Under the magnifying glass of the postseason, every pitch can be a game-changer, and that was especially true in each of Tuesday's American League Division Series games.
The pivotal moment of Boston's 3-1 win over the Rays to advance to the AL Championship Series occurred in the top of the seventh with Boston's Xander Bogaerts on third, Jacoby Ellsbury on first and Shane Victorino at the plate.
Joel Peralta's first pitch went in the dirt and got away from catcher Jose Lobaton, scoring Bogaerts and allowing Ellsbury -- who attempted to steal second on the play -- to advance to third and later score on Victorino's infield single.
Earlier on Tuesday, Detroit had the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning while clinging to a 5-4 lead against the A's. Oakland's Brett Anderson uncorked a wild pitch, bringing in Detroit's Hernan Perez, and Tigers second baseman Omar Infante followed with a two-run double as the Tigers eventually won, 8-6, to force Thursday's Game 5 (8 p.m. ET, TBS).
"Really tough," Peralta said of the Rays' loss. "Come in in that situation and try and do the job, and I couldn't. It just hurt -- a lot."
Said Victorino: "I knew it was going to be a tough at-bat with Peralta in the game. I haven't had much success against him. Whatever it took. Obviously that first pitch, I saw Jacoby take off. Jacoby was able to get to third. I was telling myself, 'Hey, put this ball in play whatever way you can. Just try to make something happen.' I came out on the good end with a broken-bat infield hit. I was able to beat it out."
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth.