Over the second weekend in May, Tampa Bay traveled to Boston’s historic Fenway park to take on the A.L. East rival Red Sox.
With an all time record of 149-200 against the Sox, the Rays were looking to turn around their less than steller month thus far.
To kick off the three game set, the Rays sent Alex Cobb against defending A.L. Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. Coming in three games below .500, Tampa Bay is struggling to stay afloat in the division.
Offense Bounces Back From Shut-Out
After being shut out in the previous game, one key thing for the Rays on this road trip is offensive production. And they definitely had some in Friday’s game.
In the fourth, Tim Beckham started the scoring with a two-run single. In the fifth, Evan Longoria hit a two-run home run out of the park, literally, clearing the wall behind the Green Monster in left field.
Measured at 406 feet, it was Longoria’s fifth home run of the season, and first since April 28th. Longoria’s home run came after an RBI double by Corey Dickerson that drove in Derek Norris.
Ultimately, the Rays were able to run Porcello out after only six innings, giving up five runs on nine hits while only recording seven strikeouts.
Cobb’s Strong Start, With A Slight Scare
Cobb pitched a gem for the first six innings, holding the Red Sox to a one-hit shut-out. Then in the bottom of the seventh, everything seemed to fall apart…almost. After giving up two hits and a walk, a throwing error, followed by a ground rule double that drove in two runs, the shut-out quickly vanished.
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Cobb (3-3 3.65 ERA) was replaced by Jose Alvarado after only recording one out in the inning. After another fielding error by Brad Miller lets Boston bring another runner home, Alavarado was pulled without getting an out. Erasmo Ramirez was able to get out of the inning without any more damage.
Danny Farquhar came in with two runners on and only one out in the bottom eight, and was pulled after striking out one batter. Alex Colome was brought in for the save and escaped the final 1.1 innings without damage.
Coming off the series opening win, the Rays sent Blake Snell up against Chris Sale for the mid-day game.
Snell Struggles Once Again
The Rays pitcher had a rough afternoon, giving up six runs on six hits over only 5.2 innings. Snell (0-4 4.71 ERA) gave up three RBI’s to Mookie Betts; just as many runs as Tampa Bay ended up with at the final score. Betts, who went 0-for-5 on Friday, went 2-for-4 saturday with a 2-run home run followed by an RBI- double. Boston added a few insurance runs later in the game that secured the win.
Snell’s struggles are not new, and the rough starts so far for the young pitcher caused him to be optioned to triple-A Durham after the finale of Saturdays game.
Boston’s New Ace Too Much For Tampa Bay
The only damage done to Sale was in the form of two home runs, a solo shot by Logan Morrison and a two-run blast by Kevin Kiermaier.
Sale (4-2 2.15 ERA) finished with 12 strikeouts, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks.
Closer Craig Kimbrel (1.08 ERA) continued his dominant pitching, striking out two Rays batters in the ninth and collecting his 11th save of the season.
On a chilly Mother’s Day at Fenway, Matt Andriese took on Drew Pomeranz. The game went right in every way for Tampa Bay.
Rays Pink Bats Come Alive
Over the course of the four hour and 32 minute game, Tampa Bay managed 16 hits against Boston pitching, including a monster ninth inning that resulted in seven runs coming across the plate.
Every Rays batter that came to the plate made it to first at some point in the game. The only starter not to record a hit was Miller, but he was walked and ultimately came around to score. Dickerson, who raised his average to a team high .340, had his fifth career four-hit game, including his 12th double of the season. He finished the game needing just a home run to complete the cycle.
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The Rays were hitting the ball everywhere. To cap it off, Steven Souza Jr. hit a three-run shot to the top of the Monster giving Tampa Bay a nine run lead in the ninth. Souza’s fifth homer was the teams 48th of the year, which has them tied for sixth in the majors.
Rays Pitchers Combine To Hold Lead
Andriese (3-1 3.18 ERA) struck out five and walked four, but only gave up two runs on four hits; the only two runs of the game for Boston.
Ramirez added four strikeouts over two scoreless innings in relief without giving up a hit. Alvarado, Saturday’s call-up Ryne Stanek, and Colome combined to keep the eighth inning blank for the home team. Farquhar came in and shut the door on the Red Sox with a perfect ninth.
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The Rays (19-21) travel to Cleveland to face the defended American League champion Indians (19-17).