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Rays 2, Red Sox 0: Bullpen Day records two-hit shutout of Red Sox

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Solo shots from Joey Wendle and C.J. Cron back a dynamic Bullpen Day performance.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not every day Bullpen Day tosses a two-hitter at the most feared lineup in baseball. But that’s what happened, as solo shots from Joey Wendle and C.J. Cron backed a gutsy pitching performance from Diego Castillo, Jalen Beeks, Chaz Roe, Jose Alvarado, and Sergio Romo.

The tone was set early. On the first pitch of his first big league Open, Diego Castillo got hosed. It was a perfect fastball that was an obvious strike to get ahead of the insanely good Mookie Betts, but home plate ump John Tumpane blew it. Which — okay, it happens sometimes. But how do you respond to early misfortune? Castillo responded beautfully, pounding another fastball into viturally the exact same location, this time for a called strike. He then retired Betts on a cutter.

Castillo continued to throw strikes throughout his open, which lasted one and two-thirds innings and 19 pitches (13 strikes). He surrendered just one hit, a double to Xander Bogaerts, and didn’t walk anyone. He hit 100 on his fastball more than once.

The Red Sox had their own bullpen day going, sending Not Chris Sale (Hector Velasquez) to the hill. After a somewhat quiet first, Joey Wendle got the Rays on the board in the second inning by lining one into the Red Sox pen.

The homer was Wendle’s seventh of the season.

The Rays got several more shots against Not Sale, but were unable to cash in, stranding runners in each of the four innings they faced him, including the second when they loaded the bases following the Wendle home run. Twice Jesus Sucre was the rally killer, grounding into a 6-4-3- double play to end the second, and getting called out on strikes to end fourth inning rally.

The Rays defense got big some outs themselves in the early going. After Bogaerts moved to third at the end of Diego Castillo’s outing, Cash made the move to lefty Jalen Beeks to get Brock Holt. After running the count full, Beeks struck him out on a full count fastball up in the zone that it didn’t really look like Holt saw.

Things got tense again the fourth, when Benintendi singled and Pearce walked to start the inning against Beeks. A long at bat to J.D. Martinez followed, with Beeks finally getting him on a 6-4-3 double play, with some help from a sick Joey Wendle glove flip.

The fun wasn’t over, as Bogaerts worked a walk in another tense at bat that included a peak back at Sucre for location when a late timeout call was granted. Pretty such that’s one of those “unwritten rules” that in the old days would get you one in the ribs. Lucky for Bogie we’re in more “enlightened” times. In any case, Beeks got out of it when Nunez lined out hard to Bauers in left.

Cy Beeks pitched all the way into the sixth inning before giving way to Chaz Roe and his magic slider. Beeks line would be four innings, no runs, one hit, two walks, and three strike outs. He also dialed up two double play balls.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering how Mr. Roe did:

Chaz went one and a third, notched two strikeouts, and one broken necklace, when Eduardo Nunez went to pieces ripping at a backup slider.

Jose Alvarado had the eighth. He quickly fell behind pinch hitter Ian KInsler 3-0. But just as quickly, it seemed, he was out of it, bouncing back to K Kinsler, as well as Swihart and Bradley Jr.

For the Red Sox, once Hector “Not Sale” Velasquez was out of the game after four, things went very quickly. Brandon Workman, Joe Kelly, and Heath Hembree ripped through the Rays lineup, giving up just one walk and nary a hit.

It looked like more of the same when non-basketball Matt Barnes took over for Boston in the ninth, and Barnes made Joey Wendle look bad for the first out, getting the K on the weakest Shopacopter you will ever see. But C.J. Cron had Joey’s back — and I mean way back — to provide some breathing room for Sergio Romo.

As it happened, Romo wouldn’t need the breathing room. He set down the tough top of the Red Sox lineup in order to notch the 100th save of his career.

The Rays head back to the Trop as an above .500 team, where they will start a set against Kansas City tomorrow evening at 7PM.