Here’s what I love about this Rays team: in any other year, going up against a team like the Red Sox with a grand slam like a black mark on the score sheet, the game would feel over. Not so, with this 2019 club.
Even after the dismal turn of events in the second inning, when Charlie Morton walked in a run with a hit-by-pitch to Sandy Leon, and then gave up the aforementioned grand slam to Andrew Benintendi (his first career slam), Morton stayed on. He cleaned things up, he righted the ship. After something like that, one might expect him to get pulled, but instead he went on to give up no further runs for the rest of his innings, going six, and collecting nine strikeouts.
Jacob Faria (remember him!?) came on in the seventh and looked good, allowing only one hit and a walk.
The offense played their part as well, with a Avisail Garcia home run in the second, and FOUR triples in the game. The first was by Ji-Man Choi, who would later leave the game with left calf tightness, and was subsequently scored by a triple from Brandon Lowe in the fourth. Kiermaier got one in the seventh, and then he and a pinch-hitting Guillermo Heredia were scored with the fourth triple, this one from Austin Meadows.
There was a super hot defensive double play in the top of the eighth when Lowe knocked a liner down and was able to successfully turn it into a 4-6-3 play. Yow. That’s what I mean, too. This team has no quit in them. After losing two in a row for the first time all season, you could tell they had no interest in letting it become three in a row.
Then bottom of the eighth, Yandy Diaz rolls up to the plate and ties things 5-5. Here. We. Go. The crowd at the Trop — and yes, there was a crowd — started getting really loud at this point.
Unfortunately Alvarado had trouble limiting damage, and gave up two hits and a walk, one of the hits to the red-hot Benintendi to push the Sox ahead once more.
The bottom of the ninth was a white-knuckled affair, with Daniel Roberston and Tommy Pham collecting hits, and everything falling to Willy Adames as the game’s final out. And then, just like that, a pick off at first tagged out Pham and the game was over.
But still, they hustled, they almost got it back. The Rays have now lost three in a row, but there’s a lot to look forward to in tomorrow’s series finale.