm fine with that. I just don't want to get hit in the head.' That's what I was telling him. Just make sure it's down below the neck. He understood that, and hopefully we're beyond it and we can get back to just worrying about the game on the field. And nothing else."
Xander Bogaerts doubled home Jackie Bradley Jr. with one out in the seventh to tie the score. Appropriately, Ortiz turned out to be the final batter Price faced. With the go-ahead run at third, Price retired Ortiz on a flyout to center, leaving with seven innings and a no-decision under his belt.
"We lost the game," Longoria said. "Really for me, that's what it comes down to, man. … We knew that tempers are high on their end. I'm just hoping that it calms down and we can get back to playing baseball. And I think that it will."