April 20, 2019

G21: Red Sox 6, Rays 5

Red Sox - 050 000 001 - 6  8  0
Rays    - 010 100 210 - 5 11  0
With the potential tying run at second base, Christian Vazquez picked off Tommy Pham at first base to end the game.

The Red Sox (8-13) clinched their first series win of the season and won back-to-back games for only the second time. They moved to within six games behind the Rays.

Andrew Benintendi drove in five runs with his first career grand slam and a ninth-inning sac fly. Sandy Leon had the other RBI, as he was hit by a pitch on the foot right before Benintendi went deep in the second inning.

Michael Chavis made his major league debut, batting for Leon in the top of the ninth inning. Facing Jose Alvarado, he swung over a slider to fall behind 1-2. After fouling off another pitch, he smoked a line drive to dead center, twisting Kevin Kiermaier around. That big hit sent Jackie Bradley, who had led off the inning with a single, to third. Benintendi flied to right and Bradley scored, snapping a 5-5 tie.

The Rays set a franchise record with four triples, two in the fourth and two in the seventh. The Rays had hit three triples in a game only twice in their existence: July 18, 2016 against the Rockies and June 16, 2017 against the Tigers. Tampa Bay lost both of those games. Clearly, hitting triples = losses for Tampa Bay. ... The last team to hit five triples in a game was the Dodgers (against the Giants on July 25, 2014). Before that, the White Sox had five three-baggers against Cleveland on August 16, 2011.

The Red Sox have allowed four triples in a game seven times, with the last time on June 9, 1983. They allowed five triples to Cleveland in the first game of an August 4, 1932 doubleheader.

Rick Porcello (5.2-6-2-1-5, 91) came into the game having walked 12 men in only 11.1 innings. He walked only one tonight, in the fifth inning.

Rays starter Charlie Morton struck out two in the first inning, but his control deserted him in the second. J.D. Martinez began the inning with a single to center. Xander Bogaerts walked and, after Rafael Devers fouled to third (on the first pitch), so did Jackie Bradley. With the bases loaded, Tzu-Wei Lin was overmatched and struck out. It seemed the inning would be squandered, but Morton's first pitch to Leon hit the catcher's right (front) foot. That forced in JDM and brought Benintendi to the plate. He crushed Morton's first pitch to left-center. A Rays fan in the front row caught the ball and Tampa Bay manager Kevin cash challenged the home run call, thinking the fan might have reached over the yellow line and interfered. (Later in the game, Joe Castiglione referred to him as "an older, fatter Jeffrey Maier".) The original call stood and Boston led 5-0.

After that, the Red Sox's bats went silent and the Rays clawed their way back into the game. Avisail Garcia homered in the bottom half of the second and triples by Ji-Man Choi (leading off) and Brandon Lowe (with one out). Porcello had Lowe on third, but wriggled out of further trouble by striking out Garcia and getting Kiermaier on a tapper back to the mound. With one out in the fifth, Porcello walked Michael Perez and hit Meadows in the foot. Pham grounded a 2-2 pitch to Devers, who gloved the ball, ran to his right to step on the bag and fired to first for a double play.

Kiermaier led off the seventh against Heath Hembree with a triple to right-center. With one out, Bobby Poyner came in and walked Guillermo Herrida and surrendered a two-run triple to Meadows. (All of the tripled were hit to right-center.) That cut Boston's lead to 5-4 and there was a man on third qwith one out. Marcus Walden struck out Pham (possibly getting two gift calls from plate umpire Tim Timmons, who was dreadful all day behind the plate, especially on low pitches, which were essentially a crap shoot) and Willy Adames.

In the eighth, Steve Pearce went to second when his popup fell safely in short right and Martinez walked. Bogaerts lined an 0-2 pitch up the middle. Lowe made a tremendous leap straight up and managed to knock the ball down in front of him. He then had the presence of mind to quickly flip it to Adames at the bag and the Rays turned a double play on what seemed like a sure RBI-single to center. Bogaerts might have beaten the relay, but he stopped running out of the box, assuming the ball had been caught. Devers popped to short to end the inning.

With the Rays sending up their 4-5-6 hitters in the eighth, Matt Barnes got the call. Yandy Diaz led off by lining a home run to right-center, tying the game. Barnes recovered and struck out the next three. He has struck out 17 of the 32 batters he has faced this year (53.1%).

Bradley began the ninth with a single to right-center off Alvarado. Lin bunted foul on a 1-2 pitch and was out on strikes. Chavis doubled to deep center. Bradley scored and Chavis went to third on Benintendi's fly to right. After Betts was walked intentionally, Pearce flied to right.

Ryan Brasier was tasked with the ninth. Robertson lined an opposite-field single to left. Brasier threw over to first five times during Nick Cuiffo's at-bat before retiring the Rays' catcher on a pop to short right. Brasier struck out Meadows with a high fastball at 95, but not before throwing over to first two more times. Pham got a cookie on 3-1 and lined a single to center. Adames stepped in and fouled the first pitch off. Brasier threw a called strike and Vazquez fired a seed to first. Pham was off the bag, still standing, when Pearce tagged him in the gut, ending the game.
Rick Porcello / Charlie Morton
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Bradley, CF
Lin, 2B
León, C
Nathan Eovaldi has been placed on the 10-day injured list with what the team said was a loose body in his right elbow. Bobby Poyner has been called up from Pawtucket.

The Globe's Pete Abraham tweets that Eovaldi missed two months last year with the same issue:
Eovaldi had arthroscopic surgery to remove "loose bodies" in his elbow last March 30. Returned to majors on May 30. Could be a similar timetable here assuming he has surgery.
The Red Sox traded Blake Swihart to the Diamondbacks for minor league outfielder Marcus Wilson, who is 22 years old and will report to Portland (AA).

1 comment:

allan said...

The Bronx Curse is alive!

Aaron Judge left Saturday's game in the bottom of the sixth inning with a left oblique injury and will have an MRI. He will most likely be put on the IL.