Boy, that hot start sure was fun.
It’s a shame it had to come to an end so soon, but the Rays are now officially below .500 after giving up 7 runs and 17(!!!) hits over 8 1⁄2 frames in Boston on Sunday.
The game started out promising, as Boston starter Drew Pomeranz couldn’t seem to find the plate in the first. After walking Souza Jr and Kevin Kiermaier to start the game, Pomeranz’s 1-1 pitch found its way into the sweet spot of Brad Miller’s bat, down and away. The ball lifted into left center and bounced off the wall past the glove of Benintendi, allowing Souza and KK to score as Miller dove headfirst into third base to lock down his two-run triple. 2-0 Rays.
Miller would join his friends soon after, as Christian Vazquez was unable to handle a diving 0-2 pitch on Rickie Weeks Jr, and the Rays would go up 3-0 on the passed ball.
The Red Sox wouldn’t wait long to put a number of their own on the board in the bottom of the frame. After giving up a double to Benintendi, Mookie Betts hit a little popper to right field that managed to bounce in play and then immediately out of play for an RBI group-rule double. 3-1 Rays. After Hanley singled to move Betts to third, Mitch Moreland knocked Cobb’s 1-2 pitch through the gap to score Mookie easily. 3-2 Rays.
Pomeranz really seemed to find his groove after that, as he struck out the side in the 2nd, plowed through the Rays bats in the 3rd and was on his way to doing the same in the 4th, until Corey Dickerson lifted his 2-2 offering into the seats in center field. It looked like Ole Mister Wind himself may have helped a bit with that one, but a solo homer is a solo homer any day in my book. 4-2 Rays.
The Sox would tie it up 4-4 soon after in the 4th, as Pablo Sandoval sent one into the seats above the Green Monster, sending Xander Bogaerts home to score as well.
The Rays battled back in the 5th, as Tim Beckham hit his first homer of the season over the center field fence. Just his second extra base hit of the young season, Tim’s knock put the Rays up 5-4. This would be the end of the Easter fun for Tampa Bay.
Danny Farquhar handle his business in relief in the 6th, but began to struggle in the 7th, giving up back to back singles to Benintendi and Betts and walked Hanley to load the bases. In response, Kevin Cash walked to the mound and began demonstrably waving a white flag of surrender. Even with the thin lead, it appeared that Cash was prepared to forfeit the game, and did so by bringing no other than Xavier Cedeño in for such a key moment.
As anticipated, Cedeño immediately gave up a two-run single to left field off the bat of Mitch Moreland which scored not only Andrew Benintendi, but also Mookie Betts to put the Rays back down for good, 6-5. In an alarming incident, Hanley seemed so excited by the Rays’ surrender that he seemed eager to head to third base, but managed to injure himself at second instead. He would leave the game with a leg injury.
With the surrender clearly, and I mean CLEARLY, in hand, Kevin Cash walked to the mound again. This time, in a shocking move, he pulled out an even bigger white flag of surrender: A flag even bigger than the Wild Card Champions flag that hangs so proudly at Tropicana Field. He began waving it around even more aggressively than on his last visit, sweat building upon his brow, seemingly motivated to ensure that no one with any last iota of faith in a comeback was able to hang on to it.
Just like Batman responds to the bat signal, Austin Pruitt answered the beckoning of Cash’s waving white flag of surrender. In his brief appearance, Austin Pruitt did lots of Austin Pruitt things, giving up 3 hits, 1 earned run and a walk to extend the Boston lead to 7-5.
That score would be our final, as Craig Kimbrel did not do Austin Pruitt things in the 9th, and combined with pretty great catch from Christian Vasquez, he ended any Rays hopes of a comeback in the top of that frame.
The loss drops the Rays to 6-7 on the year, still well above the putrid Blue Jays who are currently occupying the cellar. Tomorrow, Blake Snell will take the mound for an absurd 11am first pitch. Yes, 11am. Like the morning one.