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Rays 5, Red Sox 4: An 11-inning walk-off? Sure!

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Before we talk about what went wrong in the late innings of this game, let’s talk about how relatively drama-free it was for the first seven innings, because for a good chunk, this game seemed to be going precisely as we dreamed it might.

Starting with Tyler Glasnow, who we knew would not go deep into the game, as the Rays continue to keep a tight leash on his innings in hopes that he’ll be full steam ahead for the postseason. He couldn’t have been better. He pitched three innings, gave up no hits and no walks, and struck out seven. SEVEN. In three innings.

In the third inning the Rays rewarded him with some support runs, the first coming off a Travis d’Arnaud single to score Meadows. The second a Wendle single to score Choi.

Unfortunately in the forth, Xander Bogaertes hit a solo home run, shortening the Rays lead to that dreaded one-run tally. In the bottom of the seventh Willy Adames played hero again, and hit a solo shot off the D-ring and onto the batter’s eye, bringing the score to 3-1 and giving the Rays a bit of breathing room.

I’ll pause there before talking about how it all went wrong.

Let’s mention, shall we, how well Adames is doing in the ninth spot in the order, hitting 10 of his 19 home runs this season from that position.

Also worth mentioning as we pause for station identification, that I’m pretty sure every relief pitcher for both teams at least warmed up in this game. Did you know there was a second row of benches in the Tropicana Field bullpen? I didn’t. But today we saw Anthony Banda sitting in it, like the row of seat at the back of a wood panelled station wagon.

The Red Sox used eleven pitchers, the Rays used nine. That’s a lot of pitchers. On the Rays end, Kittredge and Fairbanks stood out in relief, neither giving up any runs, and collecting three strikouts (tacos!) between them. Colin Poche threw some mean heat but continued to struggle with his command, and while he didn’t give up any runs he did give up a walk. It was Nick Anderson though, who broke our hearts a little. Anderson, who won’t win Rookie of the Year but deserves a little consideration, gave up a two-run home run to Rafael Devers that unfortunately tied the game at 3-3.

(I won’t get too deep into it, but caught stealing was a big issue this game, with both Joey Wendle and Austin Meadows getting tagged out in stolen base attempts.)

But wait, things get better. Bear with me here.

As the game headed through into the eleventh (sound familiar) it seemed like things were going to be grim for the Rays, as Mitch Moreland clobbered a solo home run to give the Red Sox an extra innings lead. (Thanks Castillo).

It was d’Arnaud, who still had his at-bat thanks to the Meadows stolen base attempt, who put a runner on for the Rays in the bottom of the inning, and then Nate Lowe (was I the only one who chuckled when a pitch to Lowe was “too low”? Too low to Lowe? Thank you I’m here all week.)

Anyway, Lowe belted a “will it go foul or will it stay fair” home run to left field that did indeed stay fair, and the Rays walked if off in eleven for the second straight night.

Rays win 5-4.