David Price came home to Tropicana and looked as good as ever. Unfortunately, he wasn’t wearing a Rays uniform this time.
In the second game of the young season, we saw Price square off against young Rays starter Blake Snell, and Snell hold his own in the match up remarkably well. In fact, the game moved at such a rapid clip it was the third inning before a hit was recorded, and the seventh inning before a run scored.
Wilson Ramos had an absolutely incredible throw out at second in the third inning, his arm strength and accuracy looking just nasty, and keeping the game’s first hit from turning into anything dangerous. Snell’s command was the slightest bit shaky, and it started to show in the fourth inning with a walk to J.D. Martinez, putting two men on, which is really the first time in the game Snell was at risk of giving up a run. A sensational reaching catch by Rob Refsnyder ended the inning in a scoreless fashion.
In the bottom of the fourth Kevin Kiermaier hustled to first base to beat out a throw, becoming the Rays first baserunner of the night. Carlos Gomez popped up directly over his own head in the next at bat. Another base hit to Cron followed, and the Rays were suddenly in a position to score. Alas, a Ramos flyout ended the inning, still 0-0.
Brad Miller led off the bottom of the fifth with a nice hit to left field. Let’s just take a second to acknowledge how much pine tar there is on Brad Miller’s helmet. Enough that during his first at-bat of the game I briefly thought the Rays had changed to a gold logo. A double play ended the inning, and still scoreless we head to the sixth.
Snell’s game was done in the sixth inning with a final line of 5.2 IP 3 H 0 R 0 ER 2 BB 2 K. Overall it was a really promising start to the season. He was replaced by Chaz Roe, who struck out J.D. Martinez, collected a strikeout, and ended the inning for the Sox. Price continued to deal, shutting the Rays down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth.
Roe gave up a double in the top of the seventh and was quickly replaced by Jose Alvarado. Unfortunately on the first batter Alvarado faced — Rafael Devers — Dever was able to net himself an RBI single, scoring the fleet-footed Xander Bogaerts. A nasty mishap of three players — Miller, Alvarado, and Robertson — vying to cover first base meant Devers was able to advance to second while Eduardo Nunez was safe at first. Nunez looked as if he was hurt in his hustle to first, but stayed in the game. Alvarado kept the damage limited, thankfully, and the Rays head to the bottom of the seventh only down one run.
Price returned for the seventh inning, still looking sharp. Gomez got extremely lucky when a left field foul hit was dropped, keeping him in for another shot, but he popped out later in the at-bat. Price, so efficient up to this point, he only hit the 70 pitch mark in this inning. Ramos got a nice hit, but it was all for naught as Brad Miller subsequently flied out. On to the eighth!
Matt Andriese had the eighth for the Rays, and made short order of the Red Sox. In the bottom of the inning it appeared Price’s day was over after a mere 76 pitches and a final line of 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. He was replaced by Matt Barnes, who appeared in Thursday’s Opening Day game. Barnes walked Denard Span with one out in the bottom of the inning. Joey Wendle replace Refsnyder, and knocked a liner practically right into Devers’s glove. Unfair. Unfortunately the Rays were unable to drum up any runs, leaving the score 0-1.
Bogaerts just beat out a stellar throw by Kiermaier for his second double of the game. Why that wasn’t challenged I have no clue, because it’s the ninth inning and there’s literally nothing to lose to check if he came off the bag. A missed catch very nearly allowed another Red Sox run to score, but oh my Buffalo, Ramos with another sensational throw managed to get the runner at first. Yow. Red Sox challenged but it was clear the throw was on time.
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel came on for the bottom of the ninth. He made quick work of the first two batters, then got into a 3-2 count against Cron, but in the end got the final strike, and the Sox won by a single run.