Game 2 will be played on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET, airing on TBS.
"Mistakes will kill you," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're normally not the team that makes those kind of mistakes. We did tonight. But I've learned one thing, or a main thing regarding baseball -- 24 hours can make a huge difference. That's just one game, baby. That's just one. We'll be back tomorrow, I promise you. We'll be ready to play. We will not be affected mentally by tonight's game. We'll be ready to play."
After surviving elimination for three consecutive games, the Rays traveled to Boston, their fourth city in six days. They were on a roll, having defeated the Blue Jays, Rangers and Indians in succession when losses would have had them fishing or playing golf instead of playing baseball on Friday.
They looked pretty good at the beginning of the game, despite the efforts of Red Sox starter Jon Lester.
Lester stormed out of the chute, striking out Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers and Evan Longoria in order. Delmon Young finally broke the spell with a weak pop to second, then Sean Rodriguez stepped to the plate.
Rodriguez did not play in Wednesday night's Wild Card Game, and he went 0-for-2 in the tiebreaker on Monday in Texas. But after he'd taken a changeup for ball three -- much to the chagrin of Lester, who thought he had another strikeout -- he unloaded on a 3-2 fastball and deposited the ball over the Green Monster. The home run silenced the crowd of 38,177 and gave the Rays a one-run lead that Zobrist increased with a solo blast in the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Rays were getting a solid effort from Matt Moore, who held the Red Sox hitless for three innings before running into trouble in the fourth.
After Dustin Pedroia singled to center to open the inning, David Ortiz drove a ball to right field. Myers appeared to have a bead on the ball, but an instant after reaching back for the wall, he inexplicably watched in frustration as the ball landed just past him and bounced into the Red Sox bullpen for a ground-rule double.
"I saw it when it went up," Myers said. "I waved Desmond off, I called the ball. It was loud out there, so I hand-motioned that I had the ball. I was under the ball. And I saw Des out of the corner of my eye and backed off. It was a loud crowd today, and that was totally my fault. I should have taken more charge out there."
Said Red Sox left fielder -- and former member of the Rays -- Jonny Gomes: "I don't know what happened, but one thing I've always said with my playoff experience is, you play 162 games, a lot of innings, a lot of pitches, a lot of runs. One thing you can guarantee in the playoffs is that you're going to see something you haven't seen all year. And [you] saw that right away."
Gomes took advantage of the situation by slapping a double off the Green Monster to drive home two runs. Moore recovered to strike out Jarrod Saltalamacchia before Stephen Drew beat out an infield single, allowing the hustling Gomes to score from second base and put the Red Sox up, 3-2.
Rodriguez was making a rare start in left field for reasons known only to Maddon, and the decision would hurt. Will Middlebrooks followed Drew's single with a double, and Drew scored from first after the ball ricocheted off the Green Monster and past Rodriguez.
"It's called a monster for a reason, right?" Rodriguez said.
The inning continued when the ball got past catcher Jose Lobaton on a strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury, allowing Ellsbury to reach first base.
"I just missed that ball," Lobaton said. "No excuse. Have to catch that ball and hopefully, next time, just catch."
Shane Victorino added an RBI single to right to complete the five-run outburst, which effectively served as the knockout punch.
But Boston's frenzied offense continued to attack, adding three runs in the fifth and four in the eighth.
Gomes allowed that the Red Sox have a blood-in-the-water mentality when it comes to offense.
"I tell you what, we definitely work one through nine," he said. "We don't sit back and wait for the three-run homer."
Moore allowed seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings for his first playoff loss in three career appearances, though he clearly could have fared better without the lapses on defense.
"There's going to be things that happen throughout the course of the game that don't particularly go your way, and obviously, [the Myers play] didn't," Moore said. "I have to be better than five runs after that. Regardless of no outs or two outs, I have to be better in that inning than five runs."
Lester allowed little else after the two solo homers over his 7 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
"I knew two runs weren't going to beat us," Lester said. "As long as I kept them close enough, our guys were going to figure out Matt, and we were able to do that -- get him out of the game early and get to their bullpen and put some runs up for us."