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Rays 4, Red Sox 6: After 20 games, the Rays finally drop back-to-back

Diego Castillo’s poor eighth inning cost the Rays a close game

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images

Facing the Boston Red Sox for the first time in the 2019 campaign, the Rays looked to start the series the right way with a win.

Ryne Stanek opened the game for the Rays, marking the third straight day an opener was used. Stanek worked two hitless innings, throwing only 14 pitches in total before handing the ball over to Ryan Yarbrough to work the bulk of the innings.

In the bottom of the second, facing Eduardo Rodriguez, Brandon Lowe put the Rays on the scoreboard with a solo home run to right field over the outstretched glove of Mookie Betts, for Lowe’s sixth home run on the season.

According to BaseballSavant, the Expected Batting Average from the batted ball metrics on Lowe’s home run was .020, with an exit velocity of 94 mph and a launch angle of 42 degrees traveling 334 feet.

Yandy Diaz singled to start the bottom of a third and following the first two outs in the inning, Avisail Garcia stepped up to the plate. With a 1-1 count, Garcia belted a ball to right-center field and turned on the jets, rounding the bases for a triple thanks to defensive misplays by both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.

Bradley Jr. dove for that ball even though he had basically zero chance of catching it, and even that’s being generous.

With a 2-0 lead, there was a little bit less pressure on Ryan Yarbrough’s shoulders. However, after walking JD Martinez and allowing him to score on a double by Rafael Devers, the pressure on Yarbrough was at its max. Unfortunately, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez hit a home run to dead center field over the glove of Guillermo Heredia, giving Boston a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the sixth, Ryan Yarbrough made way for Wilmer Font who didn’t fare much better against the Red Sox hitters. Following a Mookie Betts double and Mitch Moreland single, JD Martinez drove in Betts with a single of his own, extending the Boston lead to 4-2. Font would settle down and strike out the next three batters to finish the top of the sixth.

On the flip side of the sixth inning, the Rays were looking for a way to get back on the scoreboard, and Daniel Robertson stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second and an 0-for-21 streak at the plate weighing on his shoulders. On a 2-2 pitch from Rodriguez, Robertson roped a ball up the third base line to score Meadows and Garcia and tie up the game at four.

In the seventh inning, after an inning of work by Wilmer Font, Adam Kolarek worked the next three batters. With a 4-4 tie continuing into the top of the eighth inning, Kevin Cash brought in Diego Castillo to relieve Kolarek. This would prove to be the wrong decision as Castillo allowed back-to-back home runs to Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland, giving Boston a 6-4 lead.

Diego Castillo would be lifted for newly-called up righty Casey Sadler, who finished the eighth untouched. Sadler stayed in for the ninth inning, once again working a clean inning against the Red Sox hitters.

The Rays bats couldn’t muster a ninth inning comeback in this one, as they fell to the Red Sox 6-4. For the first time in the 2019 season, the Rays have lost back-to-back games, ending an impressive stretch of 20 games without consecutive losses.

The second game of the series will take place tomorrow in Tropicana Field at 6:10 pm as the Devil Rays.