Red Sox - 101 000 000 1 - 3 8 0 Rays - 010 000 010 0 - 2 7 1
This is the Red Sox's longest winning streak in September since the 1949 team won 11 straight (September 13-27).
Led by Eduardo Rodriguez (5.1-3-1-2-13, 113) Red Sox pitchers struck out 23 Rays hitters. Rodriguez and Heath Hembree combined to strike out 11 consecutive batters in the middle innings, a new major league record. From the second inning to the eighth, the Red Sox recorded 17 straight outs by strikeout. There were two walks, a HBP and a single in that stretch, so 21 Rays batters came to the plate over parts of seven innings and hit only one fair ball. MLB.com reports there was an "astonishing two-hour and 11-minute drought in between balls put in play".
Mookie Betts singled in Xander Bogaerts in the first inning, but the Rays tied the game in the second. Dustin Pedroia snapped the 1-1 tie with a solo home run in the third. In the home half of the eighth, after Matt Barnes put two men on base, Fernando Abad gave up a run-scoring single to Brad Miller. Manager John Farrell had been relying on Robbie Ross and Robbie Scott as his bullpen lefties, so it was odd that he would rely on Abad in such a high-leverage situation. Perhaps this was a small postseason try-out for Abad? If so, he failed.
In the top of the tenth, Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa. Bogaerts lined out to left, but David Ortiz (3-for-5) doubled to center. The throw to the plate beat Pedroia but he juked to the right, avoiding Luke Maile's initial attempt at a tag. Pedroia danced around briefly, trying to get in and touch home plate. He saw his opening and leapt over Maile and the catcher tried tagging his leg. It looked like Maile tagged Pedroia's left leg, but the ball came loose, and he was called safe. After a review, the call was upheld. (I think the call should have been reversed. It looked like the ball came loose after Maile's tag, not in the process of making the tag.)
Joe Kelly had come into the game in the eighth after Abad's one-batter stint. He closed that inning and pitched the ninth and tenth. Richie Shaffer began the home tenth with a hard single that ate up third baseman Travis Shaw and went into left field. Kelly struck out Logan Forsythe and Jaff Decker (though Decker took eight pitches). Evan Longoria singled to right, moving Shaffer to second. Miller lined Kelly's first pitch to left for the third out.
Pedroia, 2BThe Red Sox will play postseason baseball in 2016, as they have secured (at the very least) a spot in the AL Wild Card Game. Boston (91-64) is one game behind the Rangers for the AL's best record (home-field advantage throughout the postseason). (The current postseason picture.)
Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 3 with 7 games to play. ... Also today: Yankees/Blue Jays (1 PM) and Diamondbacks/Orioles (1:30 PM).
BOS --- TOR 5.5 BAL 7.0 MFY 11.5