July 6, 2017

G86: Rays 4, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 001 000 000 - 1  5  1
Rays    - 000 112 00x - 4  8  1
Xander Bogaerts was hit on the right hand by a pitch in the top of the first inning. It was obvious that he was in a lot of pain, but he stayed in the game and headed down to first base. While warming up in the infield between innings, however, Bogaerts could not throw to first, and left the game. X-rays on his hand were negative and he is listed as day-to-day.

Red Sox batters were held in check for the second straight night, this time by rookie Jacob Faria (6-4-1-4-2, 97), who was making only the sixth start of his career. He walked four (compared to a total of five over his previous five games), but Boston could not get a clutch hit against him. The Red Sox left two men on base in the first, third, and sixth innings - and had a total of eight LOB for the game.

Chris Sale (7-7-4-0-12, 113) gave up two home runs, one of them to Wilson Ramos, who drove in three runs. On the bright side, Sale became the first pitcher in Red Sox history to have 12 games with 10+ strikeouts before the All-Star Break, breaking the previous mark of 11, set by Pedro Martinez in 1999.

The Red Sox scored the first run of the game. Tzu-Wei Lin walked to start the third. Dustin Pedroia singled to right-center and Lin went to third. Deven Marrero (batting in Bogaerts's spot; he played third and Lin moved to shortstop) hit a sac fly to left. Mitch Moreland walked, but Hanley Ramirez struck out. (Back in the first, Pedroia singled and Bogaerts was HBP, but Moreland flied to left and Ramirez grounded to short.)

Sale struck out the side in the first and fanned two in each of the second and third innings, though he did throw a lot of pitches (56 in the first three innings: 16-15-25). In the second, Sale had to deal with a runner on third with one out. You could almost see him thinking, okay, I cannot allow them to put the ball in play. And so he (easily, really) struck out Taylor Featherston looking and Adeiny Hechavarria swinging.

Sale struck out two more in the fourth, but also gave up a quick run, when Logan Morrison singled to center and Ramos doubled to the wall in left-center. (Note: Even though he was on first base, Morrison was in clearly in "scoring position"!)

Peter Bourjos homered to left to lead off the fifth. Evan Longoria doubled to start the sixth and, after Morrison grounded to first, Ramos crushed a first-pitch fastball to left-center to give the Rays a 4-1 lead.

Boston had a chance to score in the top of the sixth. Marrero singled off the shortstop's glove and went to second when Moreland grounded out. Ramirez flied to right, but Andrew Benintendi (who celebrated his 23rd birthday today) walked. Jackie Bradley, down 0-2, smoked a line drive to right - but it was right at Steven Souza for the third out.

After Faria departed, the Rays' bullpen continued Tampa Bay's mastery of the Boston bats. Brad Boxberger struck out two and got a grounder back to the mound in the seventh. In the eighth, Tommy Hunter committed a two-base throwing error that put Pedroia on second with no outs. But Hunter fanned Marrero and got Moreland and Ramirez on ground balls. Jesus Colome allowed a two-out single to Sandy Leon before getting the final out.

Ramirez had a particular bad night, leaving six men on base. He ended the first inning with men at first and third. He ended the third inning with men on first and second. He flew out with a man on second in the sixth. He grounded out with a man on third in the eighth.

Mookie Betts went 0-for-4 with three pop-ups and is now 0-for-his-last-14.
Chris Sale / Jacob Faria
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Ramirez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Lin, 3B
The Red Sox are in Florida, playing four games in the worst stadium in the majors. Boston is 49-36, with a four-game lead on the Yankees. The Rays are 5.5 GB.

The Red Sox are 4-3 against the Rays this year. All seven games were played at Fenway Park: April 14-17: won 3 of 4; May 12-14: won 1 of 3.

Faria is a right-hander who will turn 24 at the end of the month. He made his debut one month ago, on June 7. Since then, he has made five starts and pitched at least six innings each time, with a 2.23 ERA (earned runs allowed: 1, 1, 1, 3, 2).

Sale leads the AL in ERA (2.61), WHIP (0.895), fewest H/9 (6.4), and K/BB ratio (7.55). He leads the majors in strikeouts (166) and K/9 (12.4).

The Yankees are off tonight, but they host the Brewers on Friday night and over the weekend.

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