Coming off back to back extra inning walk offs, the Rays hoped to lock up the series victory and keep their position as the second wild card team against the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately they were unable to dig their way out of an early hole, despite several chances.
Things in the first inning escalated quickly for Rays’ starter Ryan Yarbrough. Three singles and a Christian Vasquez homer put the Red Sox up 4-0 with only one out in the first inning. Boston then loaded the bases with two outs, but Yarbrough was bailed out by a terrible call on the 3-2 pitch to Bradley that was well outside.
The Rays slowly scratched their way back into the game but consistently came up on the short end even when they managed to plate a run. In the first, Joey Wendle, who was walked to lead off the first and moved to third on an Austin Meadows single, scored when Tommy Pham grounded into a double play.
In the second, singles by Brandon Lowe, Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier made it a 4-2 game.
But with runners on the corners, KK and Zunino combined for a strike ‘em out throw ‘em out double play to end the inning.
In the third, Joey Wendle made it a one-run game with a opposite field solo shot.
After a long, loud flyout by Meadows, Tommy Pham singled through the right side. Ji-Man Choi then fanned, and Brandon Lowe’s drive to the deepest part of Tropicana Field came up a few feet short.
The dagger came in the fourth. After working scoreless innings in the second and third, Yarbrough got back in trouble when Jackie Bradley hit a one-out double and went to third on an error charged to Kiermaier when his throw into second skipped past Lowe. A walk to Devers ended Yarbrough’s day as Cash made the call for clean shaven Andrew Kittredge. Kitt was not sharp, hitting Bogaerts with his first pitch to load the bases and then walking J.D. Martinez to force in a run and make it 5-3. He bounced back to strike out Vazquez, and got ahead of Sam Travis. But an 0-2 wild pitch scored Devers to give the Red Sox a three run cushion.
The Red Sox also got an unearned run in the seventh of Trevor Richards. After a Martinez single to right, Meadows botched a fly ball from Vazquez to put runners at the corners. Richards came back to record a couple strikeouts, but Joey Wendle’s failure to scoop a slow chopper prevented Richard from wiggling off the hook and allowed Martinez to score.
The Rays had other chances to chip away, but could not convert. A rally in the bottom of the fourth was cut short when Willy Adames lined into a 1-3 double play. They also squandered a Nate Lowe walk in the sixth, a Wendle walk and Meadows single in the seventh, and a Brandon Lowe walk in the eighth.
The Rays did manage some too little, too late work in the ninth. Kevin Kiermaier started things with a drive to the warning track in center. He was followed by pinch hitter Brendan McKay, who hit one beyond the warning track in right, going 420 off the D-ring.
But that would be it for the Rays.
The series wraps up tomorrow at 7 PM.