It always feels good to win in Fenway, and today was no different. Our Rays got on the board early, as Brandon Guyer lifted a full count Wade Miley fastball way up and over the monster to lead off the game and put our squad up 1-0. Miley's pitch was right down the middle, and Guyer made him pay. Only the AAA Auto Insurance sign kept the ball from leaving the park altogether.
The Red Sox answered quickly in the bottom of the first frame. After a Xander Bogaerts single and steal to move into scoring position, Hanley Ramirez launched Odorizzi's two out pitch off the wall in center field. Kiermaier fielded it cleanly but Bogaerts had already scored to tie the game. Mike Napoli broke the tie soon after, as he scored Hanley with a RBI grounder to left. 2-1 Boston.
The Sox were on the board again in the third. With Xander Bogaerts on first base after a hit by pitch, David Ortiz popped a ball way up to left field that bounced off the wall out of reach of a diving Mikie Mahtook. Kiermaier overran the carom as well, leaving Longoria to chase down the ball. Longo bobbled it, and Bogaerts scored easily from first to make it 3-1 Boston. He took off as soon as he knew it would bounce off the wall, and never slowed down until he'd crossed the plate.
I was beginning to feel uneasy, but the Rays still had a rally left in the tank. One that would be led by the bats of Asdrubal Cabrera and James Loney. In the top of the fourth with two out, after fouling a ball off of his leg and hitting the ground in pain, Cabrera fought through and singled on a grounder to right. Loney stepped into the box next, and hit a liner to right field that bounced all the way to the wall and scored a gimpy, but hard charging Cabrera from first base to cut the lead to one. 3-2 Boston.
The New Bash Brothers were back in the top of the eight, this time making a fool of Junichi Tazawa (who probably doesn't even lift), instead of Wade Miley. Our fearless leader, Evan Longoria, began the inning with a leadoff double to left, bringing Cabrera back to the plate with an opportunity. He would answer with a monster shot that bounced just in front of the wall before leaping into the stands for a game-tying ground rule double. 3-3. It was Loney's chance to be a hero, and he answered the call with a bloop to shallow center that fell in and sent Cabrera across the plate to put the good guys up for good 4-3.
After six solid from Odorizzi, a bullpen combination of Cedeno, Geltz, McGee & Boxy held on to the lead. They gave up just one hit and no walks between them, including five combined K's from McGee and Boxberger in the final two frames.
The Rays head to Chicago sporting a 52-54 record. Karns is on the mound tomorrow on the southside, but the real one to watch is Tuesday when dueling studs Chris Archer and Chris Sale go head to head.
A few notes:
- In the bottom of the sixth, Chris Archer was the star of the show. Sporting his full amazing Jackson 5 fro, Chris had to show off some dance moves to avoid not one but two foul balls that went right at him on the dugout steps. It was pretty funny, unintentional stuff from one of the best personalities to ever grace a Tampa Bay roster.
- In the top of the seventh, it seemed a two-out rally was really getting going. After a Kevin Kiermaier triple to right sent Wade Miley to the showers, a wild Robbie Ross hit Curt Casali with a pitch and walked Brandon Guyer to bring Joey Butler to the plate with the bases loaded. He struck out on what was just a nightmare of an at-bat to end the inning and save the rally for the eighth.
- Everyone knows Jake McGee has got a heck of a fastball. Mike Napoli knows that too, so in the bottom of the eighth, with a 1-2 count, Jake dropped a 74 mph curveball across the plate that fell off the freaking planet, well below where Napoli's swinging bat was hoping to make contact. Track down that video right now. Naaaaasty.
- Brad Boxberger was Ronda Rousey-dominant in the ninth, as he struck out the side. The first two on mid-90's heat, the third on an off speed offering that Blake Swihart had no chance at. When Jake & Brad are hot, they are really a joy to watch. Consider me relieved that they survived the trade deadline, potential return aside.
- We established the identity of the New Bash Brothers, but we've got a new Splash Brother too. Erasmo Ramirez joined Chris Archer to soak Loney with Gatorade during his post game interview. Not sneaky a bit, after Chris dumped ice cold water, Erasmo walked right up and dumped the bright red thirst quencher all over today's hero as well. I'm not sure if this is the first of a few tryouts for Splash Brother duty, or if Chris has selected Erasmo for permanent duty. Time will tell. Hopefully we find out tomorrow night.
- GO RAYS!