If there's any consolation in a season in which the Rays aren't going to make the playoffs it's taking the season series from the Red Sox. That's exactly what they did tonight for the seventh time in eight years with a 4-2 victory.
The night didn't start out well for the Rays, with David Ortiz lifting a hanging, two-out slider over the Green Monster in left for a two run homer. Thankfully, that'd be all the damage the Rays would allow. Erasmo Ramirez, who has now allowed just four runs in his last 21 innings, was fantastic from the second inning on. He allowed two hits over those final six innings and faced just one over the minimum. The Sox didn't have a runner in scoring position all night. He also picked up strikeouts with all four of his pitches, showing This start lowered his ERA to 3.65, which would look much better without the 15 runs he allowed in his first five innings this season. If he's your number five starter to begin next season, which I'm assuming he will be with Nathan Karns in the pen, you could do a lot worse.
Alex Colome and Brad Boxberger completed the eighth and ninth inning respectively. Of course, as he's been doing the second half of the season, Boxberger allowed the tying run to come to the plate. It was made even scarier by the fact it was David Oritz, but he grounded into a game ending double play.
For the four game set, which the Rays won three of, the offense registered 11, 8, 14, and 11 hits and scored 7, 5, 6, and 4 runs. Tonight the middle of the lineup totally took over. Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe, Asdrubal Cabrera, Steven Souza, and Kevin Kiermaier picked up all but one of the 11 hits and drove in every run. Each of them added an extra base hit, with Longoria clubbing two. His home run in the sixth inning on a chest-high fastball from Wade Miley was his 20th, marking the seventh time in his eight seasons he's hit that mark.
The Rays took the lead in the sixth inning, scoring three runs with two outs. The aforementioned Longoria homer, followed by a Forsythe single, and doubles from Cabrera and Souza. Kiermaier tacked on a solo homer in the seventh to give the Rays a two run cushion. With a 2-4 night Kiermaier also brought his on base percentage back up over .300. Keep it up, KK.
What do the Rays get as a reward for taking three of four from Boston and avoiding last place for the time being? A three game set in Toronto where they'll face R.A. Dickey, David Price, and Mark Buehrle. Thanks. At least the Saturday game is an Archer vs Price matchup, which is one of the best matchups you'll see this season. A sweep gets the Rays back to .500. Here's to delusional hope.