In game one of this twin bill, the Rays pulled into a temporary first-place tie with the Yankees by beating the hated Red Sox 9-2. Ryan Yarbrough picked up his fifth win of the year (if you care about those kind of things) while working two outs into the eighth on 110 pitches (75 strikes).
On offense, the Rays had scoring opportunities all day against journeyman Josh Smith, who was making just his second start of the season. In the first inning, Austin Meadows led off with a single and quickly stole second. But they were unable to come up with the key hit to knock him in, a long flyball by Brandon Lowe notwithstanding.
In the second, Ji-Man Choi led off with a single and Willy Adames worked a two-out walk, setting up Travis d’Arnaud. D’Arnaud didn’t waste this chance, hitting a majestic homer over the monster seats in left.
Austin Meadows then collected his second single to center of the day to keep the two-out rally going. This was followed by a painful hit by pitch to Tommy Pham’s right wrist. Pham stayed in the game, but would later come out with a wrist contusion. X-rays were negative.
Brandon Lowe cashed the scoring chance, singling to right to plate Meadows. Pham was cut down at third to end the inning while trying to move up on the throw.
Boston cut the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the second with singles by Vazquez and Travis sandwiched around a bad-hop error by Lowe. A sliding catch by Meadows in right and a strikeout of Sandy Leon prevented any further damage.
The Rays were deprived of padding the lead in the third by good Red Sox defense and bad Rays luck. Leading off, Garcia sinking liner to left was snagged by Travis, robbing the Rays DH of extra bases.
Later in the inning, Diaz hit a drive off the wall in center, but was cut down at second when the umpire on the field ruled he came off the bag during the tag. The Rays challenged the call and lost the challenge. (Note: This was probably the correct call on the field, and was certainly the correct call on replay.)
The Rays rally in the fourth ended before it could get going. Willy Adames reached when Red Sox second baseman Nunez lost a fight against the sun.
Lucky Hit: Willy Adames (6) [TB] off Josh A. Smith [BOS]: 73.8 mph, 51 degrees (Single)— MLBExitVelocity (@MLBExitVelocity) June 8, 2019
Unfortunately, Mookie Betts fielded the ball quickly behind Nunez and caught Adames off first base, the putout going 9-3.
Colter Brewer took over for Smith in the fifth, but the results were much the same. Austin Meadows singled, Heredia walked, and Brandon Lowe reached on an error by Chavis to load the bases with no outs. Garcia then struck out, but a passed ball on the strikeout pitch moved up all the runners and made it a 5-1 game.
A Choi walk reloaded the bases, but Yandy Diaz grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
Most of the back half of the game was less eventful for the Rays offense, as they finally went in order in sixth against Shawaryn, and again in the eighth against Brasier. They did put a couple runners on in the seventh when they stranded Heredia and Lowe, who were both hit by 3-2 pitches.
Meanwhile, Yarbrough continued to plow through the Red Sox lineup, recording one-two-three innings in the first, third, fourth, and fifth. The sixth started with this play from Willy Adames:
The next hitter Chavis finally touched Yarbs for just his third hit allowed on day, a single to center. He was promptly erased on a 6-4-3 double play.
The seventh was much the same, when Devers reached on an error by Adames. Yarbrough came back to strike out Vazquez, then coaxed a 6-4-3 double play from Nunez.
With one out in the eighth, Jackie Bradley finally (sort of) squared one up against Yarby, when his high fly hit well up the Pesky pole screen. Yarbs would finish with 7.2 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits, while striking out seven and walking no one. Of the 15 in-play outs he recorded, 12 were on the ground. Pagan got the last out in the eighth.
The Rays finally broke the game open in the ninth. Travis d’Arnuad got his second hit of the day and Heredia got his first, putting runners on the corners with one out. Lowe then dropped a perfect bunt toward first for a single, scoring d’Araud and pushing Heredia to second. 6-2 Rays. Garcia then hit into a force play to put runners at the corners. Next came the finishing move: A Choi to single to center, a Diaz single to left, and a Kiermaier bloop to right center, scoring Heredia, Garcia, Choi respectively. 9-2 Rays.
Casey Sadler worked a scoreless ninth, pitching around a single and a double to start the inning.
Stay tuned for Game Two!
NOTE: An update from Tricia Whitaker on the Pham injury: