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Austin Meadows, Eduardo Rodriguez Battle In Historic 17-Pitch At-Bat

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- After a rough start in Game 1, Eduardo Rodriguez was cruising for the Red Sox in Game 4 against the Rays. With a chance to clinch a trip to the ALCS on the line, Rodriguez retired the first six batters he faced on Monday night at Fenway Park.

And then he ran into Austin Meadows. And things slowed down.

A lot.

Meadows, batting in the seventh spot in Tampa's lineup, fouled off the first three pitches he saw. Down 0-2 in the count, he then took three straight balls -- one up high, two off the plate -- to fill the count.

And then the battle began.

A 94 mph sinker - fouled off. A 95 mph sinker -- fouled again. An 81 mph slider: foul.

It wasn't until the 10th ... and then the 11th, and 12th, and 13th pitch of the at-bat that the Fenway crowd really grasped the mano-a-mano showdown that was playing out between Rodriguez and Meadows.

And it continued, with Meadows fouling off 10 consecutive offerings from Rodriguez.

With the pitch count climbing, Rodriguez reared back and threw a slider that caught the edge of the plate. Meadows swung ... and missed. At long last, the battle was over.

Pitches officially began being tracked in 1988, and this was the most pitches in a playoff at-bat since that tracking began.

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox - Game Four
Fans react after Austin Meadows strikes out during Game 4 of the ALDS. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Fortunately for Rodriguez's sake, he then retired Mike Zunino on two pitches and Kevin Kiermaier in just one pitch, giving him a manageable 20-pitch inning that left him at 49 pitches through three perfect innings.

The Red Sox then broke the scoreless tie with an offensive outburst in the bottom of the third to take a 5-0 lead.

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