Rays - 024 020 200 - 10 12 1 Red Sox - 000 010 103 - 5 14 0History did not repeat itself at Fenway Park on Friday night. If past performance had been any guide to the outcome of this game, Rick Porcello would have dominated the Rays and Boston's lineup would have sent Chris Archer to yet another early shower.
Instead, Archer surrendered only one run in 5.1 innings - and his streak of losing 11 straight decisions to the Red Sox (the longest streak in the last 30 years by any pitcher against any team) came to an end. And Porcello gave up four home runs* for the first time in his nine-year career and had several other streaks (see pre-game stuff below) snapped. The Red Sox's three ninth-inning runs caused the final score to hide the fact that this was a rout, through and through.
(*: The Rays hit four home runs over a four-inning stretch in tonight's game. The Red Sox have hit four home runs ... in the first 10 games of the season.)
Boston fell behind early once again. Shane Peterson hit a two-run homer down the right field line in the second inning. The top of the third featured the unlikely sight of Porcello walking two batters; he also gave up a grand slam to Logan Morrison (who had doubled and scored on Peterson's shot in the previous inning). Morrison's homer was also hit down the right field line, but was well to the fair side of the Pesky Pole.
Porcello retired the last two Rays in the third, set down Tampa Bay in order in the fourth, and struck out the first man in the fifth. Maybe he had straightened himself out. .. Then he gave up back-to-back home runs: Brad Miller put a first-pitch dong into the center field bleachers and Steven Souza finished off a 10-pitch at-bat with a high fly into the Monster Seats. That ended the night for Porcello (4.1-8-8-2-5, 106).
Robbie Ross was tagged for two runs in the seventh. Miller tripled with one out to get things going for the Rays. (At that point, Miller needed only a double for the cycle, but he walked in the eighth.) Souza and Peterson later hit RBI singles.
There could have been a turning point for the Red Sox in the fourth. Archer (5.1-6-1-2-5, 102) had allowed only one baserunner in the first three innings, but Andrew Benintendi walked and Mookie Betts (4-for-5) singled to open the fourth. After two were out, Xander Bogaerts (3-for-4) walked, loading the bases. Boston trailed 6-0, but a big hit from Pablo Sandoval might have halved that deficit. Instead, Sandoval continued his bad (and highly frustrating and annoying) habit of swinging (and missing) pitches well out of the strike zone, and he eventually grounded out to second.
With two outs in the fifth, Dustin Pedroia doubled to right and scored on Benintendi's single. Pedroia singled in the seventh and his pinch-runner, Marco Hernandez, scored on Hanley Ramirez's single to left.
Rays reliever Austin Pruitt, in his third inning of work, gave up a single to Hernandez to start the bottom of the ninth. Benintendi hit a ground rule double to left (a high pop that landed untouched near the line and bounced into the stands). Betts singled in Hernandez and Benintendi scored on Ramirez's groundout to third. After Mitch Moreland was hit by a pitch, Betts scored on Bogaerts's single. Boston's flurry of activity forced Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash to use his closer, Alex Colome. You could count that as a (very) small victory, but Colome threw only five pitches.
Pedroia, 2BPorcello has pitched 6+ innings in each of his last 20 starts (dating back to June 28, 2016), the longest active streak in MLB. It's also the longest streak by a Red Sox pitcher since Derek Lowe went 22 starts in 2002. ... The Red Sox are 19-3 in Porcello's last 22 starts, and are 16-1 in his last 17 starts at Fenway Park. ... Porcello's current streak of 15 consecutive quality starts is the longest streak for a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez had 21 quality starts (August 19, 1999 to June 20, 2000).
Archer has never pitched well at Fenway Park. In five career starts, Archer has a 7.30 ERA. In 24.2 innings, he has allowed 26 hits and 20 walks.
Mitch Moreland, with at least one double in seven consecutive games, has set a new Red Sox record. Moreland has also tied the AL record (Jim Presley 1986, Todd Walker 1998, Gary DiSarcina 1998, Carlos Delgado 2000, Brian Roberts 2004). The National League record is eight games, set by Derrek Lee (2007) and Yadier Molina (2016). (Molina also had a streak of seven games in 2013.)
Mookie Betts has not struck out in his last 105 regular-season plate appearances, beginning on September 2, 2016. The last Boston batter to go at least 100 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout was Wade Boggs (107 PA in 1991).
Elias Says: "Xander Bogaerts's eighth-inning RBI single provided the winning margin for the Red Sox in their 4–3 win [on Thursday]. Bogaerts, in his fifth major-league season, is a lifetime .313 batter in late-inning pressure situations. That's the highest average by any active player with at least 150 at-bats in those situations."
Starting times for this four-game series:
Friday, 7:00 PM
Saturday, 4:00 PM (Jake Odorizzi / Chris Sale)
Sunday, 1:30 PM (Alex Cobb / Drew Pomeranz)
Monday, 11:00 AM (Blake Snell / Steven Wright)