April 19, 2019

G20: Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Red Sox - 000 031 020 - 6 10  1
Rays    - 011 002 000 - 4  7  0
Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland led off the eighth inning with back-to-back home runs and Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier kept the Rays in check over the final two innings.

Boston was held hitless for the first 4.1 innings. Ryan Stanek needed only 14 pitches to get through the first two innings. He walked Andrew Benintendi to start the game, but got Mookie Betts to hit into a first-pitch double play.

The Rays led 2-0 when Ryan Yarbrough walked J.D. Martinez to open the fifth. Rafael Devers doubled to center with one out, putting Boston on the board. Christian Vazquez followed with his fourth home run of the year, giving Boston a 3-2 lead. That lead increased to 4-2 against Wilmer Font in the sixth when the first three batters collected hits: Betts doubled, Moreland singled, and Martinez singled. But the rally fizzled after that as Font fanned Xander Bogaerts, Devers, and Vazquez.

Tampa Bay tied the game in the bottom of the sixth off Eduardo Rodriguez (5.1-7-4-1-6, 94). Austin Meadows singled and Avisail Garcia reached base safely on Devers's sixth error of the season. Daniel Robertson doubled down the left field line, scoring both runners.

Diego Castillo began the eighth inning for the Rays. His 2-1 pitch to Betts could not have been more down the middle and Mookie pounded the 97-mph fastball to dead center, where it landed approximately 424 feet away.
Moreland connected on a 1-1 pitch, driving it to right-center.

Matt Barnes faced the Rays' 3-4-5 hitters in the eighth. Meadows grounded out first-base-to-pitcher and Garcia and Robertson both struck out. Barnes got the rare assist on Garcia's K when the ball bounced loose and rolled out towards the mound.

Brasier set down the first two batters in the ninth on only five pitches - a fly to right and a pop to third. He hit pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi and ran the count full to Michael Perez before striking him out.

The Red Sox totaled more than eight hits for only the second time in their last 11 games. They have had 10+ hits only five times in 20 games. ... Each team turned three double plays.

0 versus 0: Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino (wearing #0) faced Terrance Gore of the Royals (wearing #0) in the seventh inning in New York on Friday. It was the first pitcher/batter matchup with two players wearing the number zero. Gore struck out.
Eduardo Rodríguez / Ryne Stanek
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Lin, 2B
Infielders Tzu-Wei Lin and Michael Chavis (the Red Sox's top prospect will wear #23) and pitcher Marcus Walden have joined the team from Pawtucket.

Corresponding roster moves: Dustin Pedroia (left knee) and Eduardo Núñez (mid-back strain) were placed on the injured list and pitcher Erasmo Ramírez was designated for assignment.

Stanek will be making his fifth start of the season as an "opener". He has alternated starting and relieving in his first eight games this year. He started two days ago, pitching one inning against the Orioles. His totals: 9.1 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts, 1.93 ERA.

The Rays (14-5) have scored in the first inning in 12 of their 19 games, outscoring their opponents 22-3 (and 28-3 over the first two innings). That's the reason the Rays have held a lead in all but one of their 19 games, the exception being a 1-0 loss to the Rockies on April 3.

The Rays have allowed 0 or 1 run in nine of their 19 games and 0, 1, or 2 runs in 12 of 19 games. Both totals are the best in the majors. ... The Rays have allowed two runs or fewer runs in eight of their last nine home games.

The Rays' starting pitchers had their streak of 17 straight games of allowing two runs or fewer runs snapped last night. It was the third-longest streak since 1913 (the 1917 White Sox went 20 games (May 9-June 4, 1917) and the 1916 Giants had a 19-game streak (September 14-30, 1916)).

The Rays lead the majors in ERA (2.50) and lowest OPS against (.588).

Tampa Bay's ERA of 2.33 through 18 games was the 5th-lowest for an AL team in the DH era (1973), behind the 2001 Red Sox (2.10), 1982 Angels (1.85), 1981 A's (1.66) and 1978 A's (1.73).

Before the Rays lost last night, they were seventh AL East team to start 14-4 or better since the leagues split into divisions in 1969. Of the previous six, four teams reached the World Series and three teams won it, including last year's Red Sox.

AL East Teams Winning 14 or More of First 18 Games
Year  Team        Start   Finish    Place    Postseason
2018  Red Sox      16-2    108-54     1st    Won World Series
2003  Yankees      15-3    101-61     1st    Won AL Pennant
1992  Blue Jays    14-4     96-66     1st    Won World Series
1988  Cleveland    14-4     78-84     6th    Missed Postseason
1987  Brewers      17-1     91-71     3rd    Missed Postseason
1984  Tigers       16-2    104-58     1st    Won World Series

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