April 29, 2018

G27: Red Sox 4, Rays 3

Rays    - 002 100 000 - 3 10  0
Red Sox - 000 003 01x - 4  7  1
After the Red Sox rallied to tie the game in the sixth on J.D. Martinez's two-run single and Jackie Bradley's sac fly, Sandy Leon's two-out single in the eighth gave Boston its margin of victory.

Facing Rays closer Alex Colome in the eighth, Martinez singled to right, capping a 4-for-4 afternoon. (Colome also buzzed a 2-2 pitch up near JDM's head.) Colome got the next two batters, but then he walked Bradley on five pitches. Leon grounded a single inside the bag at third, down the left field line, which scored Martinez. Leon then added insult to injury by stealing second base!

Rick Porcello had thrown 102 pitches in seven innings, but manager Alex Cora, who has usually been pretty easy on his starters this month, still sent him out for another inning. Porcello (7.2-7-3-0-6, 116) got the first two Rays before giving up a single to C.J. Cron. Cora went straight to Craig Kimbrel. Joey Wendle doubled, but with runners at second and third, Kimbrel got down to business, striking out Brad Miller on three pitches.

Porcello retired eight of the first nine batters in the game, but Denard Span belted a two-run homer in the third. Brad Miller doubled in the fourth and scored on Mallex's Smith single.

The Red Sox batted around and tied the score in the sixth. Eduardo Nunez, facing Andrew Kittredge, reached on an infield single. Andrew Benintendi walked and Hanley Ramirez singled, loading the bases. Martinez's single to left, past shortstop Adeiny Hechavarri's dive to his right, cut the Rays' lead to 3-2 and after Mitch Moreland walked, re-loading the bases, Sergio Romo took over. He struck out Rafael Devers, but Bradley lifted a fly ball to right, scoring Ramirez with the tying run. Moreland stole second and Leon was hit by a pitch, re-re-loading the bases. Tzu-Wei flied to right.

The four hits ties Martinez's career high, which he has done on five other occasions (for four different teams). He had four hits in Anaheim 11 days ago. He also went 4-for-5 twice in a five-game span for the Diamondbacks last September. The first game was September 4, when all four hits were home runs.  He finished that game with a flourish, going deep in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.

Boston is now 20-7, which is tied for the second-best start in franchise history (1994* and 2002). The 1946 Red Sox won 23 of their first 27 games.

(* The 1994 team also went 1-15 from June 3-19.)
Matt Andriese / Rick Porcello
Nunez, 2B
Benintendi, CF
Ramirez, DH
Martinez, LF
Moreland, 1B
Devers, 3B
Bradley, RF
Leon, C
Lin, SS
In five starts this year, Porcello has a 1.93 ERA, sixth-best in the American League (three of the five guys above him are Astros!). Opponents are slugging only .230 (18 singles and five doubles), second-best in the AL, behind only Oakland's Sean Manaea (.400).

While the Red Sox (19-7) have lost five of their last seven games, the Yankees (17-9) have won eight in a row and 10 of their last 12. Boston's lead in the AL East is down to two games.

Mookie Betts, who left Saturday's game with right hamstring tightness, is "day-to-day", according to manager Alex Cora. "We'll see how he shows up tomorrow and go from there."

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