The two teams started slow on offense, as an early night for a sharp Rays bullpen coincided with a great start from Boston's Jake Peavy. Both teams were able to work out of early jams, as the game remained scoreless into the later innings.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said that he would have a quick hook on starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson with the Rays season on the line. He wasn't kidding.
The game's closest scoring opportunity in the first five frames came in the top of the second.
Jamey Wright came in on relief and somehow managed to get out of the inning without a run coming home. He first struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia, then received an excellent defensive play by first baseman James Loney. Loney snagged Stephen Drew's liner and had the wherewithal to throw to second, catching Mike Napoli off the bag and getting the team out of the inning with a double play.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Rays finally drew first blood. Yunel Escobar doubled then moved to third as Jose Lobaton grounded out to second base. That brought up David DeJesus, who singled home Escobar for the first run of the game.
The way the Rays' bullpen had been pitching, it seemed that one run might have been enough to eke out a win. Over five innings of work, Tampa Bay relievers allowed just two walks and two hits while striking out five. Unfortunately for the Rays, that success did not last into the seventh. Jake McGee came in and sandwiched a Xander Bogaerts' walk around two outs. Jacoby Ellsbury then singled to put runners on the corners.
That was enough to remove McGee from the game and bring in Joel Peralta to replace him. Peralta immediately threw a wild pitch with Shane Victorino at the plate, allowing Bogaerts to score and tie the game. Ellsbury moved to third on the play. Victorino followed that up with a single to give Boston their first lead of the day, one that they would not give up.
The Red Sox scored an insurance run in the ninth with a bases loaded sacrifice fly. Koji Uehara finished the game with a four-out save to secure the win.
Boston left 10 runners on base over the course of the game compared to just three for the Rays. The two offenses combined for 12 hits, just one of which went for extra bases.
The Red Sox will go on to play the winner of the Tigers-Athletics series for the right to represent the American League in the World Series. Because Boston had the best record in the AL, they will maintain home field advantage in the League Championship Series.